~~ July 2023 Newsletter ~~

A Message From Our CEO

Affirming A Future

For All 

“We are tired of playing favorites.” “Equality feels like oppression.”

“Cultural inclusion is reverse discrimination” “Enough is enough!”

This week left me scratching my head. How can an affirmative action meet a negative outcome?

So what Is Affirmative Action?

In a higher education context, affirmative action – which stemmed from the civil rights movement in the 1960s – is the practice of considering student background characteristics such as race as a factor in deciding whether to admit an applicant. It is a policy aimed at increasing workplace and educational opportunities for people who are underrepresented in various areas of our society. It focuses on demographics with historically low representation in leadership and professional roles.

(Taken from (US News.com)

So what are we really affirming?

I like to think that as a nation, we can affirm that everyone, regardless of creed or color, can benefit from all the rights and privileges that come with citizenship. I hope we can affirm (that is, say yes to) the importance of repairing past harms knowing that when we do, we create a better future for all. I pray everyday as I suit up to do this work, that I am a credit to other Black people, women, other minorities and every American. I also hope the cultural capital I bring to the table (knowledge hidden in plain sight) has added to the greater American culture and made us all smarter, happier and, yes, richer in the things that truly matter.

So much of what we learn and grow to appreciate about each other has nothing to do with the curriculum or the meeting agenda. School and work may shape us but it's the relationships we build that make us who we are. At the table, we break bread and learn together. We have bold conversations on historic and trending topics, and we are honest when sharing our thoughts and listening to learn. Coming Together Virginia says YES! and affirms that we are better together. The affirmation of transformation is within our reach, if we are simply willing to say yes.

Incidentally, our staff is taking a break from programs this summer. Meanwhile, check these links for great activities to say YES to! https://travellersworldwide.com/things-to-do-in-virginia/

Learn About Virginia's Black History

See you in September,




Dinner & Conversation


Have A Fantastic Summer!



Here's an ACTION we can all AFFIRM! Donating money to Coming Together Virginia (formerly Coming To the Table-RVA). Since we changed our name and expanded our vision, we are working harder than ever to bring people together across racial, generational and economic divides FOR GOOD. The months ahead are crucial as we address racism where it hurts the most - our families, schools and places of worship. Your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate $5 or $500. Thank you in advance for your support.

Attend a facilitated dinner discussion, book or movie circle event, or join us this summer for a walk or historic tour. https://www.comingtogethervirginia.org/



(4th Monday of the month)

via Zoom

Monday, July 24th 

6:30 - 8:00 pm ET

Concussion stars Will Smith as the real-life Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian forensic pathologist who conducts the autopsy of a former NFL star and discovers chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the result of repetitive head injuries from years of playing football. Omalu, offering a strong example of integrity and perseverance, goes up against the powerful NFL, which is unwilling to admit the game can be deadly. This David-vs.-Goliath story has plenty of intense football scenes that often leave players dazed or unconscious. He had evidence that, helmets or no helmets, the game is giving its players brain damage. 

Robin Allman & Barbara Brown

Movie Circle Co-Conveners


Reading For Change


(4th Thursday of the month)

Via Zoom

Thursday, May 25th

6:30 - 8:00 pm ET

Life On The Color Line is the true story of a white boy who discovered he was black. Published in 1995, it is an autobiographical account of the childhood and adolescence of American lawyer and educator Gregory Howard Williams. An exceptional achiever throughout his life, Williams devoted 10 years to penning this memoir that centers around his being raised to believe he’s white, only to be told as a 10-year-old boy that he’s of African American descent.

Please join in the discussion of this book, even if you have not had time to finish it or read it.

Doug Steele

RFC Book Circle Convener


Education For Action


(3rd Thursdays)

In-Person Potluck Dinner & Conversation

Thursday, July 20th

6:00 - 8:30 pm ET

[I am so sorry we had to postpone June, but we are re-grouping this month with a discussion of James Madison and slavery]

Education for Action Book Circle will be meeting in person on Thursday, July 20, 2023, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. We will enjoy a potluck dinner while reviewing some articles together and discussing President James Madison’s views on slavery. Madison opposed slavery even as he simultaneously was paternalist, anti-black, and owned enslaved people. We would love for you to join us for this discussion.

