• COMMUNITY COALITION SEEKS NEW DIRECTOR

  • Coalition Posts Executive Director Position

  • As seen in The Leaflet

  • CAPD Website Features Work of Community Coalition

  • As Seen In Matters Magazine

  • As seen in the Gaslight!

  • Wilson to Lead Coalition 4th Annual MLK Observance

  • Star Ledger: They're playing her song

  • Composer Selected for Continental Harmony Project

  • South Orange/Maplewood Selected For a National New Music Commissioning Project

  • Coalition/Adult School Partnership Continue Two Towns Study Circle Program.

  • Coalition Honored by APA at National Conference






    COMMUNITY COALITION SEEKS NEW DIRECTOR
    SOUTH ORANGE/MAPLEWOOD, NJ (November 4, 2005) – The nationally recognized, non-profit group, the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race announced today it is beginning a search for a new executive director as its present executive moves to a new position that will carry the Coalition's message of integration to the greater community of New Jersey and the rest of the country.Under the direction of current executive director, Barbara Heisler Williams, the pro-integrative work of the Coalition has garnered local, state and national awards and recognitions and has served as a model for communities around the country.

    “Barbara Heisler-Williams has provided vision, brains, and an apparently bottomless reservoir of energy and enthusiasm in the creation of the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race,” said chairperson Meredith Sue Willis. “We will miss her sorely, but at the same time it is exciting to know that she will be carrying our experience and our message to the rest of the world.”

    In her new role as executive director of Fund for an OPEN Society, the country’s only non-profit group devoted to helping communities promote the creation and maintenance of racially balanced communities, Ms. Heisler Williams will continue to work closely with the Coalition. Since its inception in 1996 the Coalition has partnered with OPEN and Ms. Heisler Williams’s commitment to the organization and to her community will serve to strengthen that relationship.

    “I look forward to continuing my active involvement in this journey,” said Ms. Heisler Williams. “Our efforts, challenges, and successes compel me to further this mission beyond our borders and work to broaden the influence that OPEN can have on communities and our society – firm in my belief that people want to live in towns like ours. Indeed, the only way our country may heal its social wounds and become whole is to do this work in many, many places.”

    Over the last 10 years the Coalition has made great strides toward achieving its overall goal of building a suburban community that is free from racial segregation in housing patterns and community involvement. Successful community initiatives include, educating realtors and conducting community tours to ensure that prospective buyers see all areas of the community, hosting countless community forums and discussion groups, working closely with the schools to tackle issues like achievement gap head-on and creating community –wide events like Two Towns in Harmony and Two Towns: One Book.

    The Coalition seeks a new executive director grounded in nonprofit management who is in accord with its mission. The position is to be filled in January, for more information please visit the website at www.twotowns.org.





    Coalition Posts Executive Director Position
    The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race, a model community- based organization promoting sustainable integration, serving South Orange and Maplewood, and surrounding communities has an opening for an Executive Director.

    The Executive Director provides leadership and inspiration to both the Board and staff. The Director provides guidance to the Board on establishing long term policy and goals, and is responsible for implementing those policies and goals through volunteer committees. The Director is also responsible for keeping the Board apprised of significant developments impacting the organization. The Director is responsible for ensuring that the staff delivers high quality services, and otherwise fulfills the mission of the organization. Finally, the Executive Director is responsible for maintaining the Coalition’s day to day operations. The Executive Director reports to the Board chair.

    Our new ED will continue to build this organization and initiate actions that move the community toward our goal of sustainable integration. The successful candidate must have a deep desire to address local and regional societal issues, identify and grow leaders, and build programs to sustain the efforts and the organization itself. Candidate must be a self-motivated, creative thinker. Knowledge of the community in which we operate is a plus.

    Skills: Knowledge of political process/agenda, political savvy, leadership training, strong communication/writing skills; ability to embrace diversity; ability to handle the press, to build key relationships within the leadership of the Coalition, to develop the organization’s alliances with other community organizations while keeping the Coalition independent to pursue its pro-integrative agenda. Ability to work as part of a team - with both volunteer and paid staff. The candidate must have a complementary degree and/or equivalent experience in nonprofit organizations, and must be computer literate – ability to work with Microsoft Office programs required.

    Key Interfaces: The Executive Director works closely with the current staff, fellow consultants, Trustees, committee chairpersons and volunteers, and various community leaders and organizations to develop and sustain relationships and outcomes which further the organization’s mission. The Executive Director reports to the Board, represented by the Board chairperson.

