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Introducing Coming to the Table

By Blog Master
Posted: 03/22/2022

Notes by Sharon Jarrett

Allison introduced the group to Coming to the Table which is a national organization that works through local chapters to bring people together to discuss racial history, equality and connectedness.

Both Wilson and Allison are members of the Steering Committee. CTTT is a foundation committed to the goals of Truth, Justice and Healing. The organization's website is

Nationally, the organization's vision is to foster a just, truthful society which acknowledges and seeks to heal from the racial wounds of the past; wounds from slavery and the many forms of racism it created over time. The mission of the organization is to provide leadership, resources, and supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge these wounds.

The processes employed in fulfilling the mission include: uncovering history, making connections, healing, taking action to dismantle systems of racial inequality, injustice and oppression for the transformation of the nation.

At the local level, groups align with the national organization to provide supportive environments for those who wish to acknowledge and heal from the wounds of racism rooted in slavery. The local chapter meets the third Saturday of the month from 3 to 5 by Zoom.

If you are interested in more information, registration, or on information on local CTTT, contact Allison directly at

Wilson Bell then described the Circle Process which forms the basis of the work. The process is rooted in the talking circles of indigenous people of North America. The purpose of the Circle Process is to foster connections and give everyone a voice.

CTTT functions using Touchstones which include: 

  Mutually agreed upon principles which guide how participants treat one another with dignity to foster deep dialog.

  Aim to make people be safe and to speak openly and honestly.

  Be 100% present, listen deeply and "Try it On".

  Additional principles include: no fixing, identify assumptions, suspend judgements, speak your truth using I statements, be aware of and allow for differences between intention and impact, acknowledge uncomfortable responses, let others know when something causes pain, respect silence,, maintain confidentiality, respect differences, when things are difficult turn to wonder, both/and rather than either/or

and expect non closure.

A participant noted that the ground rules in therapy are similar.

Wilson also noted that this is work which requires practice and commitment. Issues that emerge are to be discussed deeply and participants cannot be concerned about making mistakes.

Allison and Wilson then shared their individual histories. Allison is the descendant of enslavers from Virginia. The family never discussed this family history and she discovered it in researching the family. She found the family history painful and needed help to understand her history. Wilson was invited to a luncheon about CTTT and entered after engaging with others he met.

The book "Gather at the Table: A Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade"

was suggested as a resource for understanding the process described earlier. The authors of the book are Thomas De Wolf and Sharon Morgan.

Wilson then briefly discussed the importance of vocabulary to the CTTT process reminding the participants of the core of the program: hear one another, speak from the heart and practice.

Questions and answers followed. Allison and Wilson were thanked for an insightful and thought provoking presentation. A recording of this presentation Introducing CTTT is available here and on our Presentation Recordings, where recordings of previous presentation can also be viewed. The next meeting will be on April 1st at 10:00AM PST

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