Table Talk: Family Conversations about Current Events

  • For Parents, Families, and Caregivers
Family Sitting Around Table at Mealtime
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About Table Talk

Families often want to discuss news stories and other timely societal events. It's a great opportunity to engage children in rich conversation, share important values and encourage lifelong interest in the news. These talks can happen on the way to school, during a walk or over a meal. Research shows that dinnertime conversation benefits the health, emotional and academic outcomes for children of all ages. Each Table Talk guide below includes a topic summary, questions to start the conversation and dig deeper, ideas to take action and additional resources.

Here are some tips for discussion:

  • Find out what young people know and use the summary information to expand upon their prior knowledge. Ask what else they want to know and research together to learn more. 
  • When discussing the topic, ask young open ended questions that deepen the conversation. Be mindful not to judge their responses and listen thoughtfully.   
  • Think together about a child-level action they can take; this can be something they do on their own or something you do together or as a family.       

George Floyd, Racism and Law Enforcement

Man protesting police violence holding sign that reads "George Floyd's Life Mattered"

Fibonacci Blue | Flickr

Thousands protest against police violence and call for justice for George Floyd. Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 26, 2020.

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an African American man, died while being arrested by the police. A bystander video recording of the incident showed that a white police officer pinned Floyd to the ground while he was handcuffed. The police officer’s knee pressed into the back of Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, even after Floyd lost consciousness. On the video, Floyd was heard saying, "Please, I can't breathe. My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. … (I need) water or something. Please. Please. I can't breathe, officer. … I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe." In a statement, the Minneapolis Police Department said that officers had responded to a call about a man suspected of forgery. 

The incident was shared widely on social media. This led to community and national outrage, an F.B.I. civil rights investigation and the firing of the officer, Derek Chauvin and three other officers who were also at the scene. On May 29, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter. Prosecutors said the investigation into the three other officers is ongoing.

Engage your family in a discussion about the killing of George Floyd, how bias and hate escalate and the larger context of systemic racism.


 

Previous Table Talks

What is Net Neutrality?

On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to dismantle net neutrality regulations that were passed in 2015. Discuss with youth what net neutrality means and how this veto will impact people’s ability to express their thoughts and ideas online.

Hate Symbols

We see symbols every day in all aspects of our lives. Lately, a proliferation of hate symbols is increasing concern. Use this discussion guide to engage youth in conversations about swastikas and other hate symbols.