~~ May 2023 Newsletter ~~

A Message From Our CEO

School of Thought 

and Thoughts About School

Recently, my vacationing-recently-retired Co-CEO sent me this article from The Christian Century that is causing a ruckus - Antiracism’s Mission Drift: Privileged progressives have turned their attention from structures and systems to sentimentalism. It describes grassroots racial reform as being a diversion to systemic repair. In short, our attention should be on systems and not individuals. Two thoughts struck me when reading Jonathan Tran’s piece - (1) People are weary of the figure-pointing and guilt-mongering associated with our public dialogue on race (2) and Marsha has no idea how to vacation or retire. 

This was a hard read but since you asked, I agree with everything Tran says except for one crucial point – addressing our personal relationships with racism enables us to become a culture of antiracists which will inevitably impact our systems moving forward. Grassroots movements have power, and this current movement is not blinding anyone to the seriousness of systemic racism. 

Last week I attended a conference in Baltimore where young professionals are addressing racism from the bottom up, in their communities. Why? Because that is where the impact is being felt. They are saving their own lives and future lives now, AND they are kicking at the core of racist systems, speaking truth to power and challenging legislators to get with the program or get out of office, as witnessed recently in Tennessee. 

These generations coming out of college, high school and yes, grade school (!), are challenging their parents, spiritual leaders, employers and existing systems by either choosing to stay and fight for change OR electing to leave and start something new. (They can do this because they use THEIR phones to link to the world and the future while OUR phones are for group chats and Wordle!)

Fighting our way out (or even figuring out) racism is difficult and as this author implies, it's not a one-size-fits-all deal. Neither is our education system. Systems are a set of rules to form or inform a unified whole. Our education system makes it possible to provide the service of education which is the role of the teacher. This is the up close and personal work of fielding questions and making room for answers in real time. This 3rd Tuesday topic addresses system and source - Teaching in the Era of Book Banning.  Please join us as we examine the system and see ourselves as the source for evolutionary change.

Danita Rountree Green



Dinner & Conversation


Summer Reading BOOK SALE

May 16th

5:30 - 8:30 pm ET

(Note earlier start time for Book Sale - details below)

Ginter Park Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall

3601 Seminary Avenue Richmond, VA 23227

Teaching in the Era of

Book Banning


Join us for our 3rd Tuesday Dinner Gathering in observance of Teacher Appreciation Month.

Special Guest Speaker: Charlotte Davenport, Retired Librarian, Educator and Rescuer of Banned Books

 All teachers, librarians, administrators, and parents are invited to join our Coming Together Virginia family as we observe Teacher Appreciation Month. This dinner discussion is devoted to YOU!  

Our May 16th 3rd Tuesday Dinner Gathering topic will explore the recent conversation on banning books in our schools. Join us for an open facilitated discussion on educating our children in a rapidly changing world.

How are teachers faring in the classroom under the political and social debate concerning controversial books in school libraries? Do some titles need to be removed? Are schools making materials available that are not appropriate for some students or are we limiting choices due to public opinion?

More importantly, what do parents and the public need to know about making our classrooms more supportive for students and teachers? This will be a great evening of sharing, revisiting our favorite books and discovering new titles that make us think.


RESOURCES on Book Banning

The March Forward!

"Don’t Fall Back"

Monthly Giving Campaign

GOAL - 100 New Monthly Givers in 100 Days!

Justice takes Allies! Please help us move into a new season with a statewide reach, spreading the work of racial healing and a new vision of hope.


Become a CT-VA monthly giver. Select a giving level that works for you!

$10 per month Facilitating the Future Gift supports our facilitator team as they hold brave and safe space for transformational conversations.

$20 per month Truth-Telling Gift supports technology for virtual and in-person programs featuring dynamic speakers, trips and pilgrimages.

$30 per month Crossing Borders Gift supports bringing people together from different backgrounds to share ideas that can impact communities.

