Inspired by our experience at the May 2014 National Gathering, we in the “Valley” Chapter of CTTT held our first meeting in October 2014 at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU). We are lucky to hold our meetings EMU and be at its Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, the parent organization of Coming to the Table. In our meetings, we use the circle process to get to know each other, hear each other’s stories, and discuss activities we want to undertake. Our process is organic. Different members volunteer to take on tasks, while as co-chairs two of us, an African American and a European American, take the primary responsibility of leading meetings, taking notes, sending emails, and planning events the group has decided to undertake.
In January 2015 we shared stories of Coming to the Table at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration for Harrisonburg. We have since sponsored the EMU Playback Theater Troupe’s performance of “Got Privilege?” in which audience members were invited to tell their stories about privilege, or the lack thereof, as the playback theater group acted out what was being shared. We later sponsored a genealogy workshop in which participants learned practical methods for organizing and conducting genealogy research as well as the challenges of tracing African American ancestors who lived during the slavery era.
We welcome guests and new members and hold monthly meetings at EMU mixing our focus on small group meetings and larger public education events.