Upcoming Events
Martin Luther King Jr.
Program Series
The Center for Reconciliation (CFR) will host the third and last in its series of programs inspired by Dr. King's writings on the "Beloved Community." Join us as we celebrate his legacy as expressed through art.
Reconciliation as Expressed in the Arts
Thursday, March 8 at 7 p..m
Cathedral of St. John, 271 North Main Street, Providence
An exhibit of representations of reconciliation in the graphic and visual arts by local and regional artists; curated by Steven Pennell, Director of the University of Rhode Island Providence Campus Arts and Culture Program in partnership with the Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies. Artists and performers will share their responses to quotes from Dr. King related to reconciliation, through dance, music and the spoken word. A discussion of the exhibit and a chance for audience members to share their responses will follow. Registration is encouraged to help with preparations. To register, CLICK HERE

Past events in this series have included:

Reconciliation as Expressed in Four Faith Traditions, January 11, Grace Church, Providence Presentations and reflections by Rabbi Howard Voss-Altman on Reconciliation in Judaism, Mufti Ikram ul Haq on Reconciliation in Islam, Swami Vogatmananda on Reconciliation in Hinduism and Bishop Jeffery Williams on Reconciliation in Christianity, interspersed with musical selections.

Reconciliation as Expressed in Music, February 8, St. John's Cathedral, Providence Choral and instrumental performances featured students from the RI Philharmonic Orchestra Music School, the RPM (Reaching People Through Music) Voices of RI, the Ruach Singers from Temple Habinom, and the Providence Gay Men's Chorus. This event was the first to be held in the cathedral nave since the cathedral closed in April 2012.

Art of Race Series

Thursday, March 15,
6-7:30 p.m.,
RISD Museum
Chace Center Entrance,
20 North Main St., Providence

Join the CFR as the popular ”Art of Race” series continues. Each program uses works from the RISD Museum's collection to provoke discussions about America's history and legacy of America's most deeply held racial ideologies. Each program is hosted and facilitated by a combination of art historians from the RISD Museum and public historians from the CFR who specialize in America's history of slavery and race relations. Particpants will have time to get up close and personal with each work of art before the dialogue begins.

March's program will feature works from the Prints, Drawings and Photographs Department. Registration is required and spaces are limited. This series frequently sells out, so register early. CLICK HERE

Another Art of Race program will be held Thursday, April 19 in collaboration with the Costumes and Textiles Department. To register, CLICK HERE

Interpreting Slavery and Freedom in New England Workshop
March 26-27
Cathedral of St. John
271 North Main Street
On March 26-27, the CFR will host a two-day workshop, "Interpreting Slavery and Freedom in New England." The workshop is designed primarily for museum or historic site staff, docents, and volunteers, along with tour guides, educators or others who design or lead the public in programs on New England history. Participants will explore the history of African and Indigenous/Native American peoples in New England; discuss the history and usage of America's most important and problematic race-related terms and how to use them appropriately in programs and exhibit labels; understand how to distinguish between different forms of forced labor; learn about the development of racial ideologies in America and how that impacts the work of front-line interpreters and museums; gain or refine race dialogue strategies with colleagues from around New England, and much more. Opportunities to participate in free tours of Providence's history of slavery and freedom will be included.

For more information and to register, CLICK HERE .

The CFR has a new home! Our office is now located in the office wing of St. John's Cathedral, joining our partners Church Beyond the Walls and Rhode island for Community and Justice.

We'd love to have you come by to visit, but by appointment only, please. Contact info@cfrri.org
CFR Tour Guide Training Planned
Interested in becoming a Center for Reconciliation tour guide?

Our walking tours are one of our most popular offerings. The word has spread! We now receive requests from individuals and groups from across Rhode Island along with groups coming from Massachusetts, Connecticut and more recently Ohio. Will you help us lead them? In March we will be hosting an interpretation workshop that will cover the broader history of New England along with interpretation strategies that will help bring more nuance and sensitivity to public programs. Then in April, the CFR will be hosting an all-day workshop to train new and experienced interpreters on how to lead and facilitate discussions on race and slavery for CFR walking tours. If you are interested in becoming a walking tour guide for the CFR, contact Elon@cfrri.org for more details.
CFR Racial Justice Events Calendar
The CFR maintains a Racial Justice Events Calendar, showing events around the state that connect with our mission of racial reconciliation. The calendar is updated monthly. To see the calendar, visit our website

Racial Reconciliation Work Around Rhode Island
Zabriske Memorial Church of St. John the Evangelist, Newport
On February 25, the Zabriske Memorial Church of St. John the Evangelist in Newport held a Choral Evensong and Solemn Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament, in commemoration of Absalom Jones and Peter Quire. Born into slavery in 1746, freed in 1784, Absalom Jones in 1802 became the first African-American to be ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church. He was a tireless opponent of slavery and minister to the black community until his death in 1818.

