Facilitate a CTTT Local Group
Online social networks, community conference calls, newsletters, and email certainly have their place in Coming to the Table, but there is nothing like meeting in person to build the kind of community this transformative work requires. The information below is designed to help you start and sustain a local/regional CTTT group where you live. This is not a set of rules. Rather, we hope these recommendations will help set the stage and then inspire your creativity; that they will serve as a springboard to additional ideas to fit your group and its needs.
The most important recommendation we have as you contemplate launching a local group is to identify others in your community to partner with you. It will serve you well to meet multiple times with a core leadership team for your group. Build strong, accountable relationships with each other. Agree on what it means to be a local CTTT group in your community, how you envision meetings happening, review all the materials below together, all before completing the application process, scheduling public meetings, and inviting others to join in.
For additional information and support, or if you have questions about starting a CTTT Local Affiliate Group, please Contact Us here.
After you’ve read through this guide, studied the resources, and are ready to form a Local Group in your community, fill out the online application form at the bottom of this page.
The CTTT Local Group Start-up Guide
Before you get started
1. Review the CTTT website, especially the About Us links. Be sure to read CTTT – A Brief History and the Vision, Mission, Approach and Values of CTTT.
2. For a more complete understanding of CTTT, download and review the following Guides:
- Transforming Historical Harms
- Using the Circle Process to facilitate effective group dialogue
- Using Touchstones (agreed-upon principles for group dialogue)
- An introduction to Restorative Justice principles & CTTT
There are many additional guides, videos, and other resources that you will also find quite valuable – simply go to the “Resources” page (under “Learn” above) to review all the great information and tools available to you.
We strongly recommend reading a few of the “Little Books of Justice & Peacebuilding.” These brief, powerful books rest at the foundation of the CTTT Approach to racial justice and healing. In particular, we recommend The Little Book of Racial Healing (which introduces the entire CTTT Approach), as well as The Little Books of Trauma Healing, Restorative Justice, and Circle Processes.
Once you’ve completed the application process below, CTTT will mail you a copy of each of these books.
What it takes to start & remain a CTTT Local Group
- Commit to build a local group of individuals who will meet regularly, and work together, to achieve the CTTT Vision and Mission in your community and state.
- Encourage local members to support the national organization of CTTT by becoming an active member and contributing financially as they are able.
- Agree to actively participate with and support the national CTTT organization, including:
- Providing details about your meetings for the CTTT Events Calendar and monthly newsletter
- Communications and information sharing with other Local Affiliate Group facilitators
- National actions and activities (including monthly community conference calls and national gatherings)
- Fundraising efforts for Coming to the Table
- Training and workshops, and
- Working with and supporting other Local Groups, as you are able
- Fill out the application form below (to be completed by one (or two) representative(s), leader(s), or co-facilitator(s) on behalf of your group).
How to find others who may be interested
1. Join the CTTT Facebook group and post a message there.
2. Talk to family members, friends and colleagues.
3. Ask at meetings such as genealogical societies, anti-racism groups, faith communities, history societies, museums, and events that draw like-minded people (film screenings).
4. Public speaking often draws people out of the woodwork. Share your story. Give a talk at a local church, library, or community event (or other opportunities) about your family’s connection to slavery or your interest in working with others to heal from the legacy of slavery. Tell them about Coming to the Table and let them know you’d like to meet others who are interested in this work. Share and collect contact information. Follow-up with everyone who seems interested. The CTTT Speakers Toolkit has ideas and resources to help.
5. Depending on location and need for funding, host someone from CTTT to give a presentation in your community
6. Host a film screening of Traces of the Trade, Moving Midway, Meeting David Wilson, Shared History, Anywhere But Here or other films created by CTTT members. The film you use may depend on your location.
7. Distribute CTTT post cards, book marks, or brochures. Contact CTTT here regarding availability of these handouts.
8. Ideally, work with a partner; a racial counterpart with whom you have developed, or begun to develop, an authentic, accountable relationship grounded in the CTTT Approach. Then work together to launch your CTTT group.
IMPORTANT: You don’t need a large group. Start small. Focus on connecting well and racial balance (more on this below).
Once you have connected with a few people
- Focus on building trust and connection. Try to listen as much as you share, and look for people who can listen as well as share.
- Use story-sharing to encourage connection-building. Share your personal and family stories related to slavery, its legacies and aftermaths, and racism.
- We strongly recommend using a Circle Process for group sharing of stories. The Little Book of Circle Processes by Kay Pranis is a helpful resource for learning to conduct dialogue through use of a circle process.
- Use Touchstones for establishing group norms and guidelines. Listening without interruption, criticism or judgment, sharing time equally (more or less), and confidentiality are really important.
- Keep an eye on “racial” balance in group leadership and membership. A group that is much more than half European American is less likely to feel and be safe and welcoming to African Americans. The reverse is also true. Imbalance tends to result in less likelihood for success. That said, your group may have more members from one ethnic background than others. Recognize and acknowledge this, and do the work.
- Take time to share your stories over multiple meetings. This is crucial for building connections, safety and trust between you. People are more likely to stick around for the challenging conversations once they have heard one another’s stories and seen one another’s humanity through those stories.
- Use the Videos for Educational/Dialogue Settings, which include “Study Questions” for conversation starters.
- Utilize the CTTT YouTube channel, as well as films, books, and community events to inspire more story-sharing.
- Engender warm and respectful discussion. Intellectual or academic discussions have their place, and can be important, but engaging in them without warm and respectful relationships, built through sharing stories, can stir up defensiveness, distance, mistrust, competition, etc., and can be counterproductive to connection and healing.
- Talk about taking some sort of action as a group. Are you ready? Do you have good relationships? Do you need more time to build community? Would working on something together help you build community? What kind of action would you like to engage in?
- Relationship to the national CTTT organization: This relationship is spelled out in the Application and Agreement. CTTT strongly encourages the creation of local groups, and we provide resources and support to the best of our ability.
- Policy regarding use of the Coming to the Table name: Once you have a group, if you want to name yourselves, we encourage creativity and, if you wish, including your location. It needs to be something other than simply “Coming to the Table.” Some examples: WTTT (Welcome to the Table) in Oakland, California, or CTTT-RVA in Richmond, Virginia.
- Donations for local activity: You’ll need to handle your own finances. CTTT does not process donations and/or reimbursements for local activity. This is also spelled out in the Application and Agreement.
- A few final reminders: Connections are at the heart of this work. Start small. Build warm relationships. Grow from there. Ask for support from the CTTT Community. Contact us here.
Tools and Resources for Local Group Facilitation
CTTT Local Affiliate Group Application and Agreement
This form is our application and agreement and is required to establish a new CTTT Local Affiliate Group.