Facilitators Circle came into being to provide one trained facilitator per table at dinner gatherings. How do we help strangers from different backgrounds enter into meaningful. transforming conversations. Bonnie Dowdy shares her extensive knowledge and experience in monthly 2.5 hour trainings and in two retreats per year. She particularly focuses on how we use the CTTT touchstones to draw everyone into deep and meaningful places of being together. How do we encourage folks to leave in different and more open place than when they began our gathering?
For the past 40-plus years Dr. Bonnie Dowdy has worked as a consultant, educator, group facilitator, researcher, and program designer/evaluator. She has advocated for honest conversation about difficult social and cultural issues, for an increased awareness of the essential role of diversity in organizations and communities, and for the importance of evaluation in advancing program development and mission integrity.
Hayat Bain has been on fire about Coming To The Table since the Fall of 2016. After the first CTTT dinner gathering she attended, she volunteered to facilitate conversations from the next meeting onward. Hayat is now co-convener of Richmond’s third Tuesday dinner and a member of CTTT’s Leaders and Facilitators Circles. In 2017, she initiated a 6-month CTTT Healing Circle. Hayat is currently supporting CTTT-RVA in the areas of communications, outreach, hospitality, event planning, and coordination. She is developing a Deepening Circle series to co-facilitate in the Fall of 2019.
In 2015, Martha Rollins invited me to the Table, and I have been there ever since. At the first meeting, I was struck by the stories of the women who admitted that every day they had to screw up their courage just to go to work and face the taunts and comments they inevitably heard in their predominately white workplaces. I had no idea that African Americans in Richmond were still dealing with such hostility and racism. I had to know if there was a way I could help. Coming To The Table can’t fix all the problems and the policies which have segregated America, but we can take small steps through CTTT-RVA that will help us and others acknowledge and heal the racial wounds of the past.
I have lived in Richmond, VA for the past 70 years . Was born in Farmville, Virginia VA, where schools were closed rather than integrate. Currently serves as the Movie Circle Coordinator , a Facilitator and a Member of the Leadership Team. I saw an article in a newspaper about a meeting of CTTT at a Church close to where I live and decided to attend my first meeting on December 16th, 2016. At my first meeting I was impressed with and was in accord with the mission of the organization and the four legs of the organization. As a member of CTTT for the past 3 years , I feel that I have developed some very lasting relationships and developed a sense of trust with persons of very diverse backgrounds. My motto at this age is "Learn today , like you are going to live forever". I continue to participate in CTTT activities, events and trips because in addition to learning, I am also able to experience a wider circle of family love from my new relationships.
My name is Kathy Davis and I live in western Hanover County. I volunteer in the kitchen for the third Tuesday CTTT-RVA dinner gatherings and have served as a facilitator. Two years ago, I came to CTTT-RVA, after completing an anti-racism workshop, wanting to continue to learn about and engage in opportunities to support racial justice initiatives. At the first meeting I attended, the group discussion topic was the statues on Monument Avenue. Danita and Martha did such an amazing job as the group’s leaders in creating a safe environment for sharing our individual opinions that it was the richest and most informative conversation I had experienced on the issue. In the beginning, I kept going back because I learned so much from the variety of perspectives expressed around the table. Now, I stay involved not just for those nuggets of insight but also because of the wonderful people I have met and the friendships I’ve developed volunteering and sharing meals, thoughts and experiences with the CTTT-RVA community. This group has helped me be a more informed and effective ally and advocate for racial justice in my own county and beyond.
I am a military kid who came from the Pacific NW and who essentially grew up in a sundown town, in NW Florida. It was a confusing childhood, to say the least. And, I’ve spent most of my adulthood trying to comprehend the south’s history and how people I liked and loved could be so hateful. For me, CTTT provides a structure to safely explore that history & culture through discussion, films, books and travel. The people who participate are kind, open and willing to be changed, and I’ve learned much from them. My hope for CTTT-RVA, and the reason I volunteer, is to keep the dialogue going.
I am Cheryl Goode and I am from Richmond, Virginia. My first Coming to the Table encounter was on the third Tuesday of December 2016. Trump had just been elected president, black men were continuously being murdered by police, there were daily debates over flags, statues, Klansmen, and also over who could truly be considered a racist. And in the mist of these dark days CTTT-RVA offers a safe place for all who are interested in acknowledging and healing from the harms of our racial past.
Jesse Johnson is a resident of Fredericksburg since 2011, having moved to Virginia from Broomfield, CO. Jesse is a regular volunteer at CTTT-RVA gatherings. He has been trained in the CTTT facilitation method and frequently facilitates at the CTTT-RVA “3rd Tuesday” meeting and other community gatherings.
I’m Betty King from Richmond, VA and I am a CTTT-RVA facilitator. I also participate in the Book circle and find it enlightening to read, learn and discuss books that have expanded my understanding of our painful history of racism and slavery. I was part of a faith-based purpose group to dismantle racism when I learned about Coming to the Table. At the first monthly dinner meeting, I felt so welcome and was immediately drawn to the vision of Coming to the Table for a just and truthful society. I keep coming to the monthly meetings, retreats, and pilgrimages and other events because they are so meaningful to my journey. I am meeting wonderful people who have so much to share about their experiences and perspectives. I want to join with others to bring about a beloved community and to work towards healing the wounds of our painful legacy of slavery and racism.
I am Marsha Summers. I grew up in Southern California,but have lived in the Southeast for my whole adult life, with the last 18 years being in Richmond, VA. I have served as a food coordinator and table facilitator at our monthly meetings since November, 2016.