This is where the magic happens!

$40 per month 40 Acres and a Mule Reparational Gift supports community advocacy, revitalizing neighborhoods, and the redistribution of resources.

$50 per month Faith in Action Gift supports our Becoming Community Series in houses of worship, expanding their vision of inclusion and love.





(4th Monday of the month)

via Zoom

Monday, May 22nd 

6:30 - 8:00 pm ET

Citizen Ashe is a thoughtful documentary about Arthur Ashe, the first African American man to win Wimbledon in 1975, understands that representation is only one step toward equality. Born in Richmond, VA and raised in segregation, Ashe infiltrated the “lily white institute of top-tier tennis” just as the civil rights movement was gaining momentum. Yet for years he kept his head down and felt guilty for it. The film charts his fraught political awakening, from protesting against apartheid to becoming an AIDS activist before his death from the disease in 1993.

Ashe clearly opened the door for black athletes like Venus and Serena Williams and also inspired their activism, as well as that of athletes in other sports. The video footage and interviews allow this story to be told, and it leaves us with the message that Ashe never forgot his race...the human race.

Watch the movie in the comfort of your home. Then gather with us for fellowship and conversation on Zoom on the 4th Monday of the month at 6:30 pm ET. We look forward to being with you on May 22nd.

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

Heather McGhee's book focuses on the point that racism is harmful to everyone, and thus we all have an interest in fighting it. Drawing on a wealth of economic data, she argues that when laws and practices have discriminated against African Americans, European Americans have also been harmed. When people unite across racial and ethnic lines, she argues, there's a solidarity dividend that helps everyone.

In March, 2021 The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together debuted at #3 on the New York Times best seller list (for non-fiction). She persuasively argues that white Americans have been steeped in the notion of “zero sum” — that any gains by another group must come at white people’s expense. 

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, May 18th

6:00 - 8:30 pm ET

Paul Jennings was born into slavery on the plantation of James and Dolley Madison in Virginia, later becoming part of the Madison household staff at the White House. Once finally emancipated by Senator Daniel Webster later in life, he would give an aged and impoverished Dolley Madison, his former owner, money from his own pocket, write the first White House memoir, and see his sons fight with the Union Army in the Civil War.

Paul Jennings died a free man at the age of 75. Based on correspondence, legal documents, and journal entries rarely seen before, this amazing portrait of the times reveals the characteristics and attitudes toward slavery of the nineteenth century, and sheds new light on famous characters such as James Madison, who believed the white and black populations could not coexist as equals.

This will be an in-person potluck dinner gathering. Please e-mail Cheryl Goode for the location and other information.

CT-VA To Offer

Facilitator Training!

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 prepares you to fulfill this role competently. It includes two 4-hour weekend training sessions during the program year, plus Facilitator Circle Trainings the second Thursday of each program month. If you desire, you can advance to the second year of training and become a CT-VA certified facilitator. 

If you are interested, please email Dr. Bonnie Dowdy, the Coordinator of Facilitation and Training. If there is sufficient interest, we will hold a 30-minute introduction to the facilitation program following our June 19th 3rd Tuesday Gathering (8:35-9:05 pm); we will share how you can get a head start over the summer. 

Coming to the Table

National Gathering

Returns In-Person

Join our larger national community of Coming to the Table for several days of learning together and connecting around racial justice & healing!

Oakland, California

June 15-18, 2023

In keeping with the intention to hold National Gatherings in different locations around the country, for the first time we will gather on the West Coast, in Oakland, California, the home of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY)This is an exciting time of expansion and collaboration across the country for CTTT and we look forward to being together again at the Table in person.

This year's theme is based on the OAK in Oakland: Strengthening Our Ancestral Kinship, and the kinship between the OAK in Oakland and the strong, ancestral tree in the CTTT logo. In coming together, reparations, truth-telling, genealogy and linked descendants, mindfulness and healing will be explored while also engaging in skill building activities related to courageous conversations and actions to dismantle systemic racism.

