~ April 2023 Update ~
Why Can't We Be Friends?
The color of your skin don't matter to me
as long as we can live in harmony
Why Can't We Be Friends?
The song “ Why Can’t We be Friends?” was released in the mid-1970's when our nation was still reeling from the Civil Rights Movement and plunging into the Women’s Movement and the free-love-pot-smoking-revolution. In a puff of smoke (literally) those of us of a certain age were challenged with finding ourselves, learning how to get down as a way of getting up and speed balling through political chaos while gyrating on the dance floor to groups named WAR, The Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead. Wow! Those were the days when we were family . . .right?

Fast forward to 2020 - social distancing did not only make us a bit un-social, it also caused us to question how we socialize in a civilized way. That is, we were challenged to question how we talked to each other and even our inner conversations on race, sexuality, politics, and our history.

Like many of us, I am aware of the dis-ease people are feeling right now - the unsuredness of being as I heard someone call it. In some ways, we were more sure of how we fit and where we fit 20, 30, 40 years ago. We could easily identify our tribe by what they wore, where they lived, worshiped, etc. . . .now, not so much. It's harder to make and even identify friend material. As we approach 3rd Tuesday’s topic on Befriending with Mollie Reinhart and the team from Befriend, we will be examining cultural codes/attitudes, and questioning our own. What inner work do we as a collective need to do and why do we need to do it? How we play together in the sandbox matters. It's crucial to our transformation as a culture. Befriending and belonging go together; we all want to belong.

Making friends is actually more about our self-identity than someone else's identity. Our April 18th event will be a journey into self-discovery. Be There! In the meantime, here’s a song by three performers whose friendship and creativity put a smile on faces all over the world. See you at the table!

Bringing Love to the fight!

March Forward, Don't Fall Back
Monthly Giving Campaign
"If the worst in American life lurked in Selma's dark streets, the best of American instincts arose passionately from across the nation to overcome it" -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. March 25, 1965

Become a CT-VA monthly giver. Select a giving level that works for you! The Campaign kicked off in March and the goal is 100 New Monthly Givers in 100 Days. Justice takes Allies! Please help us move into a new season with a statewide reach, spearheading the work of racial healing and a new vision of hope. LET'S KEEP MOVING! Become a CT-VA monthly giver. Select a giving level that works for you

Select a giving level that works for you!

$10.00 per month Facilitating the Future Gift supports our Facilitator team
$20.00 per month Truth Telling Gift supports technology
$30.00 per month Crossing Borders Gift supports bringing people together
$40.00 per month Reparational Gift supports community advocacy
$50.00 per month Faith In Action Gift supports our Becoming Community Series

Or make a one-time donation to the March Forward campaign.

Thank you!
3rd Tuesday Dinner Gathering

Tuesday, April 18, 2023
6:00 - 8:30 PM ET

Ginter Park Presbyterian Church
Fellowship Hall
3601 Seminary Avenue, Richmond, VA 23227

A True Effort To Belong and Befriend
When people harness the power of connecting with others whose lives are different from their own, we all learn just how much more alike we are. With that understanding people can find common ground and friendship. When people find compassion for one another, true transformation can take place. We can find a way to better understand how to work, play, and live together in a world that is better for all of society. Mollie Reinhart, founder of Befriend, will discuss how we can build a better world, how we can better connect, understand, and change. Join us for this important discussion.

We will provide some main dish items and desserts and if you feel so moved, you're invited to bring a nourishing side dish to share.

Suggested donation is $20 per person to cover our costs.  

Please join us regardless of your ability to make a donation or bring a side dish.

Bring books on April 18th in preparation for our May 16th Summer Reading Book Sale/Fundraiser! (Scroll down for details.)
Coming to the Table
National Gathering
Returns In-Person

Early Bird Registration rate of $350 - extended until 4/30!
Join our larger national community of Coming to the Table for several days in a "village" of learning together and connecting around racial justice and healing!
Oakland, CA
June 15-18, 2023

Contact Hayat if you'd like to chat with someone local who has experienced the NG in-person and virtually and is involved at the national level.
Education For Action
Book Circle
(3rd Thursday)

Thursday, April 20th 
6:00 - 8:30 pm ET
Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County by Kristen Green revolves around a family, a Virginia town, and a civil rights battle. With hard-hitting investigative journalism and a sweeping family narrative, this provocative true story reveals a little-known chapter of American history: the period after the Brown v. Board of Education decision when one Virginia school system refused to integrate. Kristen returned to her hometown of Prince Edward County in 2006 to research the county’s controversial past. During her research, she learned that her grandfather was a segregationist who played a key role in the decision to shut down the public schools. The battle over Prince Edward County Public Schools left lasting scars.

