~ August 2023 Update ~

Dreams are Welcomed Here

Last year we walked.

Coming Together Virginia walked proudly down Arthur Ashe Blvd and Monument Avenue arm-in-arm - a color palette of city residents from different neighborhoods, towns and parishes. There were grandparents keeping up with grandkids, middle-agers debating current issues, and those who meditatively moved in silence. Our biennial UNITY WALK 2022 brought 2oo walkers together, on one of the hottest days of the year, to move as one body for racial healing. Our walk commemorates the August 28, 1963 March on Washington and MLK’s “I have a Dream Speech, arguably the most iconic public oration in U.S. Civil Rights history. This year, it was our hope to travel to DC for the 60th anniversary march but with the ever-present threat of gun violence in America, our leadership has decided not to attend.

This is crushing for us, but as I looked for new words to offer about this great man and his dream, I ran across this 1967 interview with NBC News correspondent Sander Vanocur where King despondently says his dream had become a nightmare. (What?) Only four years after THE speech, King comes to the woeful realization that the Vietnam War shifted our focus from constructive social issues to violence and hate. In the interview, he talks about gun violence being a threat to The Dream and democracy. Sound familiar? Watch the interview here -  Martin Luther King Jr.: "My dream has turned into a nightmare". King also felt he had lost ground with younger voices shouting “black power” and raising their fists to THE MAN. The little black boys and little black girls holding hands with little white boys and little white girls imagery was fading, replaced by fear and uncertainty. The Dream seemed to be slipping away.

Last year, we walked - feeling safe to do so - in walkathons, historic tours, The Trail of Enslaved Africans and our Unity Walk. We honored the past by reading King’s speech as well as handed the mic to local changemakers working to keep The Dream alive. Whether you attend the anniversary march in DC or not, we encourage you to dream on your feet. Move into the change we need to see in the world. Also, expect more information about a special event in September with Margaret Edds, author of “What The Eyes Can’t See”. It's a story about transformation and courageously bringing dreams into fruition.

That’s what we do at CT-VA. Dreams are welcomed here.

Bringing LOVE to the Fight for Freedom,


3rd Tuesday Dinner Gathering


With Special Guests Braxton - Morris - Tillman -Mines families

and the African American Genealogical Society

Linked Descendants crossing the racial divide

Tuesday, September 19th

6:00 - 8:30 PM ET

Ginter Park Presbyterian Church

Fellowship Hall

3601 Seminary Avenue, Richmond, VA 23227

Education For Action

Book Circle

(3rd Thursday)

Thursday, September 21st

6:00 am - 8:30 pm ET



Facilitator Training...An Opportunity To Make A Difference

Some of the participants in the 2022 Class of Facilitators pose with coordinator, Bonnie Dowdy in center.

We are preparing to launch our first full scale, manuals-ready, Level 1 facilitator training program in September. Last program year CTVA facilitators participated in a pilot program. Their experiences and input helped to "finalize" the training program and manuals which will be implemented. 

We are very excited about this training. Past participants have included CTVA ambassadors, volunteers, persons new to this work and those wanting to gain new skills. We are seeking more interested people. Our first half-day Level 1 Facilitator Training event will take place in mid-September. Let us know about your availability.

Please RSVP to Coordinator of Facilitation and Training, Bonnie Dowdy via email by August 20 if interested in Facilitator training.  Thank you for supporting this important community-building work. Trainer, Shelli Brady and Bonnie Dowdy guarantee an inspiring learning journey with you as we work to build a more just and equitable society for all. 

Contact Bonnie at dowdy8716@verizon.net with questions and to RSVP

Movie Circle


(4th Mondays)

Monday, September 25th

6:30 - 8:00 PM ET

On Zoom


African American Intellectual History Society to Host Conference in Virginia

AAIHS is an independent scholarly organization that aims to foster dialogue about researching, writing, and teaching black thought and culture. The organization will host their 9th Annual Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia. AAIHS originally began as a blog founded by Christopher Cameron in early 2014 providing a space for scholars in disparate fields to discuss the many aspects of teaching and researching Black intellectual history.

The conference will take place at the University of Virginia, March 8-9, 2024. The theme is Reparations: Past, Present, Future. The organizers are asking for papers and panels from scholars, activists, educators, and artists whose work can be (re)conceptualized in some way through the prism of reparations and reparative justice. All papers and panels MUST articulate in their proposals how their work relates to the conference theme. How does your work inform, challenge, complicate, historicize, or speak to the discursive and organizational practice of reparations? If you are interested in submitting a proposal, the deadline is September 1, 2023.

The Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies is proud to host this event. 

Submit Proposal

Reading For Change

Book Circle

(4th Thursdays)

Thursday, September 28th

6:30 - 8:00 PM ET

On Zoom

What The Eyes Can't See

A Revealing Examination of Race

Margaret Edds draws on unprecedented access to the governor, his aides, and members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, whose initial anger evolved into determination to mine good from an ugly episode. Both scolding and encouraging, they led Northam to a deeper understanding of the racism and pain the photograph in his yearbook symbolized. To Northam's credit, he listened, and more importantly learned the lessons of endemic, systemic racism and applied those lessons to his legislative agenda. 

Please join in the discussion of this book, even if you have not had time to finish it or read it. You will not want to miss this opportunity to expand your knowledge.

Doug Steele

RFC Book Circle Convener


TALK and TEA with

author Margaret Edds

Friday September 15th / 11am -1pm

Pine Camp Cultural Arts Center

4901 Old Brook Rd / Richmond, VA

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's "blackface scandal" could have destroyed any politician. What the Eyes Can't See details why Northam's career did not end with the scandal, and how it made him a better governor—and a better citizen.


Margaret Edds draws on unprecedented access to the governor, his aides, and members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, whose initial anger evolved into determination to mine good from an ugly episode. Northam listened and learned the lessons of endemic, systemic racism and applied those lessons to his legislative agenda. Edds provides a revealing examination of race in the nation, how racism might be addressed and reckoned with, and how we all may find a measure of redemption in listening to one another.


Jonathan Davis, Marketing and Communications Manager

Hayat Bain, Coordinator of Communications & Partnerships