Table Talk

A series created by and for people of color and other underrepresented communities to openly explore what it means to live and die well.

A Table Talk is an honest, lively, and unscripted conversation among health professionals, spiritual and faith-based leaders, artists, and other creative individuals to address this central question:

What does it mean to live and die well in our respective communities?

Each community and culture -- Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American, Disabled, LGBTQ+, etc. -- has its own unique perspective and shared truth. And each faces tremendous challenges in dealing with serious illness, dying, grief, discrimination, and inequity. Unfortunately, at present, we have few spaces to talk about these issues freely, in ways that make sense for who we are. What we have in common is the search for space to connect, flourish, remember, and celebrate.

Many of us describe more than one group as our “home,” and many of us have experienced oppression based on multiple aspects of our intersecting identities: race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and more. So, while this ongoing series is explicitly created by and for specific underrepresented communities, we invite people of all backgrounds to join us to witness, listen and learn. Ultimately we are creating space rooted in the principles of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in order for everyone to thrive.

With generous support from the Fetzer Institute and the John and Wauna Harman Foundation, we will synthesize our learnings and share them with a wider audience.

To view recordings of the Fall 2020 Table Talk pilot focusing on the African-American community, click here.

Our tables stay in our families for generations, holding scars and scratches from the hardest discussions but remain strong throughout our lives.

Our Table Talks

Family Ties: Connection and Conflict

March 12, 2021

Join us in exploring the complex family dynamics Asian Americans are born into and how these can become the blueprint for future relationships, especially the ones we have with ourselves.

Sister Circle: A Model for Building COVID-19 Vaccine Trust

March 25, 2021

COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy demonstrates that time has not fully healed these wounds. However, a group of Black physicians in North Carolina have decided that history is not going to determine who lives and dies in their communities. Meet the Sister Circle: Dr. Michele Benoit-Wilson, Dr. Jacqueline Hicks, Dr. Tiffany Lowe-Payne, Dr. Netasha McLawhorn, Dr. Rasheeda Monroe, and Dr. Nerissa Price.

Death Over Dim Sum: Care to Prepare

April 16, 2021

In this iteration of Death Over Dim Sum, we discover that taking care to prepare for one’s end-of-life wishes is an act of love, not a burden. Our featured speakers offer years of experience navigating these conversations, providing care, and offering resources that support and enrich the lives of aging seniors and their families in the Asian American Pacific Islander community.

This is How We Feel: The Grief of Black Men

April 29, 2021

Three leaders in mental health and the study of Black masculinity share opportunities to support African-American men experiencing grief.

Homecoming: Navigating South Asian Ancestral Grief & Reclaiming Spirituality

April 30, 2021

Explore what it means to be part of the vastly diverse South Asian diaspora and how that intersects with ancestral grief and spirituality.

The panelists and audience will be invited to share how ancestral grief shows up in their life in these times, where do they draw strength from? Living across lands and generations, what does their spiritual path look like, and how does this inform making meaning of living through loss?

A Long Way From Home: The Grief of Black Women & Mothers

May 6, 2021

As Black mothers and daughters, our minds, bodies, and spirits have been tested to the limits. Between COVID-19 and social injustice/unrest, we have experienced grief and trauma up close and from a unique point of view. At this Table Talk, Black women discuss ancestral and present-day grief passed from mother to daughter.

Between Worlds: Life & Death in a Mixed-Race Culture

May 14, 2021

Join community leaders, educators, and artists of mixed-AAPI heritage for a conversation about grief, identity, and belonging. Together, we’ll unpack the hefty but important topic of feeling stuck in-between worlds when it comes time to honor and grieve our family, friends, and community.

Make This House a Home: SGL/LGBTQ+ Folks Aging Together

May 25, 2021

In this Table Talk, learn about some of the most innovative housing initiatives across the U.S. for older adults who identify as LGBTQ+ and Same Gender Loving. This discussion will showcase examples of elder housing initiatives that are realized or currently in development and reflect values of affordability and inclusivity of all sexualities and gender expressions.

De Ambiente: Grief, Faith, and the LGBTQ+ Boricua Diaspora

June 1, 2021

In this Table Talk, spirituality is the primary lens to explore how LBGTQ+ Puerto Ricans are coping, healing, and connecting.

Ballroom Has Something to Say... about Art, Justice & Healing

June 8, 2021

In this Table Talk, members of the House | Ballroom Community (HBC) share their insights into the role of art in strengthening family and transforming grief into healing. House | Ballroom, a community consisting primarily of Black and brown transgender and gender-nonconforming people, has used performance at balls as a tool for resistance and spiritual expression.

Table Talk: Grief Among Latino/a/x and LGBTQ+ Communities

October 27, 2021

In this Table Talk, Rev. Dr. Maria Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa and Dr. Wilfred Labiosa provide their responses to these additional questions: What are we grieving? How do we grieve? From a spiritual perspective, how does our community support those experiencing grief or trauma? What other actions can we take to support ourselves and our loved ones?

Table Talk: Indigenous Paradigms of Grief

November 23, 2021

Informed by social work, hospice, and traditional healing practices, this Table Talk, opens the possibility of shapeshifting grief and suffering into medicine.

Our Vision

The table is where we gather, eat, create, and pray. It’s where we talk about what happened that day, what we dream, who we love, who we dislike, and what we desire. The table is where we interact with family, friends, allies, and rivals. The table is where all things real, bold, good, bad, beautiful, and ugly come to the light. We may not agree with each other, but we might find common ground, understanding, and insights from each other we didn’t know before.

A grandmother’s dinner table, a father’s card table, a lover’s bedside table, or maybe the first coffee table you ever bought: Our tables are worth more than we can ever measure. They stay in our families for generations, holding scars and scratches from the hardest discussions but remain strong throughout our lives.

Welcome to the Table.