Please join us!

This will be an in-person potluck gathering. Please email Cheryl Goode if you would like the location or other information.
Movie Circle
(4th Mondays)

Monday, April 24th
6:30 - 8:00 PM ET
On Zoom
Join us for our April Movie, You People. The basic concept is that Ezra (Johah Hill) and Amira (Lauren London), meet when Ezra mistakes a woman in an idling car for his Uber driver. Amira is an underemployed costume designer on her way to a job interview, and she calls racism. This chance meeting leads to the two verbally sparring and then eventually cracking each other up. They share a passion for sneakers and hip-hop – and soon - each other. Goodbye, loneliness! Hello, love of my life! It’s sheer bliss until the parents enter the picture.

Watch the movie on your own, then join us for the discussion on Zoom. 

Robin & Barbara
Movie Circle Co-Conveners
Reading For Change
Book Circle
(4th Thursdays)

Thursday, April 27th
6:30 - 8:00 PM ET
On Zoom
Robert Carter III was born into the highest circles of Virginia's Colonial aristocracy, neighbor and kin to the Washingtons and Lees and a friend and peer to Thomas Jefferson and George Mason. But in 1791, Carter severed his ties with this elite at the stroke of a pen.

Having gradually grown to feel that what he possessed was not truly his, clashing repeatedly with his neighbors, his friends, government officials, and, most poignantly, his own family, he set free nearly five hundred slaves in the largest single act of liberation in the history of American slavery before the Emancipation Proclamation. How did Carter succeed in what George Washington and Thomas Jefferson claimed they fervently desired but were powerless to effect? And why has his name all but vanished from the annals of American history?

In this vivid book, Andrew Levy traces the confluence of circumstance, conviction, war, and passion that led to Carter's extraordinary act. Join us for this enligtening discussion.

Book Circle Convening Team

Robert Russa Moton &
Virginia Randolph Museum Tours
Join Journey With Me and CT-VA as we visit Moton Musem in Farmville and Virginia Randolph Museum in Henrico

Saturday, May 13, 2023
The Robert Russa Moton Museum is a historic site and museum in Prince Edward County, Virginia. It is located in the former Robert Russa Moton High School, considered "the student birthplace of America's Civil Rights Movement" for its initial student strike and ultimate role in the Brown v. Board of Education case. The Virginia Randolph Museum is dedicated to the history of Virginia E. Randolph, an African American vocational educator in Henrico County. Click here for information about our May tour to Robert Russa Moton Museum and Virginia Randolph Museum. and to register. We hope you will join us and be transformed through FUN!

CHERYL GOODE (Seated at bottom right in photo)
My journey with Coming Together Virginia began during the winter of 2016. My sister had died in August and as our family worked to heal from this enormous void, Donald Trump was elected, Philando Castile was murdered, and the Confederate statues debate fired up! Turmoil everywhere! I needed to unpack some of what I was feeling.

Someone invited me to a potluck dinner and conversation at Ginter Park Presbyterian Church. I was greeted by Marsha Summers and seated at the table with Anne Westrick. They and many others have since become like family to me.
I really enjoyed that night. I often say, “I drank the Kool-Aid”, and indeed I did. I soon became a table facilitator, led the book circle, and worked on the newsletter. In June of 2017, founder Martha Rollins and I roomed together on a tour of the Great Dismal Swamp and other locations in hopes of providing historical tours through CT-VA. I enjoyed each aspect of the planning and decided I wanted to do this full-time! 

Coming Together Virginia friends helped me take that leap! In 2022, I got a business license for Journey With Mea travel and touring company that invites people to experience Virginia history together. From Fort Monroe to Hampton University to Sankofa Remembrance Day on the beach and Monticello, CT-VA has supported my dreams.
DONATE YOUR BOOKS on April 18th!

Summer Reading
Book Sale/Fundraiser
Time to SPRING CLEAN your bookshelves! DONATE your books by and about African Americans and racial justice to CT-VA’s Summer Reading Book Sale to be held at our May Gathering. Bring books to our 3rd Tuesday Gathering on April 18th (see details above in newsletter). If possible insert a slip of paper with 1-2 sentences on why you recommend each book. For more info email Bonnie Dowdy. (dowdy8716@verizon.net) Proceeds benefit CT-VA.
Jonathan Davis, Marketing and Communications Manager