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‘Big Table’ seeks community input on major issues

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Dates to attend the Big Table are still available:

Oct. 21 - Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Chris Setti, Greater Peoria EDC

Jake Hamann, Peoria Innovation Alliance

Samantha Hutchinson, Bear’s Bites

Eric Sampson, Illinois SBDC

Oct. 22 - Quality of Life

Nikki Romain, ART, Inc

JD Dalfonso, Peoria Area CVB

John Morris, Peoria Riverfront Museum

Each session runs from 11:30-1 p.m.You can register for the remaining sessions here:

Daily Schedule of Events

11:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. - Welcome by session leaders

11:45 a.m. - 12:25 p.m. - Breakout room discussion

12:25 - 12:55 p.m. -- Facilitator recaps from discussion

12:55 - 1:00 p.m. - Closing remarks

1:00 p.m. -- Post-Event Press Conference

PEORIA (WEEK) - "The Big Table" is taking on a new look this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but organizers of the community-building event hope hundreds of people will still participate.

The second annual "Big Table" will be held virtually using Zoom, seeking to encourage public input on such topics as workforce and education, entrepreneurship and innovation, diversity, equity and inclusion, and quality of life.

Discussions involve community members and local leaders aiming to produce a shared regional vision.

Zoom breakout rooms will be used to help participants continue conversations and make connections.

"These are not designed to be panel discussions or performances," Joshua Gunn, president and CEO of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce.

"These are designed to be interactive conversations, and for this to actually work for the big effort to be impactful, we need voices that are not the usual suspects," Gunn added.

"We need communities that historically have been marginalized or not heard to be at this table so we can make real tangible progress," Gunn also said.

"The Big Table" serves Peoria, Pekin, Morton, Washington, and East Peoria.

Last year, organizers said there were more than 700 participants.

The four-day event runs from October 19-22 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Howard Packowitz

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