Every last Thursday of the month, a group of Black men sit in a circle and create a safe space to discuss issues related to the community and themselves. It’s called the Men’s Roundtable and it’s conducted by Quentin Walcott of Connect NYC, an organization dedicated to ending family violence.
I’ve been before and wrote about my experience here, but I thought it deserved an encore since when I wrote before, I focused more on what a great idea it was to try to address violence within our communities with such a dialogue. This time though I want to focus on how personally grateful I am for the opportunity to participate and fellowship with other men who are, in many cases, quite literally doing God’s work. Two that work with violent offenders in Jamaica, Queens in a hands-on manner to try to diffuse conflicts before they get to the critical and fatal stage. A young man who works to reset the definition of what Black masculinity is so that it encompasses more positive attributes needed to connect on a deeper level with others. And individuals working with male offenders to help end the cycle of domestic violence within the community….amongst others.
I was truly thankful to be in room with these folks, hear their stories, their struggles, their ideas and learn and share while we discussed whether non-violence principles could provide a solution to the violence that currently exists within our communities. While on this journey of life, especially as a Black man trying to tack in a different direction than what society expects, it often can feel quite lonely. To know that there is a gathering of folks trying to accomplish many of the same goals as myself is reassuring and much needed. As much as the discussions center around helping others, I feel like I’m being helped just by being there and knowing that others are walking on the same path.
Next month, we do it again.
(and yes, I know it’s technically Friday now, but…the meeting thankfully ran late)