Participants for 2018 Shreveport Reconciliation Dinner announced
SHREVEPORT, LA — Thirty-five local residents have been selected to attend the 2018 Shreveport Reconciliation Dinner, to be held at Centenary College on Saturday, February 24. The selected participants and their guests will gather to share a meal celebrating the culinary diversity of our community and will share stories of and visions for racial reconciliation in Shreveport.
The Shreveport Reconciliation Dinner was inspired by a historical event in Charleston, South Carolina in 1865, when Nat Fuller, an acclaimed African-American chef who had recently been freed from slavery, invited black and white citizens to sit at a common table in the spirit of racial reconciliation. Dr. David Shields, a University of South Carolina professor, spearheaded the recreation of the original dinner in Charleston in 2014, and a group of Shreveporters inspired by the event hosted the first Shreveport Reconciliation Dinner in August 2016.
The 2018 dinner will recognize a diverse group of people from the local community, nominated and chosen by their peers, for their efforts to address structural barriers hindering true racial reconciliation in Shreveport. Attendees at the dinner will have a chance to share their own stories, listen to the stories of others, and collectively discuss concrete actions that can help our entire community address the continuing effects of racism and discrimination.
Nominations for the 2018 Shreveport Reconciliation Dinner opened on Thanksgiving Day 2017 and were accepted through December 31. Social media helped to spread the word, and a call for nominations was mailed to over 250 local neighborhood associations, non-profit organizations, and places of worship. Participants were selected for the dinner based on a demonstrated record of achievement or the potential to promote racial justice and equality.
Attendees at the dinner will enjoy a menu of local food created under the direction of Chef Hardette Harris, owner of Pure Louisiana Soul food tours and tastings. Local chefs Mavice Thigpen of Eddie’s Seafood and Soul Food Restaurant, Gabriel Balderas of El Cabo Verde, and Brandon Fail and John-Paul Young of The Levee will each create dishes for the dinner to reflect the rich diversity of styles and flavors present in North Louisiana cuisine.
Participants selected for the 2018 Shreveport Reconciliation Dinner are:
Deborrah “Cookie” Coleman
Shelley Ryan Gray
Karen La Beau
Hosea “Big D” Levingston
Alma Brown Petteway
Four high school students from Caddo Parish’s Transformation Zone have also been selected to attend the 2018 Shreveport Reconciliation Dinner based on essays they wrote after viewing the film Beyond Galilee (sponsored by the North Louisiana Civil Rights Coalition), which chronicles several important events in Shreveport during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Eden Holmes and KonTravazias White of Woodlawn Leadership Academy and Janae Gallion and Christen Gay of Booker T. Washington New Technology High School will represent Caddo Parish Public Schools.
Centenary College of Louisiana is sponsoring and hosting the 2018 Shreveport Reconciliation Dinner with additional support from Christus Health Shreveport-Bossier, the Community Foundation of North Louisiana, First Presbyterian Church of Shreveport, G. Carlton Golden and Rachel Golden, Grace United Methodist Church, Masjid Yaseen Shreveport, and Slow Food North Louisiana. In-kind sponsors include The Levee Restaurant, Real BBQ, Sodexo Food Service, and Twin Engine Labs.
More information about the Shreveport Reconciliation Dinner is available at reconciliationshreveport.com.