Amy Czajkowski's experiences as a facilitator in peacebuilding goes beyond countries devastated by war. As the program director of Coming To the Table, Czajkowski, 34, is bringing her skills to Tougaloo College for a round table discussion on the impact of slavery on today's society.
On Saturday, Czajkowski and a group of facilitators will host "Creating New Legacies Inspired by the Dream," a half-day conference that will address current issues resulting from our country's history of slavery. Coming To the Table is a program based out of Eastern Mennonite University and the Center for Justice and Peace building in Harrisonburg, Va. that works to promote racial reconciliation.
"Story telling is at the center of it, because this has been something, for the most, part that people in the U.S. haven't been talking about," Czajkwoski says. "It has been taboo and a painful conversation that people haven't wanted to deal with. We are saying it is possible and we want to encourage people to have a conversation."
Czajkowski says that through story telling people can share their experiences with issues such as present-day segregation, unequal education opportunities and about value judgments related to skin color.
After receiving master's degree in peacebuilding and conflict transformation Czajkowski starting working as a facilitator to solve conflicts with small organizations and countries like Sierra Leon. She began leading discussions about racial reconciliation in various U.S. cities for Coming to the Table in 2006. She currently lives in Harrisonburg Va. with her husband.
"There is an expectation that it will be a continuous conversation because it's such a difficult history," she says. "What we found is that for most people it hasn't been as scary to have the conversation as they thought it was, and it actually brings the opportunity for some connections."
The conference takes place 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Tougaloo College in Holmes Hall Auditorium, 500 W. County Line Road and is free and open to the public. To register visit Coming to the Table Web site or call 877-540-2888.