Making Brave Space – Indie Lens Pop-Up with The People’s Supper
In a time of heightened awareness about racial injustice, sexual harassment, immigration, gender, politics, within an atmosphere and culture that encourages the combative debate…How do you have a conversation about race around the holiday dinner table?
I invited The People’s Supper (TPBS) and its process to assist me in creating brave space for courageous conversations following the ITVS/WHUT Indie Lens Pop-Up preview of Raoul Peck’s Academy Award-nominated documentary I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
The conversation kicked off with food (per the TPS host guide). I chose fruit and cheese for this Indie Lens Pop-Up giving homage to Baldwin and his years in France.
Before the film I read “An Invitation to Brave Space” by Micky ScottBey Jones who’s part of the Faith Matters Network, one of the founding organizations of The People’s Supper.
AN INVITATION TO BRAVE SPACE
Together we will create brave space
Because there is no such thing as a “safe space”
We exist in the real world
We all carry scars and we have all caused wounds.
In this space
We seek to turn down the volume of the outside world.
We amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere
We call each other to more truth and love
We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.
We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.
We will not be perfect.
This space will not be perfect.
It will not always be what we wish it to be
It will be our brave space together
We will work on it side by side.
The People’s Supper is…
“out to prove that a group of thoughtful people who differ from one another – politically, racially, religiously, and generationally – can sit down over a shared meal, go beneath the headlines, and understand the real stories that have shaped who we are.”
The questions I chose from the TPS Bridging Supper Guidebook and recent suppers didn’t specifically explore race or James Baldwin as the film’s discussion guide.
TPS questions lead into conversations beginning with the “I.” Race may be explored in conversation but told through personal experience as well as listening. The process makes space for anyone and everyone willing to participate to speak, and allows for silence as well.
There’s a “Vegas Rule” in The People’s Supper process. What’s said in the room stays in the room. It’s one of the agreements the room signs on before starting their small group conversations. Having an agreement on ground rules of “ways of being” is essential to courageous conversations.
There’s definitely potential to use The People’s Supper process for more conversations with films especially documentaries.
It’s why the Invitation to Brave Space was part of my introduction — an invitation for moving forward with our courageous conversations around our welcome tables this season and in the New Year.
I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO will have its television premiere January 15, 2018 on “Independent Lens” on PBS. (Streaming January 16).
For more information about The People’s Supper visit thepeoplessupper.org.
Photos by Jimell Greene for ITVS