arts, books and music

‘Welcome Table’ seeking volunteers for Mid-City based racial reconciliation project

Welcome Table New Orleans, an initiative of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s that focuses on racial reconciliation in the Crescent City, is looking for volunteers for a new art and community engagement project.

Called the “Reconciliation Through Art Project,” this year’s session will involve a series of six dialogue sessions that will focus on issues of race and reconciliation. The discussions will then inform the making of a mural in Lafitte, according to project leaders, for the benefit of the neighborhood.

Welcome Table first began in 2014 after residents from across the city began meeting in eight New Orleans circles: Algiers, Carrollton, Central City, Mid-City, New Orleans East, St. Roch, Mother’s Circle and the Business and Civic Leader’s Circle.

Through discussion, residents then began a process of “relationship building, tackling the issue of race and creating reconciliation project,” according to the organization.

Landrieu announced this year’s series of projects in March, which came about as a result of partnership with The William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, the Urban League of Greater New Orleans and a $1.2 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“We can no longer continue to kick the can down the road when it comes to tough issues like race in New Orleans and America,” Landrieu said in a release then“Race is a topic that you can’t go over, or under or around – you have to go through it. With the Welcome Table New Orleans, we brought together diverse groups of residents from across the city to meet, share experiences and work collectively to improve neighborhoods and communities through constructive dialogue on race and healing. I believe that our city’s diversity is a strength, not a weakness and that the people of New Orleans are ready to look closely at the ways in which race and reconciliation can have a positive impact. I am truly inspired by what is being done by the people of New Orleans, taking the first step to building a future that looks much different than parts of our troubled past.”

This year, the Mid-City circle will engage in six dialogue sessions from 5:30- 8:00 p.m., at a neighborhood site that’s yet to be determined. Sessions will occur on Wednesday, September 7, 14, 21 and October 5, 12, and 19.

Dinner will be served each evening, and participants are asked to attend at least five of the six meetings. Currently, Welcome Table organizers are seeking one or two men over 40 and one or two teenagers to volunteer.

For more information, contact Welcome Table New Orleans.

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