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.

Learn More & REGISTER


(RVA): Local Event

(NAT): CTTT - National Event

Tuesday, March 16

5:30-8:30 pm ET

3rd Tuesday Gathering

Teaching in the Era of Book Banning


Dinner & Conversation

Details in left column.

Contact Hayat 



Thursday, May 18

6:00 - 8:30 pm ET

Education for Action

Book Circle

In Person

Contact Cheryl to be added to mailing list.


Sunday, May 21

3:00-4:00 pm ET

CTTT Guided Meditation

via ZOOM

Contact Hayat 

w/questions after checking out the info below.


Monday, May 22

6:30 - 8:00 pm ET

Movie Circle

via ZOOM

Contact Robin to be added to mailing list.


Thursday, May 25

6:30 - 8:00 pm ET

Reading for Change

Book Circle

via ZOOM

Contact Doug to be added to mailing list.



Summer Reading Fundraiser

Book Sale

Donate Books: HELP get books off of your shelves and into the hands of readers--books that will educate & re-educate adults & children on race in America.  

Bring your books to the 3rd Tuesday Dinner & Conversation on 5/16 between 5 & 5:30 pm. You can also call Pam at our CT-VA office at 804.442.3635 and arrange to drop them off on Friday, 5/12 9 am to 2 pm at Ginter Park Presbyterian Church 3601 Seminary Avenue.


For this 3rd Tuesday Dinner and Conversation, Bring a Friend or Bring a Teacher in honor of May's Teacher Appreciation Month. People who care about building a thriving, equitable and just community are people like you!

See details at left.  


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 go to the next level!


Our Wish List:

Dedicated Volunteers to fill these “Changemaker Roles”

Constant Contact Support

 Create events in Constant Contact - Training provided

Post-Event Organizing/Filing

Help us keep 3rd Tues. paperwork tidy

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

Photographer and/or Videographer

Document our programs & special events as you're available

Racism At Work


Working group members and co-conveners

Reparations Circle

Members; potential co-conveners


And we would love to have additional members of our Hospitality & Food Teams!

Contact us to express interest or learn more!




Guided Meditation


May 21st  

3:00 - 4:00 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.  The call will be facilitated by Angela Dickey.

Click here to access previously recorded CTTT Guided Meditations. There are more than two dozen recordings for you to utilize in your personal practice.

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.

~ Action Update ~

Things happen quickly and we want to keep you informed. 

The "ACTION UPDATE" will be a monthly feature of our newsletter. 

Black History Museum Partners with the Richmond Symphony

Big Tent

Abner Clay Park

The Big Tent event is the culmination of a partnership between the Children’s Book & Music Festival hosted at the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia (BHMVA) and presented by Dominion Energy, and YOUR Richmond Symphony! The concert begins at 7pm and will end at approximately 8:30 pm. This FREE outdoor concert features the music of Florence Price, Joseph Bologne, and Virginia native, Adolphus Hailstork. BHMVA will also have special museum hours with family activities leading up to concert time.

Join BHMVA and the Richmond Symphony on Saturday, May 27!

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour - Frederick Douglass

DECEMBER 10, 2022 – JULY 9, 2023

Evans Court Gallery of VMFA

Lessons of the Hour—Frederick Douglass is an immersive and poetic meditation on the great 19th-century abolitionist. The 10-screen film installation collapses time and space to bridge persistent historical and contemporary challenges of the day. In this profoundly resonating art experience of arresting visuals and sound, internationally renowned London-born artist and filmmaker Sir Isaac Julien brings the historical figure to clear focus for the next generation.

Thank you for your continued support of

Coming Together Virginia.

Please consider making a donation.

Join our National Parent Organization!

Take the next step!


Become a member of

Coming to the Table!

Jonathan Davis, Marketing and Communications Manager

Coming Together Virginia
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