Please e-mail Cheryl Goode for this month’s in-person potluck dinner location and any further details.

CT-VA Recruiting

New Facilitators!

We are looking for people interested in becoming CT-VA facilitators and participating in our training program. CT-VA has a structured training program that includes two 4-hour weekend training sessions during the program year and additional Facilitators Circle Trainings during certain months. If desired you can become a CT-VA certified facilitator. If you are interested or for more information, please email Dr. Bonnie Dowdy, the Coordinator of Facilitation and Training. 


(RVA): Local Event

(NAT): CTTT - National Event

Sunday, July 16

4:00-5:00 pm ET

CTTT Guided Meditation

via ZOOM

Contact CT-VA's own Hayat  

if you have questions. She is this month's facilitator.


Thursday, July 20

6:00 - 8:30 pm ET

Education for Action

Book Circle

In Person

Contact Cheryl to be added to mailing list.


Monday, July 24

6:30 - 8:00 pm ET

Movie Circle

via ZOOM

Contact Robin to be added to mailing list.


Thursday, July 27

6:30 - 8:00 pm ET

Reading for Change

Book Circle

via ZOOM

Contact Doug to be added to mailing list.



Work To

Be Done

Evergreen Cemetery is a historic African-American cemetery in the East End of Richmond, Virginia. Notable African-American Richmonders including Maggie L. Walker, John Mitchell, Jr., A.D.Price, and Rev.J.Andrew Bowler are buried there.

Volunteers are asked to work at the cemetery on July 16 and July 23, clearing brush and cleaning graves, some of which are over a hundred years old.

Much of the cemetery is completely overgrown. The original organization responsible for the cemetery, the Evergreen Cemetery Association, made no allowances for perpetual care in its charter.

 Facebook Sign Up




Guided Meditation


July 16th  

4:00 - 5:00 pm ET

On Zoom

Coming to the Table (our national parent organization) offers regularly scheduled Zoom meetings focused on guided meditation as a tool for healing wounds related to race. This session is for anyone who is interested in learning to meditate or is already practicing meditation.  This month's call will be facilitated by Coming Together Virginia's own Hayat Bain.

Click here

to RSVP & register.

Our Mission

To Open Hearts

and Minds

through shared learning and bold


To Connect People

across the racial divide

To Teach Dialogue Processes

for healing conversations on difficult racial experiences

To Promote Action

to dismantle the

legacy of enslavement

To Call Forth Just and Equitable Communities

in Virginia and beyond


is of a racially healed world of thriving, equitable

and just communities.

Thank you for your continued support of

Coming Together Virginia.



Needs YOU!

We are experiencing lots of growth and change and there are some dynamic programs and circles that are in need of volunteers!

Help us help

the world!


Our Wish List:

Dedicated Volunteers to fill these “Changemaker Roles”

Constant Contact Support

 Create events in Constant Contact - Training provided

Archivist  Testimonials, quotes and good news


Event Database Collecting  

Survey/ evaluation coordinator


Photo Gallery Archivist 

CT-VA has photos to be sorted and tagged/labeled by content

Photographers and/or Videographers

Document our programs & special events as you're available

Racism At Work


Working group members and co-conveners

Reparations Circle

Members; potential co-conveners

Hospitality & Food Teams!

We would love to have additional members to assist with events

Contact us to express interest or learn more!

Human Rights Watch


Racial discrimination is a serious human rights problem in the United States that intersects with all of the US domestic issues covered by Human Rights Watch—from over-incarceration of Black and Latinx people fueled by the disproportionately harsh sentences meted out for all categories of crime, including violent offenses, to the failed War on Drugs, to prosecution and bail policies that coerce people into guilty pleas, to surveillance of specific groups...

Read More
Join our National Parent Organization!

Take the next step!


Become a member of

Coming to the Table!

Jonathan Davis, Marketing and Communications Manager

Hayat Bain, Coordinator of Communications & Partnerships

Coming Together Virginia
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