Slavery, genealogy meetings

The 'circle process' is utilized for Coming to the Table's 'deep dialogues' about slavery, racism, and genealogy.
The ‘circle process’ is utilized for Coming to the Table’s ‘deep dialogues’ about slavery, racism, and genealogy.

Slavery, genealogy, race, family legacy, white privilege and healing will be among the central topics discussed at the Coming to the Table (CTTT)-New York City Metro Chapter meetings.

As co-leader with Julie Finch of the CTTT-NYC Metro Chapter, I am extending an invitation to my friends and readers of my blog to attend our upcoming meetings. The next meeting is set for Saturday, April 11, noon-4pm. We hope to recruit new CTTT members and hold public meetings every two months. Our meetings are free.

Gather together with like-minded folks interested in the Mission and Vision of Coming to the Table. Share stories, build friendships, and help us plan future meetings together. As is our tradition, we usually eat a small meal together in a gathering of multi-racial people.

Many in our group have done extensive research and can identify and document their family’s involvement with slavery—either as a descendant of former en-slavers, formerly enslaved persons or both categories. I am a descendant of both! Some of us are expert genealogists and can assist you with your family search. Some of our white members have already attended family reunions with their ‘new-found’ African American linked-ancestors! Our members include descendants of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, Pocahontas, American Revolution and Civil War veterans and more.

For deep sharing, please review Touchstones prior to the meeting. We use the Circle Process for at least part of our time together. So, please review our circle process that is based on Native American tradition, sometimes with a talking stick or stone, for deep dialogue.
Coming to the Table provides leadership, resources, and a supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge and heal wounds from racism that is rooted in the United States’ history of slavery, a major part of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

Our approach to achieving our vision and mission involves four interrelated practices: 1. Uncovering History: researching, acknowledging, and sharing personal, family and community histories of race with openness and honesty. 2. Making Connections: connecting to others within and across racial lines in order to develop and deepen relationships. 3. Working Toward Healing: exploring how we can heal together through dialogue, reunion, ritual, ceremony, the arts, apology and other methods. 4. Taking Action: actively seeking to heal the wounds of racial inequality and injustice and to support racial reconciliation between individuals, within families, and in communities.

To learn more, and to RSVP, click here!
We’ll send info about the location (in Manhattan) to those who RSVP. We look forward to a wonderful afternoon together.

For more information send Email:
Phone: 1-877-540-CTTT (2888)
Toward peace!

Her Say

Her Say: A series featuring Women of color having their say about aging and living with spirit, style, and grace. #isthatold?

June Lewis Miklau, 77, lifestyle model, tech geek
June Lewis Miklau, 77, lifestyle model, tech geek

“When I was in my young 50s or 60s, my priorities were still dictated by a need to succeed. I would forego fun and was locked into competing as a black woman in the corporate world. Not anymore! At age seventy, I was signed by a major agency as a lifestyle model, I started an image consulting business and I became a tech geek. At 77, my hair may be gray, my body may ache, and I may not remember where I left my pocketbook. But, I feel young and enjoy living, laughing and loving my family and friends every day. I am always learning. I publish funny books for my grandchildren and produce movies of my family reunions.” ~June Lewis Miklau, 77, Oceanside, Ca. Lifestyle model, tech geek.

Diane Day Crump Richmond, 70, Las Vegas dancer, school teacher
Diane Day Crump Richmond, 70, Las Vegas dancer, school teacher

“Embrace your journey at every age. Following your passion can be a hard road full of sacrifice and difficult choices. I know. I had a show business career. I also went to college and became a public school teacher after 50 years old. Dance is still my passion and I perform with the ‘Las Vegas Forever Young’ dance troupe. Our ages range from 58-80 years old! I lived through everything. I’ve been a star and on the chorus line on many stages around the world. I survived racial segregation and everything that goes with unfair treatment of women and people of color. But I feel like I’m on top. I’m still here while many from my era are long gone. A positive attitude is everything. With a great family, terrific husband, grandchildren and friends, I have no complaints! I feel privileged to be 70 and still kicking up my heels!” ~Diane Day Crump-Richmond, 70, Las Vegas dancer, school teacher.

Gail Gant, 65, Brooklyn Snowbird
Gail Gant, 65, Brooklyn Snowbird

“I believe aging is a beautiful thing when you prepare yourself to live abundantly, as God intended. Some body parts may break down, but if you keep your health in check, you can enjoy life and ignore “Arthur” when he comes around. Who’s Arthur? That the nickname for ‘Mr. Arthritis.’ I exercise and can wear a beach bikini with confidence. I live life on my own terms. I’ve been through everything–two marriages, widowhood, divorce, parenthood, death of my mother as a child and murder of my son at 18 years old. I survived many hardships. And I prevailed by God’s good grace. I have a solid education and I retired from an executive finance career. I have many blessings, talents and interests. My philosophy is simple: Do what makes you happy. I travel, dance, and hike. I winter in the Caribbean and visit family and friends as often as I can everywhere. There will come a time when I can’t do those things. So, for now, I do me. I’ve earned it.” ~Gail Gant, 65, Brooklyn snowbird.

Do you know a woman of color who should be featured in our ‘Her Say’ series? Let us know.

photo by Sylvia Wong Lewis, from ‘Flying Home’ series’ by artist Faith Ringgold’s glass mosaic panel series in the NYC subway station at 125th street.