    Duties and Responsibilities: 1) Serve as staff to the Board of Trustees and its committees.
    2) Attend all meetings of the Board of Trustees and its Executive Committee.
    3) Attend meetings of committees whenever possible.
    4) Serve as the day-to-day spokesperson for the Coalition, with authority to handle media inquiries, citizen inquiries and complaints, and communications with various governmental entities. Keep the Executive Committee closely informed of all communications and events.
    5) Develop, in conjunction with the Board of Trustees, strategies for promoting the goals of the Coalition. Advise the Committee on strategies and systems for implementing programs to meet Coalition goals and for evaluating outcomes; and advise the Coalition when such goals are not being met.
    6) Implement activities in coordination with Coalition trustees and volunteers to increase community knowledge of and investment in Coalition outcomes.
    7) Develop, with the assistance of the appropriate committees, approaches to meet the goals of the Coalition with particular emphasis on outreach programs to encourage persons of color to under take positions of governmental and civic responsibility in the towns of Maplewood and South Orange as well as help parents to advocate for their children in the school system.
    8) Propose and explore policy initiatives with Coalition Trustees and other relevant persons. 9) Initiate fund development proposals to foundations and potential large donors, and support board/committee endeavors to raise funds through events and community solicitations.
    10) Assist in building productive working relationships with appropriate public agencies at the local, state and national levels.
    11) Implement a volunteer education and support system to effect increased participation and active commitment to the Coalition's pro-integrative mission.
    12) Carry out all activities related to community and coalition marketing, including coordination of material production, request fulfillment and follow-up.
    13) Provide appropriate administrative support. Assist in coordination of major Coalition events, e.g. forums and public meetings. Record and maintain minutes of meetings of the Board of Trustees.
    14) Maintain appropriate Coalition records in the Coalition’s office, including financial and corporate reports as well as participate in development of annual budget.

    Send resume, cover letter and salary requirement via email to search@twotowns.org. Applications accepted through 11/30. No phone calls please.





    As seen in The Leaflet
    Read about Two Towns in Harmony on the front page of Maplewood's Leaflet online at http://www.twp.maplewood.nj.us/vertical/Sites/{920D5C3F-DE44-4EFC-8A19-300504E303FC}/uploads/{66AE22ED-F70E-4931-B903-8B7E05F5DE64}.PDF




    CAPD Website Features Work of Community Coalition
    The Center for Assessment and Policy Development and MP Associates, Inc. have announced the launch of awebsite to which the Coalition has been a significant contributor -- www.evaluationtoolsforracialequity.org. This website is targeted towards those attempting to self evaluate progress toward anti-racism and inclusion goals. It addresses every step of the evaluation process, offering Tools and Resources designed to help answer many common questions, including how to organize and carry out an evaluation; what kinds of questions to ask and outcomes to measure; and also some guidelines for thinking about and using results. It also provides printable Tipsheets for common evaluation tasks, and Stories adapted from the experiences of groups that explore common experiences and dilemmas. According to the developers, www.evaluationtoolsforracialequity.org would not have been possible without the advice and involvement of four community groups: Tellin’ Stories in Washington, D.C, IMPACT Silver Spring in Maryland, the Community Coalition of South Orange/Maplewood in New Jersey and ERASERacism in Long Island. It encourages readers to check the websites for more information about these groups and their work. Participation in the CAPD project afforded the Coalition an opportunity to use high level assessment tools in its work, while assisting other communities which may wish to begin pro-integrative initiatives such as ours.




    As Seen In Matters Magazine
    Building Community Note by Note
    Composer Janet Albright Celebrates Our Two Towns in An American Dale: Becoming A Place For All People

    By Valerie Davia

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Perhaps you've encountered a slim, white-haired woman about the towns carrying a video camera and notebook. She's especially likely to be found at rehearsals-everything from Maplewood's Community Concert Band to South Orange's Baptist Church choir to Columbia's string orchestra to the Strollers. She's Janet Albright, a multi-talented instrumentalist and composer, who was selected to write a piece of music that represents and celebrates the cultural richness of our two communities.

    The world premiere of her nine-movement work for orchestra and chorus, An American Dale: Becoming A Place For All People, takes place at South Orange's Flood's Hill at 7:30 pm on July 3, 2005. It will feature the diverse talents of approximately 200 local vocalists and instrumentalists, including jazz ensembles and opera singers, African percussionists and chamber music players, faith choirs and school bands. Maplewood's Vicki Carter will wield the baton that melds amateurs and professionals, as well as audience and performers into one glorious celebration of community. Flood's Hill itself will be embellished by a sculpture garden created by volunteer artists and local school children. And preceding this phenomenal homegrown world premiere will be a two-town-wide block party and art extravaganza to rival any dale anywhere.

    "The project is a composer's dream," says Albright, who is working under the auspices of "Continental Harmony," a project of the American Composers Forum that sends composers into communities to write music that brings all the elements of a place together-its varied histories, cultures, and faiths. "To be able to use that huge wonderful palate of sound," continues Albright, "is a gift that very few composers ever have, as is the opportunity to come to a community to share ideas and create music with so many talented and inspiring people."

