The Common Ground project was introduced in Lansing, Illinois, in 2020. It’s designed to give people of different ethnic backgrounds opportunities to engage in thoughtful conversation with each other.
Common Ground is unique because it combines the structure of a program with the flexibility that relationships need in order to flourish. The program:
- Helps match participants who are different from each other
- Provides a list of conversation-starters that partners can use when they get together each month
The participants decide when and where their monthly meetings will happen. Some meet for morning coffee before work. Some meet in each other’s homes so their kids can play together while they are talking. Some meet for supper at a local restaurant. Some go for walks together. The monthly meeting schedule is determined by the participants.
Common Grounders also hold occasional large-group meetings that give people a chance to talk about what they’re learning from each other.
Want to sign up?
Use the Common Ground form below to tell us about yourself and add your email to the list. When you sign up, you are added to the Common Ground email list and will receive any emails that go to the group:
Want to learn more?
The Lansing Journal has been documenting the Common Ground program since it launched in Lansing in August of 2020. The link below will open up that library of Common Ground articles:
- Common Ground news category
Want to see what we talk about?
Common Ground participants arrange their own monthly meetings with their partners. When participants subscribe to the Common Ground mailing list, they receive a list of conversation-starters on the first of each month. Those monthly conversation-starters are available below as downloadable PDFs.
New participants start with the Ground Rules and Intro questions:
As you continue meeting with your partner, choose from any of the conversation-starters below. They are named by topic and can be used in any order:
- Experiences with Race (PDF)
- Family and Community (PDF)
- Health and Trust (PDF)
- Death and Life (PDF)
- Holidays and Traditions (PDF)
- Food and Family (PDF)
- School and Work (PDF)
- Affirmative Actions (PDF)
- Past and Future (PDF)
- Community Institutions (PDF)
- Religion and Politics (PDF)
- Pride and Culture (PDF)
- Summer Traditions (PDF)
More PDFs will be added to this Common Ground library as they are developed.
Common Ground background
Common Ground was launched by Living Springs Community Church (Glenwood, Illinois), in alignment with their core value of being “intentionally inclusive.” The program was first known as Breakfast Club, and the concept was initially developed by CURE, a Chicago-based racial equity group that is no longer in existence. The Lansing Journal sponsors the Common Ground program in Lansing because it aligns with our mission of Building Community.