What’s the difference between Diversity and Integration, and what does our community mean by those terms here in SOMA, in the region and across the country- given the changing demographics everywhere? These and related issues will be discussed at the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race’s annual Conversations on Race. It all started eighteen years ago, when the Community Coalition on Race launched Conversations on Race based on its fundamental belief that candid conversation is essential 1) for confronting stereotypes, 2) for forging authentic relationships and 3) for generating the collective problem solving needed to dismantle racism here and across the nation. This event has since become a Community Coalition signature annual event noted for attracting people of all races to discuss difficult race-related topics in a safe environment. The event uses a format of first framing the topic for the evening using either guest speaker, a statement, a film or other resource. Next, attendees gather in small groups assisted by a trained facilitator and a set of suggested questions at each table to discuss the topic. Finally, each group shares major insights and suggestions. Recent topics have included Race & Privilege, Facing Everyday Racism and micro-aggression. For a listing of past topics, visit www.twotowns.org and enter conversations on race in the search box. This year, the organization will experiment with a unique approach to grouping attendees in an effort to help surface differences in perspective between racial groups and deepen the conversation. Everyone from mature-minded middle school students to retirees is welcome to this free event, and we especially encourage new voices to the community or new to the topic to join us. Curious? Come out to be part of the conversation. Although not required, pre-registration is strongly advised to ensure adequate seating and to expedite groupings. To register and for more information about South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race, visit www.twotowns.org or call 973-761-6116.
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