Local nonprofit expands weekly civic conversations to new site Wednesdays beginning July 12 at 12:30 p.m.
CHICAGO– The Public Square at the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) will expand its Café Society program by launching an eighth discussion group this summer. Café Society will take place every Wednesday at lunchtime (12:30-1:30 p.m.) at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Randolph Street Café (77 E. Randolph Street).The topic for the first meeting on July 12th will be "The Politics of Funny: How Do We Know When It’s OK To Laugh?" To celebrate the launch of this new site, each participant in the first Chicago Cultural Center discussion will receive a free cup of coffee.
Café Society is designed to foster a more robust civil society, more cohesive and interactive communities, greater media literacy and a more informed and engaged citizenry through weekly coffee shop conversations about contemporary social issues. These weekly neighborhood coffee shop discussions use current media reports (along with ample doses of caffeine) to serve as stimulants. Café Society discussions are free and open to anyone interested in talking about issues in the media and their relevance to the community. For more information, call (312) 422-5580. Topics are posted on www.thepublicsquare.org each Friday. The conversations are led by trained facilitators who keep the action lively but friendly.
Café Society Locations and Times:
- 7:30-8:30 p.m., Intelligentsia Coffee, 3123 N Broadway St
- 12:30-1:30 p.m., Chicago Cultural Center’s Randolph Street Café, 77 E Randolph St
- 7-8 p.m., Pause, 1107 W Berwyn Ave (Berwyn and Broadway)
- 10-11 a.m., Buzz Café, 905 S Lombard Ave, Oak Park
- 7:30-8:30 p.m., Longbranch Coffeehouse, 100 E Jackson St, Carbondale, IL
- 7-8 p.m., Caffe De Luca, 1721 N Damen Ave
- 7-8 p.m., Valois, 1518 E 53rd St
- 5-6 p.m., Ron’s Barber Shop, 6041 W North Ave, Oak Park
More About Café Society
While new coffeehouses seem to appear daily, the role of the café in fostering debate and action is hardly new. "The coffeehouse has a long history as a site for public debate and the exchange of ideas," Barbara Ransby, advisory board chair of The Public Square at the IHC and a historian by training, points out. The Café Society project began in October 2002 at four area coffee shops. The Café Society taps the growing coffee culture in Chicago as a vehicle to promote conversations between strangers (a cornerstone of democratic practice) about relevant social issues, with a focus on the theme of citizenship, broadly defined, and critically examined. Recent topics for discussion have included: "The Iranian Conundrum"; "Should English Be Declared the National Language?"; and "Gay Marriage."
More information about the Public Square at the IHC and Café Society is available at www.thepublicsquare.org.
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