Facilitators Circle came into being to provide one trained facilitator per table at dinner gatherings. How do we help strangers from different backgrounds enter into meaningful. transforming conversations. Bonnie Dowdy shares her extensive knowledge and experience in monthly 2.5 hour trainings and in two retreats per year. She particularly focuses on how we use the CTTT touchstones to draw everyone into deep and meaningful places of being together. How do we encourage folks to leave in different and more open place than when they began our gathering?
Hayat Bain has been on fire about Coming To The Table - RVA (an affiliate of Coming To The Table - national) since the Fall of 2016. After the first CTTT-RVA dinner gathering she attended, she volunteered to facilitate conversations from the next meeting onward. Hayat is now co-convener of the chapter's 3rd Tuesday Family Gathering and a member of CTTT-RVA’s Leaders and Facilitators Circles. In 2017, she initiated a 6-month CTTT-RVA Healing Circle. Hayat is currently supporting CTTT-RVA in the areas of communications, outreach, hospitality, event planning, and coordination.
My name is Kathy Davis and I live in western Hanover County. I volunteer in the kitchen for the third Tuesday CTTT-RVA dinner gatherings and have served as a facilitator. Two years ago, I came to CTTT-RVA, after completing an anti-racism workshop, wanting to continue to learn about and engage in opportunities to support racial justice initiatives. At the first meeting I attended, the group discussion topic was the statues on Monument Avenue. Danita and Martha did such an amazing job as the group’s leaders in creating a safe environment for sharing our individual opinions that it was the richest and most informative conversation I had experienced on the issue. In the beginning, I kept going back because I learned so much from the variety of perspectives expressed around the table. Now, I stay involved not just for those nuggets of insight but also because of the wonderful people I have met and the friendships I’ve developed volunteering and sharing meals, thoughts and experiences with the CTTT-RVA community. This group has helped me be a more informed and effective ally and advocate for racial justice in my own county and beyond.
For the past 40-plus years Dr. Bonnie Dowdy has worked as a consultant, educator, group facilitator, researcher, and program designer/evaluator. She has advocated for honest conversation about difficult social and cultural issues, for an increased awareness of the essential role of diversity in organizations and communities, and for the importance of evaluation in advancing program development and mission integrity.
I am Cheryl Goode and I am from Richmond, Virginia. My first Coming To The Table - RVA (national CTTT affiliate) encounter was on the 3rd Tuesday of December 2016. Trump had just been elected president, black men were continuously being murdered by police, there were daily debates over flags, statues, Klansmen, and also over who could truly be considered a racist. And in the mist of these dark days CTTT-RVA offers a safe place for all who are interested in acknowledging and healing from the harms of our racial past.
I’m Betty King from Richmond, VA and I am a CTTT-RVA facilitator. I also participate in the Book circle and find it enlightening to read, learn and discuss books that have expanded my understanding of our painful history of racism and slavery. I was part of a faith-based purpose group to dismantle racism when I learned about Coming to the Table. At the first monthly dinner meeting, I felt so welcome and was immediately drawn to the vision of Coming to the Table for a just and truthful society. I keep coming to the monthly meetings, retreats, and pilgrimages and other events because they are so meaningful to my journey. I am meeting wonderful people who have so much to share about their experiences and perspectives. I want to join with others to bring about a beloved community and to work towards healing the wounds of our painful legacy of slavery and racism.
Marsha Summers grew up in Southern California, but has lived in the Southeast for her entire adult life, with the last 20 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 The Table - RVA almost from the beginning and has served as Food Team Coordinator, Facilitator, and Book Circle Co-Convener before becoming Co-CEO of Operations.
I have lived in Richmond, VA for the past 70 years. I was born in Farmville, VA where schools were closed rather than be integrated. I was formerly the Movie Circle Convener, a Facilitator and a Member of the Leadership Team. I saw an article in a newspaper about a meeting of CTTT-RVA at a Church close to where I live and decided to attend my first meeting on December 16th, 2016. At my first meeting I was impressed with and was in accord with the mission of the organization and the four legs of the organization. As a member of CTTT-RVA, I feel that I have developed some very lasting relationships and developed a sense of trust with persons of very diverse backgrounds. My motto at this age is "Learn today, like you are going to live forever." I continue to participate in CTTT-RVA activities, events and trips because in addition to learning, I am able to experience a wider circle of family love from my new relationships.
Doug Steele has become part of the heartbeat of CTTT-RVA, appreciated for the wide variety of skills and interests he brings to the organization. Whether he is preparing scrumptious meals in the kitchen, baking goodies to share with other volunteers, or leading a Book Circle discussion, we know his special touch will make our experiences more enjoyable! Besides serving as a core member of established circles of activity, Doug has created a Directory of African-American Owned Businesses in Richmond to help all of us put some of our money into reparative action, employing businesses that he has personally checked out. He also helps keep some of the website up to date and is just plain fun to be around! Thanks, Doug! We are glad you are here!