CTTT-RVA NEWS

America, It’s Time for Racial Reckoning

7/01/20

In his famous I Have a Dream speech, Dr. Martin Luther King said, “America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’ But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.” Dr. King was calling for racial reckoning in America. Sixty years later, that day is finally here.


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Replace Lee with a memorial of reconciliation

6/12/20

To those who persist in believing the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee had nothing to do with slavery and only was about history, I say, OK, then, it was. This history:

Lee commanded the army that fought a war against the United States of America. If he had been successful, his victory would have perpetuated slavery.


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Resilience Defined

6/12/20

With the recent events of the past few days, weeks, months, even; I have given a lot of thought to what it means to be resilient. Why I must be resilient today, tomorrow and every day until my last. In this country it is the only way to survive; at least from my experiences, being an African American man growing up in the South. 

Resilience is going outside to hang out with your family, your friends, your neighbors on a stoop or the corner, knowing that you will probably have an unpleasant interaction with the police. 

With the recent events of the past few days, weeks, months, even; I have given a lot of thought to what it means to be resilient. Why I must be resilient today, tomorrow and every day until my last. In this country it is the only way to survive; at least from my experiences, being an African American man growing up in the South. 

Resilience is going outside to hang out with your family, your friends, your neighbors on a stoop or the corner, knowing that you will probably have an unpleasant interaction with the police. 

Resilience is my mother sending her son outside to play with full understanding that the neighborhood may not be safe, for any number of reasons. Knowing that no matter with all she's taught him, it may very well be the last time she sees him again. 

Being resilient is knowing that you may not have enough money for bills, food, clothes or to take care of your parents when they are sick; and yet you still greet your friends with a smile and reply with "I'm doing well; all things considered."

Resilience is working two jobs just to survive. It’s learning a side hustle; whether it’s doing hair, or lawn care, selling CDs, oils, catering, or charging to host social events with loud music as a temporary distraction and serving alcohol to numb the pain of the harsh reality which is your life. 

Resilience is getting up every morning going to work for a company that undervalues you and underpays you but expects you to be on time every day as scheduled; to give them 100% effort. Knowing that you don't have the luxury to quit and pursue your passions or your dreams; but you get up the next day anyway. Suck it up; and do it all over again because that’s the only way you know how to make an honest living.  

Resilience is having the audacity to buy a luxury vehicle even a used one knowing that you will be stopped, questioned and often search without any other probable cause other than driving while black. 
Being resilient is being told indirectly or directly that you’re not qualified, you don’t have the credentials, that you’re not good enough, and that your black life doesn’t matter. Despite that, you improvise, survive and still find a way to rise.

Resilience is trying to climb from the bottomless pit of poverty, grasping at every clump of dirt or rock no matter how jagged its edge while desperately trying to pull yourself up. Slowly, carefully, with unsteady footing; mindful that one misstep could sending you tumbling back to where you started or even worse; lower than before. Resilience is knowing that you've fallen before, survived and are willing do it again and again if you must, just to escape. 

Resilience is looking up from just below the edge and seeing mostly white faces looking back down on you with disdain for your soiled shoes, the grit lodged between your fingernails from your impossible climb, as they continue to walk by with willful ignorance.  

Resilience is knowing that if you're ever fortunate enough to make it out, that you're still standing too close to the edge to feel safe; that this was only the first level and what awaits you is yet another uphill climb. That those glaring eyes you saw before looking down upon you are joined by many more, perched even higher than theirs; eyes that peer through shaded lenses that only see you as black, brown, or other.

Resilience is knowing all that and you still keep going, keep climbing; knowing that even if you graduate at the top of your class with a Harvard law degree and go on to become President of the United States, you're still not good enough to be seen as equal, but instead… still, as other. It's seeing your brothers and sisters, your people, your culture, savaged, exploited, discredited by a nation that continues to deny that slavery had any impact on today's present conditions. Helplessly watching as they are slain, assassinated, murdered and lynched by racist police, only to be told to be peaceful, respectful of the law, our social pact; or run the risk as being seen as an angry black man or disgruntled. 

Resilience is knowing I might be next, and you still take a stand, speak out, march, protest during a global pandemic to resist the forces that seek to keep you oppressed.  

Resilience is working together to empower those who choose not to look away with the knowledge, insight and the communication skills to have these courageous conversations with their European brothers and sisters; about the truth of the systemic racial, criminal injustice and economic inequality that thrives in this country today.

Resilience is not just refusing to look away but challenging all that don't look like us to truly see us, hear us, join in our outcries for justice and equality. It's refusing to return to the status quo. 

Resilience is knowing that these conversations are clumsy and uncomfortable, that the process is often ugly and volatile. That it is an inconvenient truth that in this country, this is the only way change ever happens. But change will come... and WE are how! 

Stay vigilante; be resilient and we shall overcome! 

The Moment Is Now For Acknowledgement, Apology and Action

6/03/20

Dear Friends,

Our hearts are breaking with the daily news of racial hatred and violence - the death of another black man murdered for no reason. Our hearts are heavy alongside brothers and sisters who have lived this trauma for 400 years. Our anger is triggered at the disproportionate cost Covid-19 heaps on black bodies and families. Our fear rises for the futures of children who will fall behind in school as they have no access to technology for continued learning. If there was ever a time to be about truth-telling, building relationships, healing from wounds, and working for systemic change, we are in that time.


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Love And Care For Others Across Barriers

3/22/20

Check out these questions to help you consider ways in which you can love and care for others during this time of quarantine.

