Tom DeWolf and Joddie Geddes, co-authors of "The Little Book of Racial Healing," speak at Eastern Mennonite University's Summer Peacebuilding Institute. They are members of Coming to the Table (CTTT), an organization that started with 20 people at EMU in 2006 and has grown to thousands in 12 states. (Photos by Macson McGuigan)

Geddes, DeWolf offer skills, strategies and an invitation into deep conversation with ‘Little Book of Racial Healing’

Co-authors Jodie Geddes MA ‘16 and Tom DeWolf launched The Little Book of Racial Healing (Skyhorse Publishing, 2018) during a webinar hosted by the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice in January 2019.

This summer, they appeared in person to speak about the book as featured presenters at the fourth Horizons of Change lunches, an annual event of the Summer Peacebuilding Institute.

Jodie Geddes MA ’16 is president of Coming To the Table’s board.

Both co-authors are with Coming to the Table, a nonprofit organization affiliated with EMU that provides “leadership, resources and a supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge and heal from wounds that are rooted in the United States’ history of slavery.” 

Geddes, who works with Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth in California, is the current president of CTTT’s Board of Managers. DeWolf is executive director. He is also a Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) trainer and author of two books, Inheriting the Trade, and Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade, with Sharon Leslie Morgan, both published by Beaco Press).

With restorative justice and trauma awareness principles as its foundation, CTTT has grown from a gathering of two dozen people at EMU in 2006 to thousands of members across the United States today, including 32 local affiliate groups meeting in communities in 12 different states. Many groups are open to the public, with others forming in specific contexts, such as medical centers, to address contextual historic trauma and legacies, and in educational settings, from middle and high schools to colleges and universities.

The book “lays out the Coming to the Table approach to racial healing, liberation and truthtelling,” the co-authors said, “an invitation to extend the conversation” for both those who bring experience into the topic and for those who are just beginning. 

“If you don’t know where to start,” said Geddes, “read the first page.”

Geddes says people are coming to racial healing “from the heart, recognizing this is something they’ve been carrying, but they don’t have the skills…this book is a response to the question of ‘How do we support you in the deepening and dropping into these conversations?’”

Tom DeWolf, a descendant of a slave-trading family, is executive director of Coming To the Table and has authored two other books about racial healing.

The book was an outgrowth of a workshop that Geddes and DeWolf led at EMU’s 2016 Restorative Justice in Motion conference. The 170 presenters and attendees, representing diverse practitioners from around the world, were urged to continue making both scholarly and creative contributions to the wide field of restorative justice.

The 2019 Horizons of Change luncheon series featured three other guest speakers: 

 

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