Sharing Our Stories:
Towards an Inclusive American Narrative
Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries (CMM) promoted a community-building exercise through the spring of 2021 around the topic, “Sharing Our Stories: Towards an Inclusive American Narrative.” This topic was first explored by CMM at an event in December that featured Mr. Jean-Luc Pierite, Rev. Eugene Rivers, and Rev. Dr. Nancy Taylor). Issues of identity, spirituality, neighborliness, and the importance of hospitality are evident in video and transcript available here. They reach to the core of who we are and as that becomes expressed in social settings with civic implications. In her book, The Human Condition, political philosopher Hannah Arendt ties efforts like this to forgiving, promise-making, and political agency in society.
There are several ways by which participation helped in this project along that included modest gatherings to more intentional civic-minded circles of conversation. The following suggestions were presented to help ease people into the initiative:
- Review the video and transcript from December panel.
- Invite several people with whom you have some acquaintance, between March and May, to join you in a virtual cocktail hour or over a cup of coffee/tea.
- Express your interest in fostering conversation while promoting hospitality amid the national debates around racism, the pandemic, and violence. A goal of this exercise is to broaden our racial and interfaith horizons and thereby contribute to civil harmony.
- Summarize your discussion in a paragraph and send to the initiative’s coordinator, Ariel Kayton, by clicking her name.
These conversations could be as confidential as the group wished or recorded for further reflection. Depending on what we can discern together, the results of these conversations helped shape CMM’s annual 2021 June fundraiser and may still be codified into a booklet. (A member of CMM’s Advisory Council, Michael Felsen, writes about the value of circles of conversation at this point in our national agenda in his article found at: https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/528010-red-and-blue-lets-talk-reconciliation).