In 2009 a bi-ethnic gathering of African Americans and European Americans met to talk about issues of ethnicity (race) at a local, predominately European American, United Methodist church. Subsequently, a core group from this gathering along with interested others launched two annual highly successful professional program in two area county high school of historical musical vignettes honoring a strong local African American and European American woman and non-local historical African American women (Sojourner Truth, Zora Neale Hurston, Clementine Hunter and Fannie Lou Hamer).
Later, at a screening of the film Traces of the Trade, some discussion comments were dismissive and insensitive, including, “They (African Americans) ought to be paying us (European Americans) reparations!” The African American organizer of the viewing called upon the aforementioned core group to form an Eastern Shore Coming to the Table group to support her healing from the trauma of some of the comments at the viewing.
The first gathering of five folks was held at the home of her European American friend in April 2010. Since then, there have been several gatherings ranging between eight and eleven participants held at the homes of various members. Sometimes there is discussion around a specific agenda and other times folks gather simply be in relationship, eat, listen to music, share comments in a circle process and enjoy each other’s company. Welcomed guests from as far away as southern Delaware, the western shore of Maryland and Washington DC have participated.
After eating and socializing, folk typically sit in a circle where in turn and in succession each person reads a paragraph of Guidelines/Touchstones for Reconciliation Sharings/Discussions, as amended 4-28-14. Staying within the Circle Process each person reads a paragraph of CTTT’s Vision, Mission, and Values and Approach prior to segueing to discussing issues or other topics of discussion. The Eastern Shore of Virginia group meets irregularly usually on a Monday when most of the eighteen local folk on this listserve indicate they may be in the area and available.