JSA Members Participate in Dinner Table Discourse

Alex Stahl, Reporter

Over Thanksgiving break, students at Arrowhead participated in a conversation about politics known as Dinner Table Discourse. These conversations took  place in person or virtually with someone. This is the first time that Arrowhead’s JSA chapter has done this. 

JSA, also known as Junior Students of America, created this so students were able to have political conversations that weren’t hostile. JSA is a political debate and activism club that has meetings with debates and thought talks every two weeks.

Saniya Saluja, a senior here at Arrowhead, helped plan the discussion. She said, “The purpose of this discussion was to give students a platform to converse with a friend or family member who they disagree with on an issue that both people feel passionate about. All students had to do was find a friend or a family member they disagreed with on one political topic, talk to them (in-person or virtually) about the topic respectfully to attempt to understand their perspective, and then submit a photo.” 

Saluja talked to her brother Gaurav about the legalization of marijuana. She said, “I had a great time talking respectfully and considering his perspective, and I loved seeing how this initiative promoted tolerance and civil discourse during the Holiday season. Because of this initiative, I will continue to have conversations with people I disagree with. I would definitely participate in a similar activism initiative again.” 

Students and the people that they were talking to figured out the topic as they were sitting down, so it could equally be something important to them.

Ainslee Engelhardt, a junior at Arrowhead who participated in the discussion with her father regarding immigration said, “The dinner table discourse was a great way to discuss any sort of political agreements/disagreements. Through the discourse you are able to reach a middle ground on some parts of an issue that you would have never guessed you agreed on with someone else. I would definitely participate in this discussion again, it’s a great exercise of debate yet not quite in a stressful environment of a bigger group.” 

Engelhardt had the conversation about immigration because this was a topic her and her father disagreed about often. 

Engelhardt said,”To make sure the conversation didn’t become hostile we made sure that each time we became a little heated, we took a step back from the conversation before continuing.”

Students were asked to send a picture of themselves and the person that they had the conversation with and these photos were then posted on the Arrowhead JSA  instagram account.(@arrowhead_jsa) 

As Abigail Sinitz, a junior at Arrowhead said, “I would definitely take part in another dinner table discourse discussion, and I think you should too! It is a great way to talk about politics with your friends, family, or just anyone that may have an opposing view from you in a respectful, civil, and productive way.”