CCGTX: Organizing a Movement, Transforming Our Community

CCPG strategizing about making GTX a "beloved community."
CCPG strategizing about making GTX a “beloved community.”

Dear Friends,

Our vision for Georgetown is to become a ‘beloved community of compassion characterized by cross-cultural communication, collaboration, celebration and courage.’ The ‘beloved community’ concept is based on the definition from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy, which:

 “was not devoid of interpersonal, group or international conflict. Instead he recognized that conflict was an inevitable part of human experience. But he believed that conflicts could be resolved peacefully and adversaries could be reconciled through a mutual, determined commitment to nonviolence. No conflict, he believed, need erupt in violence. And all conflicts in The Beloved Community should end with reconciliation of adversaries cooperating together in a spirit of friendship and goodwill.”

 In our previous planning meetings, the group has identified areas for deeper focus. The first four areas align with the Georgetown City of Excellence four cornerstones: Education, Public Safety, Healthcare and Economic Development. Then we added Transportation and Housing. Given the interests and needs that have emerged, we are adding Communications, Cultural & Historical Advocacy and Membership Development. These are called Learning/Action Groups and will use Dr. King’s Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change as a methodology.

The first step in the Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change is Information Gathering. Each Learning/Action Group and will use a set of preliminary questions to guide their work. Each Group will become a key resource for the Courageous Conversations Movement and recommend actions that the larger group may decide to take.
In addition to the Learning/Action Groups, a Core Group will serve as an executive body and be initially composed of individuals who have been engaged from outset (Barbara Brightwell, George Brightwell, Katherine Kerr, Lou Snead, Inell Claypool, Lamar Claypool and Ron Swain). Mary Calixtro has recently joined the Core Group and organizational development and change management specialist  Georgianne Hewett will serve as a key resource to the Core Group.  Other leaders of each Learning/Action Group will serve on the Core Group.

Learning/Action Groups will meet as often as needed to do their work. Following are the Learning/Action Groups and their leaders:   The Courageous Conversations Planning Group meets monthly.

The Core Group will address organizational and structural issues and grapple with how we move forward, including whether we form as a Texas nonprofit organization, a 501(c)3.
Public SafetyLamar Claypool
HealthcareBarbara Brightwell
Communications Katherine Kerr
EducationStephanie Blanck
Membership DevelopmentInell Claypool
Economic DevelopmentTBD (Interested? Please email LetsTalk@CourageousConvoGTX.com)
Cultural & Historical AdvocacyLou Snead
Transportation – TBD (Interested? Please email LetsTalk@CourageousConvoGTX.com)
Housing Walt Doering

Thank you for your commitment to creating Georgetown as a beloved community of excellence and compassion.

As a Courageous Conversation Participant, if you are interested in joining to a Learning/Action Group, please contact the leader of the group to let them know.
Grace and Peace,
Ron Swain
Courageous Conversations Convener

Conversing Courageously Throughout the Summer

Inell, left, and Lamar Claypool display Courageous Conversations GTX t-shirts at the 2016 Juneteenth Celebration.
Courageous Conversations Planning Group members Inell Claypool, left, and Lamar Claypool display Courageous Conversations GTX t-shirts at the 2016 Juneteenth Celebration.

Dear Friends,

We deeply appreciate the work that many of you have continued to do individually and collectively to create a more “beloved community” in this wonderful home we call Georgetown.

On June 18, the Courageous Conversations Planning Group had a booth at the 64th Juneteenth Celebration hosted by the Georgetown Cultural Citizen Memorial Association at the Community Center in San Gabriel Park.

We were grateful to participate in a celebration of the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865 which occurred more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. At the time federal troops had to occupy Texas to free enslaved people there were an estimated 250,000 African Americans in Texas including over 900 in Williamson County.

Proceeds from the event  will be used to support maintenance and renovation of the historic Shotgun House Museum and the Willie Hall Center, two centers of historic significance to African Americans in Williamson County.

Members of our group have attended Georgetown City Council meetings and workshops to speak out on affordable housing and public transportation. Members also have attended the Georgetown ISD board meeting to discuss a proposal to become a District of Innovation because of questions about its impact on the education of our children and the work of our teachers. These members have been inspired by the idea that we have the potential to address institutional racism and to advocate for policies, procedures, regulations and decisions that will lift up those in our community who feel marginalized and unheard.

Members of the Courageous Conversations Planning Group continue to explore additional opportunities for additional education and action. We welcome your suggestions at LetsTalk@CourageousConvoGTX.com.

Sincerely,
Ron Swain
Courageous Conversations Planning Group Convener

The Journey Continues: One Human Race

One Human Race_CCPG
One Human Race GTX May 2016 graduates

Nearly 50 Georgetown residents recently completed One Human Race, a three-part workshop designed to educate people about racism and its devastating impact.

The workshop, developed by the Union of Black Episcopalians Myra McDaniel Chapter at St. James Episcopal Church in Austin, was brought to Georgetown by the Courageous Conversations Planning Group. The workshop was held at First United Methodist Church the second, third and fourth Saturdays in May.

“After the overwhelming response to the Georgetown Reads book discussion and the Courageous Conversations series in February, Black History Month, we wanted to bring another opportunity for engagement to Georgetown to help people address racism,” said Ron Swain, convener of the Courageous Conversations Planning Group. “There is clearly a thirst for the information people are learning, many for the first time, of the deep roots of racism in our country and state. There is also a deep-seated desire to ensure that Georgetown is a ‘beloved community” where everyone is valued, respected and accepted.’ ”

The Courageous Conversations Planning Group is working on activities for the coming months, including additional workshops, book discussions and information sharing.

The Georgetown Courageous Conversations Planning Group is an interracial, multicultural and multiethnic group of individuals from various faith communities working to facilitate respectful, civil conversations about race.

For more information about the Courageous Conversations Planning Group and to get on the email distribution list, please email LetsTalk@CourageousConvoGTX.com.

For information about other workshops offered by One Human Race in Austin, click here.