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 Covid-19 pandemic of 2020-21 has had (and continues to have) a profound impact on CTTT Local Affiliate Groups as all meetings shifted from in-person to “virtual.” As more people become vaccinated, and meeting together in person eventually becomes safe again, Local Affiliates will once again adjust to meet the needs of members, both in-person and virtual.

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; perhaps 1-5 people committed to racial equity and healing. It will serve you well to meet multiple times with a core leadership team for your group; to build strong, accountable relationships with each other. Before beginning the application process, scheduling public meetings, or inviting others to join you, discuss together what it means to be a local CTTT group in your community, how you envision meetings happening, and review all the materials below together.

Applicants wanting to launch CTTT Local Affiliate Groups are required to complete a Leadership Training Workshop, which will be scheduled multiple times every year.

After you’ve read through this guide, studied the resources, completed a Leadership Training Workshop, and are ready to form a Local Group in your community, fill out the online application form at the bottom of this page. Once received by the CTTT office, your application will be reviewed and someone will be in touch with you to schedule a conference call with one or more experienced local group leaders to discuss your plans and next steps to launch your CTTT Local Affiliate Group.

If you have questions, please Contact Us here.

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. Complete a Leadership Training Workshop, scheduled multiple times each year; typically four hours per day over a Saturday and Sunday (8 hours total).

2. For a more complete understanding of CTTT, download and review the following Guides:

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 set of these four books that you can share with your co-leaders and members.

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.
  • Complete a 2-day Leadership Training Workshop (scheduled multiple times each year)
  • 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 can generate interest. 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 your location, consider hosting 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 or partners; a racial counterpart, or diverse group of people with whom you have developed, or begun to develop, authentic, accountable relationships 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 are ready to start meeting
  • 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.
    • Kay Pranis has also developed a helpful Online Support Circles guide in response to the need for social distancing.
  • 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.
  • Here are multiple Resources for CTTT Local Groups, including articles, videos, podcasts to inspire deep dialogue, check-in questions, openings, ice breakers, etc. 
  • Pay attention to racial equity and balance in group leadership and membership. A group that is much more than half European American may be less likely to feel and be safe and welcoming to African Americans. The reverse is also true. Imbalance, without attention to racial equity may 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?
Additional Information
  1. 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.
  2. Policy regarding use of the Coming to the Table name: “Coming to the Table” is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 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 San Francisco/Oakland, California, or Coming Together Virginia in Richmond, Virginia. (Note: if you eventually choose to register your group as an LLC or a non-profit organization, you cannot use the name “Coming to the Table” as any part of your registered name. Examples of alternatives include Minneapolis Peacebuilding Leadership Institute or Virginia Racial Healing Institute.)
  3. 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. Some local affiliates have established their own 501c3 organizations. Please pay attention to #2 just above regarding the use of the CTTT name.
  4. 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.

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. Before completing this application, please review and complete each of the five parts of the “Start-Up Guide” above.

Once submitted, your application will be reviewed, and we’ll be in touch to discuss next steps.

1 - New Local Group Application

Your Contact Info

Please provide us with contact information. We also request a mailing address (not a PO Box) so we can ship you the starter set of "Little Books" to aid you in facilitating your Local Group.


Group Facilitators

We encourage co-facilitators, especially one descended from people who were enslaved and one from people who were enslavers. Please provide the names and contact info for each of those who will assist in facilitating your group.

Your Connection with Coming To The Table

What Local Groups can expect from Coming to the Table, LLC:

Support from CTTT staff in starting and/or growing/sustaining your group (as needed), as well as support from experienced leaders in other existing Local Groups.

Access to a wealth of resources, including free, downloadable guides on Starting a Local CTTT Community, Transforming Historical Harms, Healing Together, Using a Circle Process (to facilitate effective group dialogue) and Touchstones (agreed-upon principles for participants in "deep dialogue" sessions)

A Set of Little Books which provide guidance on restorative practices for conflict resolution

  • The Little Book of Racial Healing: Coming to the Table for Truth-Telling, Liberation, and Transformation by Thomas Norman DeWolf and Jodie Geddes
  • The Little Book of Circle Processes: A New/Old Approach to Peacemaking by Kay Pranis
  • The Little Book of Restorative Justice by Howard Zehr
  • The Little Book of Trauma Healing by Carolyn Yoder

Coming To The Table (a.k.a. National Organization) agrees to follow restorative processes that support reconciliation if conflicts arise within the CTTT national organization or between the national organization and a local or regional group.

Web presence

  • CTTT will provide a page within the CTTT website, including, if you wish, a link to your group's separate website. CTTT will also link to your group's Facebook page or other social network sites you choose to participate in.
  • CTTT will work with you to create "events" publicizing your group activities on the CTTT website, as well as the CTTT Facebook Group page, and pin occasional announcements to the top of the CTTT FB page, and publicize your meetings in the monthly CTTT newsletter.

Your Agreement with Coming to the Table, LLC.

I understand that by starting and sustaining a Coming to the Table Local Group my co-facilitator(s) and I agree to schedule regular (typically monthly) meetings as described in the Start-up Guide above; that we will utilize the Start-up Guide and Tools and Resources for Local Group Facilitation above as we schedule and plan our meetings.

I understand that being a Coming to the Table Local Group implies and/or creates no legal or financial connection between me, our Local Group, and Coming to the Table. I understand Coming to the Table does not provide certain resources (liability insurance, local fundraising, non-profit status, etc.) and that if our group is interested in such resources we must pursue them on our own. I understand that if I or our Local Group takes action contrary to the Vision, Mission, Approach, and Values of CTTT, our status as an affiliate group may be terminated.

On behalf of our CTTT Local Group, I/we agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Coming to the Table and its employees and board members, along with RJOY - Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth and its employees and board members, from and against any and all claims, losses, damages, or other liability arising out of, or connected with services under this agreement, including but not limited to any accident or injury to persons or property or any liability for patent infringement.

I agree to follow CTTT restorative processes that support reconciliation if conflicts arise within the local group or between my local group and the national organization.

Our Agreement *

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