St. John's first began meeting in the home of Peter and Harriet Quire in 1875. Quire had worked with Quakers in Philadelphia on the Underground Railroad prior to moving to the Point neighborhood of Newport, an area first settled by Quakers in the Colonial era.

In recognition of its history, the Black Entreprenuer Bannister Fund of the RI Foundation recently awarded the Choir School of Newport County, based at St. John's, a grant to recruit low-income children.

St. Martin's, Providence
On the evening of February 25, a group of young people came to St. Martin’s Church to discuss the fundamentals of power imbalance. The discussion was led by Pegah Rahmanian, Executive Director, and Court King, Program Director of Youth In Action. In addition to activities, the group engaged in a frank conversation regarding current social issues. The youth participated at a level that demonstrated they had not only been curious about these issues, but were actively unpacking them. This unpacking colored their experiences in different settings including educational, family and other relationships.

Young people, church members and friends alike, from grades 8 through grade 12 are encouraged to come to St. Martin’s Church, 50 Orchard Avenue, Providence, on Sunday, April 29, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm, for another discussion that allows youth the freedom to tackle these difficult topics, in a space that values the input and growth that comes from each youth's sharing individual experiences.   Delicious food will be provided. 

Youth In Action is a place where youth share their stories, practice leadership and create change in their communities. Check them out on Facebook (Youth In Action) or at  www.youthinactionri.org .

Do you know of other events addressing racial reconciliation sponsored by churches in Rhode Island? Please let us know at info@cfrii.org so we can include them in upcoming newsletters.
CFR Faith Community Liaisons
Would you like to become a CFR Faith Community Liaison for your faith community? As a CFR Liaison, we will ask the following of you:
  • Be the primary conduit of information between the CFR and your faith community.
  • Based on promotional materials about CFR events and programs that we send to you about once a month, we ask that you post flyers, and generally alert interested community members about CFR programs, in whatever way is most appropriate for you and your community.
  • Inform us of any concerns or questions your community may have about CFR programs or events. Let us know how the CFR can best serve your community.
  • Consider attending a CFR training about how to engage successfully in conversations that advance racial reconciliation. Our next training, specifically for CFR Faith Community Liaisons, is on Tuesday, March 13 from 4-6 p.m.
  • Let us know if you want to book any CFR programs for your community, or if you want the CFR to collaborate with your house of worship, a library, or another group or institution in your community.  
  • Ask us how to find resources for individuals who want to advance the cause of racial reconciliation.

Questions or ideas? Please contact Pam McDonald, pmcdonald772@gmail.com
Further Resources
T he Blurring of Racial Lines Won't Save America. Why "Racial Fluidity" Won't Save America.. Story by John Blake, CNN. Video by Tawanda Scott Sambou , CNN. To read, CLICK HERE .
Episcopalians Confront Hard Truths About Episcopal Church's Role in Slavery, Black History . The goal: Becoming "Beloved Community" now and in the future. To read, CLICK HERE .
High School Students Know Little of Slavery, Civil War, Study Finds. From The Providence Journal . To read, CLICK HERE .
Required Reading for White America. The Boston Globe asked some African-American writers and academics this question: If you could assign a book for all white Americans to read, what would it be? Here are their answers. To read, CLICK HERE .
Rarely Heard Worcester Speech Shows Another Side of MLK. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at Temple Emmanuel in Worcester in 1961. Tapes of the speech have recently been posted online. To listen, CLICK HERE .
Too Good to Be True? Myths in American History. Stitcher Podcast. Brian, Joanne, and Nathan explore some of the stories Americans tell about our past and find the kernels of truth that lie at the heart of a few American legends.    To listen, CLICK HERE .
Please support our work by making a donation to the Center for Reconciliation. Donate online HERE