Marsha Summers grew up in Southern California, but has lived in the Southeast for her entire adult life, with the last 19 years being in Richmond, VA. She has degrees in German, Education, and Vocal Performance, and has been employed as a singer, voice teacher, and pre-school director and teacher. Marsha is married to the Rev. Dr. Charles Summers, has three grown children and three grandchildren. She has been associated with Coming To TheTable-RVA almost from the beginning and served as Food Team Coordinator, Facilitator, and Book Circle co-leader before coming on as Co-CEO, Operations. She shares her CTTT journey below.
"I was involved with CTTT-RVA pretty much from the earliest house meetings, about 6 years ago, but stayed in the background for a long time. I am embarrassed to admit that in those early small gatherings, I thought this wasn't really my issue. I wasn't from the Old South, doubted my ancestors held slaves, had spent at least half of my adulthood in very racially mixed Presbyterian congregations, believed wholeheartedly that God loves all God's children, red and yellow, black and white. But I loved CTTT-RVA founders, Martha Rollins and Danita Green, and I really enjoyed all the people they brought to the table, so I came and mostly listened and watched to see how things would develop.
Then came the 2016 election results, and suddenly our brand new "home base" in a very welcoming church became safe space to many new faces, and many new voices with important stories to share. I started counting on those four legs of the table for some true history, for some healing balm for my sad heart, for some guidance toward acting for more justice, and most of all for forming friendships with people of good will from a most wondrous variety of backgrounds. And then came an 8-day Pilgrimage to sites of historic civil rights tragedy and courage in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. I met people who walked all those stony paths, suffered the violence and indignities, and managed to maintain their humor, wisdom and goodwill. It cemented this as my issue after all. The CTTT National Gathering and our own Book and Movie Circles have fed my mind, soul, and body. I have taken James Baldwin to heart ("It's the innocence I cannot forgive"), and laughed with Trevor Noah. I have a whole new pantheon of Racial Reconciliation Superheroes, some living and some long gone, and I find I want to introduce new and old friends to them all! I have become an evangelist."