As our Coming To The Table family strives to find ways to continue the work for racial healing, let's remember that we are working to heal the human race, becoming a bridge to love and care for others across barriers, real and imaginary, ironically evident in this time of quarantine. Like always, bridging with others will require patience , understanding and above all, creativity . Think (and color) outside the lines.???? Lead with gratitude, a healthy concern for those you cannot see and hold a vision of connectedness for us all. Be well and be safe. ?? - Danita Rountree Green?

Coronavirus Impact On Upcoming CTTT-RVA Events

3/14/20

After much debate on how we could safely gather while being mindful of the current public health challenge, Coming To The Table-RVA will be cancelling all public gatherings and events slated for next week and the month of March.


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CTTT-RVA National Day of Racial Healing Observance 2020 Reflections

2/17/20

A Clear Vision in a New Decade of Change

Let me start with these two small words - THANK YOU for being a part of our National Day
of Racial Healing Observance for 2020. On Day 1, you joined us at the Virginia Museum of
History and Culture for Repairing the Breach: History, Religion and the Racial Divide featuring
Richmond’s own Dr. Ed Ayers and Dr. Brian Blount with special guest Dr. David Ragland of the
Truth-Telling Protect, moderated by Dr. Corey Walker.ew Decade of Change


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What A Great Water Dancer Weekend!

11/01/19

The release of Ta-Nehisi Coates' new novel, The Water Dancer was coupled with multiple events to encourage dialogue and fellowship.


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CTTT-RVA and VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art Collaborate

10/27/19

A collaboration event between CTTT-RVA and VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art brought together 49 people including faculty and students from VCU and Virginia Union University, Richmond artists, and members of CTTT-RVA.


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Coming to the Table to Discuss the 1619 Project

9/06/19

In August, to mark the 400th anniversary of the first African slaves arriving to the English colony of Virginia, the New York Times launched the 1619 Project, challenging readers to consider this event in 1619 as the true founding moment of the United States.


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Jamestown 2 Jamestown 2019: The Year of Return Commemorating 400 Years of the African Diaspora Experience

9/05/19

By Danita Green
History commonly and most often points to late August in the year 1619 when some “20 and odd Negroes” originating from Angola arrived in the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia as the first documented enslaved Africans to land in what is now The United States of America. Fast forward to 2019 through the continued metamorphosis of the African American, we mark the 400th anniversary of their arrival as men and women still fighting for equal rights, justice and freedom.

The “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” was a major landmark spiritual and birth-right journey inviting the Global African family, home and abroad, to mark this anniversary. As an official event of the Year of Return, Jamestown to Jamestown was a spiritual, historical and reconciliatory journey in commemoration of the 400 year anniversary. I was privileged to be a part of this once in a lifetime event


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National Grassroots Reparations Convening/ 5th Annual Mike Brown Jr Weekend Commemoration

9/01/19

By Danita Green
This was a beautiful call to action that honored the living and the ancestors through music and stories, and charged us with the task of working together to repair want is broken - in ourselves as individuals and in our communities.


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BUILDING BRIDGES TOWARD UNDERSTANDING

8/15/19

By Patrick Wilson • Richmond Times-Dispatch
National racial justice group convening in Historic Triangle to recognize slavery in Virginia


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The "For Reparations" Conference

8/08/19

To learn more about how Reparations agendas are playing out nationally, Danita will be traveling to Ferguson, MO during the 5th anniversary weekend of the murder of Mike Brown Jr. and the Ferguson Uprising. From August 8-11, FOR REPARATIONS (part of the TRUTH TELLING PROJECT organization) is hosting a National Truth Telling and Grassroots Reparations Convening, where organizers and activists from Black-Led grassroots organizations throughout the nation, as well as the families and friends of people victimized by police violence, will be in Ferguson to participate in this important commemoration and work toward the transformation of our communities, and the transformation of the relationships between Black folk and the broader society. CTTT-RVA , because of our focus on this important topic and our national will be represented at this event.

To learn more click on the links below

https://www.forreparations.org/

https://www.facebook.com/FORreparations/

Moral Debt: The Legacy of Slavery in the USA. A film screening and discussion

7/31/19

African-American Heritage Center, Jefferson School, 233 4th Street Charlottesville, VA

Join the Charlottesville chapter of Coming to the Table and the DOR History Action Team for a screening of the documentary, “A Moral Debt: The Legacy of Slavery in the USA” Panelists include Martha Rollins and Danita Rountree Green who are the co-founders of CTTT- Richmond and are featured in the film.

Here is a link to the documentary available on YouTube. A Moral Debt: The Legacy of Slavery in the U.S.A.


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Repairing What is Broken

5/15/19

Our Richmond chapter of Coming to the Table hosted its first Reparations event at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture on May 15, 2019 from 6-7:30 pm, entitled Repairing What Is Broken: A Conversation on Reparations in RVA.

Repairing What is Broken - a Conversation on Reparations

It featured guest speaker Ken Woodley, author of The Road to Healing: A Civil Rights Reparations Story in Prince Edward County, VA and was followed by a panel discussion on implementing strategies for Reparations in Richmond.  This event was free to the public and engaged many city residence in a conversation on repairing broken systems in Richmond and healing the wounds of enslavement.

RTD Michael Paul Williams 5/18/2019 Our Nation is Rooted in Racism/Repairing What is Broken Event


 

Danita speaks out on behalf of the Richmond chapter of CTTT-RVA on Governor Northam and the blackface incident

2/08/19

Northam blackface scandal forces Virginians to talk about what redemption for racism should look like


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Green and Rollins Forge Unique Friendship for Social Change

7/14/16

Like many others, I have wrestled during the past week with what I can do, how I can help push forward some lasting, systemic change in our city. In the end, I found a story to share. Here’s one about Danita and Martha.


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"We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond."
- Gwendolyn Brooks
CTTT-RVA is a Local Affiliate Group of Coming to the Table.