Turks & Caicos memories

Turks & Caicos is where I go to unwind and un-plug. “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde

Spending time at the beach is my way of caring for myself. Here are photos from a recent trip to Turks & Caicos, a favorite getaway. Usually, my husband and I wake up early, have breakfast, and stroll along the shore. Later, we find a beach lounge chair and settle in. We live a very busy New York City life. So, this is one of our ways to relax. We breathe the sea air, lay in the sun, listen to the waves and gaze at the beautiful turquois Grace Bay. Sometimes we sit in the shade by the pool. We eat the local Caribbean Creole food and drink island beer. It’s a very simple life, if only for a few weeks.
We always visit our friend Amy, who lives there. I take a taxi to a nearby hotel and we meet-up for an outdoor yoga class. Afterwards, we pick up my husband and head back to her house where she cooks us lunch. Most days end by looking at the sunset while eating dinner.

My Sheroes

Angela Davis, feminist, professor, activist
Angela Davis, feminist, professor, activist

My Sheroes, by Carrie Stewart,
Guest writer (in honor of Women’s History Month)
My sheroes are all part of the Civil Rights movement. I was fortunate as a white person to have a family that encouraged me to be involved and support Civil Rights activities. The movement was my American Studies thesis topic as a Smith College grad in 1981. I have been re-inspired to activism about voting rights, police brutality and the call for white anti-racist engagement. I participate in many justice conferences and recently marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. Here is my list of sheroes whose work and lives have impacted me most.

Harriet Tubman statue in Harlem.
Harriet Tubman statue in Harlem.

1. Harriett Tubman – abolitionist, suffragist and activist who escaped slavery. She courageously conducted the Underground Railroad by returning to slave states to rescue other enslaved people. She saved lives by taking serous risks of being re-enslaved and brutally injured.
2. Ella Baker – was probably the most influential and unsung black woman of the civil rights era. Baker helped found the Mississippi Democratic Party as an alternative to the all-white Mississippi Democratic Party. Click here for more.
3. Amelia Boynton – was the first black woman to run for US Congress from Alabama. She led demonstrations for civil rights and voting rights in Selma. She was beaten unconscious on Bloody Sunday. It was her famous photo that became an emblem of the brutality of that day in Selma.
4. Barbara Jordan – was a woman of many firsts: the first black woman elected to the Texas Senate since Reconstruction; first Southern black woman elected to the US Congress, she served on the influential House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment of President Richard Nixon; first black woman to make the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention; and the first black woman to be buried in the Texas State Cemetery.
5. Marian Wright Edelman – founder and executive director of the Children’s Defense Fund, the largest and most consistent voice for disadvantaged children since 1973. She was also a powerful lawyer who worked for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and helped found Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964.
6. bell hooks – feminist professor, author and critic of the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Her insights into oppressive structures are key to understanding postmodern perspective.
7. Angela Davis – feminist and African American studies professor, and abolitionist of the prison-industrial complex. She was among the more radical and outspoken black women voices of the Civil Rights era.
8. Alice Walker – activist and a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning author of The Color Purple, a novel that became a Broadway production and Hollywood film.
9. Michelle Alexander – civil rights attorney, law professor and author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. This singular book alerted us all about today’s US racist caste system that has eroded constitutional protections for people of color by making them second-class citizens.
10. Opal Tometi – Black Alliance for Just Immigration executive director and one of the co-founders of #BlackLivesMatter. This young woman is helping to re-build the black liberation movement with a vision of radical inclusivity. She wants to leave no one behind.

Carrie Stewart
Carrie Stewart

(Carrie Stewart is the Owner/Principal of One World Consulting & Diversity Training.)

(photos by Sylvia Wong Lewis-Harriet Tubman statue in Harlem park by artist Alison Saar; Angela Davis photographed at Martin Luther King event at Brooklyn Academy of Music.)

Wise, wonderful women quotes

Monique Wells
Monique Y. Wells, entrepreneur, speaker, and author.

By Monique Y. Wells,
Guest Blogger (In honor of Women’s History Month 2015)

We women are wise and wonderful! As Dr. Glenda Newell-Harris said during a recent interview in my Huffington Post UK piece Successful Women Entrepreneurs Give Back series: “Who better to uplift us than ourselves?”

Here are ten quotes by wise and wonderful women that I find to be deeply inspiring. Enjoy!

1. “God puts rainbows in the clouds so that each of us — in the dreariest and most dreaded moments — can see a possibility of hope.” ~Maya Angelou

2. “Every day you are alive is a special occasion. Every minute, every breath, is a gift from God.” ~Mary Manin Morrissey

3. “Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.” ~Ruth Ann Schabacker

4. “For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” ~Lily Tomlin

5. “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” ~Oprah Winfrey

6. “It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis.” ~Margaret Bonnano

7. “Giving sends a message to the universe that we have all we need.” ~Arianna Huffington

8. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow’.” ~Mary Anne Radmacher

9. “Lift as you climb.” ~Sandra Yancey

10. “Grace is a blessing that can’t be earned, only received.” ~Michelle Wildgen

(Monique Y. Wells is an entrepreneur, productivity expert, author, speaker, and founder of Making Productivity Easy.


Twitter: @moniqueywells)