Leon County students discuss controversial issues at The Longest Table

Cassidy Bonn, Staff Writer

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Continuing a community tradition, the second annual Longest Table event for high schoolers in Tallahassee was held on Sept. 23. Sonny’s provided dinner while the teenagers spent two and a half hours discussing changes that need to be made in the city.

Over 250 students gathered in the parking lot of Leon High School to civilly discuss problems in Tallahassee’s community and as well as issues at their respective schools. The goal of holding the event was to start a city-wide conversation about controversial issues in today’s society.

“The Longest Table is a project started by the mayor to promote inclusiveness in the city,” said Lily Sweet King, Leon High School graduate and the project founder. “The goal is to get people talking, I think that a lot of issues can arise because people think we’re different, but just by coming together and talking we can ensure that we are similar in many ways. Doing this gives students a voice.”

King’s younger sister Creed King  decided to continue to hold the Longest Table after Lily graduated last year. She was assisted by another Leon High School student in organizing the event.

“[The Longest Table] was meant to propose ideas and opinions for the school community and to make it better,” Creed King said.

Students from different schools sat by each other to spark the conversation. Topics such as standardized testing, depression and arming teachers were discussed. Junior Janae Cotton said the event gave her hope for our generation.

“It’s important to have diversity amongst our schools because at Florida High, we do have a lot of different cliques, ethnicities and minorities. We really have to stick together and unite,” Cotton said.

The hope for the future of the The Longest Table is that there will be a greater turnout each year,  as well as an annual change to the location. A new setting will allow students from other schools to get a perspective on what different school campuses are like.

“The Longest Table showed people that we are more similar than we think.” Creed King said.  “It gave students a voice on issues in the community and schools. Change only occurs when people start talking.”