Coming to the Table

Coming to the Table (CTTT) was founded by descendants of enslavers and enslaved people, in partnership with the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. CTTT was inspired by the vision of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his “I Have a Dream” speech made during the 1963 March on Washington, that one day “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” CTTT values the sharing of personal, family and community stories as a powerful vehicle for uncovering history, building relationships, healing and inspiring action.

King_Jr_Martin_Luther_093.jpgCTTT provides leadership, resources and a supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge and heal wounds from a racism that is rooted in the United States’ history of slavery.

The organization was launched in January 2006 at Eastern Mennonite University. The idea for the inaugural gathering came from Will Hairston and Susan Hutchison, both European American descendants of historic American enslaving families. CTTT was nurtured by Amy Potter Czajkowski, on the staff of The Center for Justice & Peacebuilding, who obtained the initial grant funding. Amy and David Anderson Hooker, a faculty member in the Summer Peace Building Institute, took the lead in developing the Coming to the Table approach and model for addressing historically-based racism. Free copies of the manual can be downloaded from CTTT Resources.

Besides its website, CTTT hosts a Facebook page, a Twitter account [@] and has a presence on YouTube. There are several local gathering groups where members of Coming to the Table meet in person; in the Mid-Atlantic region, the Northeast, San Francisco/Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, DC.

CTTT sign

Photo credit: Jane Feldman

Finally, CTTT has inspired publications such as the book Gather at the Table by Sharon Morgan and Tom DeWolf (Beacon Press, 2012), which 2012 Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee called “an honest exploration into the deep social wounds left by racism, violence and injustice.” Other members of our community have also written books and authored other blogs related to the mission of CTTT. Some have been interviewed – or featured nationally – in newspapers and journals and on television and radio.

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