By Joe Cimperman, Global Cleveland president

We don’t talk enough in this city. By that I mean is we don’t talk enough to each other. We don’t talk enough about big issues, and with people who have different perspectives, who come from different walks of life. We want to, but. There’s a meeting I have to make, there’s a lunch to pack, there’s always a reason why we can not do something and find something else more distracting, or solitary to do. Enough.

This is about to change in a pretty cool way.

If you have not yet heard of Common Ground, you will. It’s a big community-wide conversation that the Cleveland Foundation is organizing for July 30. The idea is to bring more than 1,000 people together on Public Square to share a meal and to talk about ways to make our city better.

These intentional, personal, “hey you have some mustard on your lip, oh I do too?” conversations will actually be taking place all over town. Our friends and leaders at the Cleveland Foundation have invited community groups to host their own, mini Common Grounds at their businesses, churches, mosques, temples, libraries, gyms, and homes. 

We’re hosting one here, at Global Cleveland offices near Public Square. We’ve invited board members and people who work with our refugee sisters and brothers to come at 12:30 p.m., July 30, for coffee. We’ll be talking about what Cleveland can do to be more welcoming to immigrants and refugees.

Afterward, we plan to walk with everyone toward Public Square for the Big Conversation at 2 p.m. I can’t wait to see it. Here’s why I think Common Ground is such a great idea:

• It’s tested. The Chicago Community Trust has organized these conversations for four years now. More than 50,000 people have participated.

• We can do it better than Chicago because we love our city more. Clevelanders love Cleveland and love to talk about the city! Because we are the best.

• no room is busier than an ethnic kitchen. No greater love, and arguing, and fun and resolution happens anywhere than at a table. Eating is living is talking is growing is sharing is opening is Common Ground.

So I’ll be on Public Square at 2 p.m. July 30. Let’s share a smile and a story. Maybe a hug? I promise to be mellow.

Meet you there?