Quakers to host slavery talk

15th Street Friends (Quaker) Meeting House, NYC

The local Quaker Peace Committee will host our next Coming to the Table (CTTT) meeting on Saturday, June 6 at their Friends House in Union Square area. As the Co-Leader with Julie Finch of CTTT NYC-Metro, I am pleased to extend an invitation to newcomers to learn more about our mission.

Background: “Coming to the Table provides leadership, resources and supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge and heal wounds from racism that is rooted in the United States and Transatlantic Trade’s history of slavery.”

What: CTTT-NYC Brown Bag lunch talk on Slavery, Racism, Genealogy

When: Saturday, June 6, 11:30am-3:30 pm.

Where: 15th Street Friends (Quaker) Meeting House, Room 3. 15 Rutherford Place, New York, NY 10003 (Union Square area) between 15th & 16th streets,Third & Second Avenues.


(Note: This is a two-part meet-up. The first hour+, we will welcome newcomers and long-time CTTT members. Then later we re-assemble to share stories using the Coming to the Table ‘Circle Process’ and ‘Touchstones’ principles for a ‘deep dialogue’ session. Please read about our Coming to the Table approach to meetings. Check the website, click on Resources and Guides.)

11:30am-12:45pm – (public) Welcome & CTTT overview, Q & A, local CTTT member introductions, ‘meet & greet,’ and enjoy a ‘brown bag’ lunch. Beverage and light snacks will be available.

We are reaching out to the NYC-Metro community to offer CTTT resources on healing racism. We hope to recruit a volunteer committee to help us build relationships with like-minded people to book guest speakers, coordinate outings to film, galleries, museum, libraries, lead local historic street tours, host book discussions and more.

1pm-3:30pm– This second part of the gathering will be conducted using “Circle Process” and “Touchstone” principles. We will engage on the primary mission: “Personal stories about the nature of our fraught connections to slavery and racism in this country.” This closed session is intended to contribute to healing.

If you are actively engaged in family research, genealogy; can share personal experiences with racial traumas; and are engaged in CTTT mission in concrete ways, we invite you to stay for this session.

Once we have settled on who will stay, we will take a small break (5-10 minutes). We will re-assemble into a circle to begin the “Circle Process.” The two co-leaders (me and Julie) will begin the process. Then, each person will take a turn for 5-8 minutes (depending on how many people are there) to share a personal story related to the “aftermath, traumas of slavery.” You may also share why you are interested or how you became involved with CTTT.

view from steps of Quaker House
view from steps of Quaker House

What to bring: We will use a ‘talking stick’ or ‘talking stones,’ as developed by Native American traditions for serious, deep talks. If possible, participants are encouraged to bring family documents, photos, news clips and other items to ‘show and tell’ about their family story, research journey, and personal experience related to the “aftermath, trauma of slavery.’

I may bring a news clip about my uncle’s lynching in Mississippi. In the past, participants shared documents of slave ownership in their own families. Others have shared a wide range of topics from Great Migration photos, Census papers, stories about domestic workers, sharecroppers, survivors of police harassment and brutality, workplace, housing racism, experience with White and light-skinned privilege, to samples of traditional food from slavery times.

We offer genealogy help, such as tips for finding slavery records in your family or community documents, and guidance on what to do with such documents. Because of the serious nature of our topics, we must respect people’s trust issues and our concern for providing a ‘safe place’ for our talks. Therefore, we cannot allow ‘observers’ or ‘listeners.’ We want to protect our participants from ‘spies’ who just want to hear private, family, traumatic, personal racism stories. These gatherings can become very emotional and are intended to help people.

Our long-time CTTT group is an eclectic mix of clergy, social workers, teachers, journalists, photographers, bakers, actors, descendants of Thomas Jefferson, and more. Photos are allowed at the beginning and end of our sessions. We look forward to meeting you. Please RSVP to Julie at: parkerhead@earthlink.net or call 917-613-3788.