NEW ORLEANS — Today, Mayor Landrieu, along with Welcome Table New Orleans Mother’s Circle participants and the William Winter Institute, hosted a special event celebrating the first year of the Welcome Table New Orleans Mother’s Circle. The Welcome Table New Orleans is a citywide initiative that focuses on race, reconciliation and community building. This initiative brings diverse people together to share stories, build relationships, tackle the issue of race and find ways to work together to make the city better and stronger. The one-year anniversary event highlighted the work of four mothers who have participated in the Welcome Table New Orleans Mother’s Circle.
“We can no longer kick the can down the road when it comes to the tough issues facing America like race and violence,” said Mayor Landrieu. “Since taking office, I’ve had a vision for creating a city of peace, equality and prosperity for all. While we are seeing great results, it is not nearly enough. We each have to play our part. And to help us change the culture of violence in New Orleans—I called on our mothers. The voices of our mothers who are dealing with this issue can help provide the direction cities across the country need for change. These mothers are agents of change and pioneers in a movement to create a city of peace and prosperity for all. We are grateful for their willingness to participate in the Welcome Table process.”
On April 21, 2014, Mayor Mitch Landrieu launched the Welcome Table New Orleans to bring residents of different racial groups and backgrounds together to build relationships that will ultimately lead to improvements throughout the city. The Welcome Table New Orleans is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and offered in partnership with the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. Housed at the University of Mississippi and founded by former Governor William Winter, the Winter Institute works with communities to facilitate meaningful and honest discussions about race in respectful, safe and structured spaces. The Urban League of Greater New Orleans is the fiduciary agent for this effort.
As an extension of the work of NOLA FOR LIFE, the city’s murder reduction strategy, the Welcome Table New Orleans Mother’s Circle is focused on mothers who have suffered a loss as a result of gun violence and the reconciliation of their loss.
“During the last year, these mothers have shared stories of their past and visions for their future,” said Judy Reese Morse, Deputy Mayor of Citywide Initiatives. “Their discussions on healing and reconciling were challenging—but inspiring. I could not be more proud of the courageous mothers participating in our Welcome Table New Orleans Mother’s Circle. They are leading the way for change for not only mothers in New Orleans, but those in cities across the nation to reconcile and end the culture of violence on the streets of America.”
The Welcome Table New Orleans is offered in partnership with the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. Housed at the University of Mississippi and founded by former Governor William Winter, the Winter Institute works with communities to facilitate meaningful and honest discussions about race in respectful, safe and structured spaces.
“It has been my deepest privilege to support the courageous journey of these mothers to hope and wholeness. They have lessons for us that will save our communities," said Susan Glisson, Executive Director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.
About the Welcome Table New Orleans Mother’s Circle Project
Tragedy to Transformation to Triumph is an initiative to end violence in our community. Born from the love, compassion, hopes, tears and dreams of the mothers of the Welcome Table New Orleans Mother’s Circle, the effort seeks to be a vehicle, a “mothership connection” that transforms the community from violence, despair, fear, suffering, rage, hatred, injustice, racism, oppression and tragedy to a community where love and healing triumph. Mothers who have lost sons and daughters to violence, mothers whose sons have taken lives and all those who support and respect mothers are called to connect through action, commitment and purpose. The project will include a community-wide kickoff march and second line jazz funeral to remember the lives of those lost to violence and bury the social ills that feed violence and hatred. Moving toward peace and a commitment to work together, the march will symbolize the steps that can be taken when mothers come together for a common purpose.
Following the Mother’s March, the Mother’s Circle will host a community gala for residents of diverse backgrounds to meet, talk, share ideas and sign up to participate in and support a workshop series for mothers. The project will also include a community education and workshop series specifically for mothers who have suffered the loss of a child, reconciling with mothers who have suffered loss due to a child’s violent acts. Mothers who participate in the workshop series will develop and enhance skills to strengthen the foundation of their personal households, work with and support their neighbors and develop a plan for peace within the blocks in which they live. Using this approach, the Mother’s Circle hopes to spark a renewed commitment to residents coming together and working together on behalf of children and families.
About Welcome Table New Orleans
Launched in April 2014, the Welcome Table New Orleans is Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s citywide initiative that focuses on race, reconciliation and community building. Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Welcome Table New Orleans brings people of different racial groups and background together to build relationships that will lead to improvements throughout the city. Learn more about the Welcome Table New Orleans by visiting www.welcometableneworleans.org.
About the William Winter Institute
The William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation works in communities and classrooms, in Mississippi and beyond, to support a movement of racial equity and wholeness as a pathway to ending and transcending all division and discrimination based on difference. Learn more about the William Winter Institute by visiting www.winterinstitute.org.