Two RCE Greater Atlanta members recently stepped up to facilitate a dinner for Equitable Dinners Atlanta on September 18, 2022: Norah Sinclair and Carolyn Aidman. The event was hosted by Out of Hand Theater, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Fulton County Remembrance Coalition, and many other community partners and provided breakfasts, lunches, and dinners across Atlanta. The goal of the event was to mark the 116th anniversary of the 1906 Atlanta Race Massacre as a community. To learn more about the events that happened and the conversations that can spur social change, Norah gave us details about the Equitable Dinners event.
Norah learned of RCE Greater Atlanta last Spring when she participated in the Spring 2022 Sustainability/SDG Education Teaching Fellow Initiative at Georgia Tech. She has been a member ever since. Her favorite part about being in the network is all the resources members share with the RCE Google Group. She says she has learned about many great things happening in the community around equity, climate change, opportunities for youth, and so much more. “I feel much more connected to the work that is going on around Atlanta and hopeful knowing that there is such a strong community working on these issues,” she says.
As for Equitable Dinners Atlanta this year, Norah and Carolyn hosted at the East Lake Commons Community where Carolyn lives. They ordered food from NaanStop, an Indian restaurant that offers a variety of food options, including vegetarian food.
The evening started with a powerful one-person play, performed by Morgan, an actor from Out of Hand Theater. Morgan spoke of her personal story of being shy and not feeling like she could perform, but was drawn to being a storyteller in Equitable Dinners Atlanta. As she performed the story, she, herself, became moved by it. In a conversation afterward, Morgan revealed that she felt it was important for her to speak up when some of her ancestors did not have the opportunity to speak out about injustices - their voices were a part of her story. The performance was not just her own story, but theirs as well.
The facilitator of the event, Mona, shared resources regarding the Atlanta Race Riot of 1906. The attendees talked about the importance of learning about hidden histories and ideas around naming events in ways that shine a light on what really happened; whoever controls the naming controls the narrative. People in power controlled the narrative and naming of what was essentially a massacre of black community members by a white mob that not only killed people but stifled previously thriving black businesses in Atlanta, causing further segregation of businesses in Atlanta. They talked about how he kind of dehumanizing of groups by people seeking political power that led to the Atlanta Race Massacre continues to happen today.
Overall, the event was a really great opportunity for all participants to tell a bit about their own stories and listen to others. Carolyn’s favorite quote of the evening was “We don’t know what we don’t know.” in reference to all the other hidden history that we don’t know is hidden until brought into the light. Many participants expressed that they would like to have continued opportunities for discussion and to take action around creating equitable communities. Visit https://www.equitabledinners.com/ for more opportunities like this in the future.