Do You Hear What I Hear?

Coming to the Table-NYC group meeting at my home in Lower Manhattan, dining on Soul-Caribbean food.
Coming to the Table-NYC group meeting at my home in Lower Manhattan, dining on Soul-Caribbean food.

That old Christmas carol always spoke to me, especially the Whitney Houston version. It could be that the world is going to hell. But maybe we will all be redeemed. I sure hope so. I participated in a silent vigil with Quaker Friends at the recent Millions March NYC. While I don’t have exact numbers, I know I saw a lot of old-school folks from many different ethnic backgrounds participating in the march too. I was there for a little while and walked with the crowd for few blocks. I am a seasoned New Yorker accustomed to walking many long city blocks. But big crowds overwhelm me. So, I did not stay long. Personally, I let the youngsters do the lying in the streets and all-night demonstrations.

We were mobilized to protest racist police brutality and unjust Grand Jury practices. Like many of you, I have been trying to exhale for months. The racial divide that we thought was closing was shown to be a widening gap. Yet, we see good will emerging everywhere. I really do hope many more of us will pray and work actively toward racial healing and reconciliation in our nation and the world. Can we really afford to stand idly by?

As co-leader for Coming to the Table – NYC (CTTT), I would like to invite you to learn more about our group. We focus on healing dialogue and ‘deep listening’ sessions. We “provide 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,” as stated on the website.

We discuss racism in relation to topics such as power, privilege, institutional power, prejudice, stereotype, oppression, racism and how to be an ally. We attend films, museum exhibits, theater performances and university lectures. Sometimes we gather at each others homes, local libraries and cafes. We eat, talk, and listen. CTTT is a different kind of meet-up. It is deep, intense and fun engagement. We are all volunteers.

I became involved with CTTT while researching my ancestor’s lynching in Mississippi. I always knew about this family secret but never learned any specifics. Finally, I read the horrific details published in archival newspaper articles. I needed to talk to someone. Reading about my uncle’s lynching traumatized me although I did not know him. A cousin introduced me to CTTT a few years ago. Since then, I have felt so grateful for new friendships and expanded American history knowledge. I was paired with a Southern white woman who discovered that her ancestor, a revered judge-minister, had lynched and caused the death of several formerly enslaved persons. Through our new friendship I learned that we both were wounded by slavery. Together, we are on a healing journey. We are both active in our respective communities to help heal our nation’s racial wounds. We believe in action and the power of dialogue, listening and eating together. Check CTTT’s Face book page by clicking here.

As I close out this year, I am reminded of many blessings including feeling thankful for freedom. For the New Year, I wish everyone a joyous year full of tenderness, mercy, justice and most of all, peace.