    The Continental Harmony project is one of only a handful of similar composer residencies around the country. For arts-oriented Maplewood and South Orange, the program fits perfectly with the goals of the Community Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting integration and encouraging all residents to participate fully in community life.

    "The arts are perhaps the best way to bring people together," affirms Coalition Executive Director Barbara Heisler Williams, author of the funding request that made the project possible. "Our work is to consciously and continuously connect people around what unites us and not allow artificial barriers to keep people apart. We're very pleased that this project is doing just that, and will continue to do so even after the event through all the individuals and groups who have met and collaborated."

    Ron Carter, a Maplewood resident and management consultant is the project's coordinator: "It's my job to help Janet [Albright] learn about and absorb as much as she possibly can about our communities and their cultures and character during her residency weeks." In her visits, Albright has met with numerous choirs, jazz musicians, student and professional orchestras, visual artists, dancers, drummers and acting troops, and has visited schools, churches, synagogues, art galleries, historic sites, parks and restaurants, meeting countless enthusiastic neighbors. "Everyone who lives here loves it," she remarks. "People have embraced this project with such dedication, the fact that you're working to be in harmony on all levels is amazing and wonderful, and I'm honored to be asked to paint this picture in music."

    Albright was selected from among more than 20 composers competing for the project. Beginning with piano study at age five with a teacher who also encouraged her to compose, Albright's musical career has spanned more than six decades. Her compositions encompass both traditional and contemporary forms for solo, small ensemble, full orchestra, and choir. As a performer she has served as principal violist in numerous orchestras as well as a pianist, harpsichordist and organist. Her musical travels have taken her literally around the world as a pianist on a cruise ship, and to several states and countries, including her current home in Germany. She is perhaps most proud of her work as creator, composer, arranger and art director for "Hello Symphony," an award-winning educational enrichment program that brings symphony players into schools to teach music and related arts.

    In An American Dale, Albright will take listeners on a journey from a serious contemplation of freedom and justice for all to a joyous Fourth of July-style celebratory finale. Along the way, she will describe in her own music and lyrics the pilgrimages of people from hundreds of places to a new land; the crossroads of war to the vision of liberty; the struggle for freedom for all people; and the creativity that is the hallmark of our communities. A central focus is the movement entitled "Mosaic." Albright explains that, "'Mosaic' has many different but recognizable musical styles and motifs, using ethnic instruments and their players. At first the motifs rub and bump, but then come beautifully together to form a musical whole." An anthem, "Two Towns in Harmony," follows and concludes with a fireworks-worthy finale that encompasses all the players, singers and audience in rousing praise of freedom and community.

    About 100 singers got the first taste of Albright's work at a late January choral rehearsal. After a series of warm-up activities, conductor Vicki Carter led the group in reading the opening fanfare, with parts for adult choir, children's choir, gospel choir, soloists and brass ensemble. "We are beginning an extraordinary journey," she explains. "All who travel with us will meet new people, have the opportunity to mentor young musicians, build a stronger community and share the joy of making music."

    Echoing Vicki Carter, project coordinator Ron Carter notes: "The concert's not the point. It's a big point but it's not THE point. This is all about building community. How often do you get to work on a new piece of music? But when that piece is grounded in your community and performed by your neighbors, that's what makes this experience truly extraordinary."

    Valerie Davia sings with as many groups as will have her. She's amazed at how cool this project is!

    There's still time to participate. To learn more, or to volunteer as a vocalist, instrumentalist, visual artist or support the project in any way, please contact Ron Carter at 973-761-1291 or rcarter31@aol.com

    Brought to you by Matters Magazine





    As seen in the Gaslight!
    Check out the story about Two Towns in Harmony on page 2 of the South Orange Gaslight, online at http://www.southorange.org/Gaslight/2005/March.pdf




    Wilson to Lead Coalition 4th Annual MLK Observance
    The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition will mark the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday with a time for reflection and a time for service. Beginning at 1:00 pm on January 17, 2005, the Coalition’s Interfaith Outreach Committee will host its 4th annual interfaith worship service at the First Presbyterian and Trinity Church, 111 Irvington Ave., South Orange. In addition to music and readings, the service will feature the Rev. Sandye A. Wilson, rector of the Episcopal Church of St. Andrew and Holy Communion in South Orange as the keynote speaker.

    Before and after the worship service, Coalition volunteers will hold a canned food drive to benefit the MEND Food Pantry. From 12 - 4 pm, community members are invited to drop off non-perishable canned or dry food. No glass containers will be accepted. Also following the worship service, the Coalition will host a volunteer fair, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian and Trinity Church, providing community members with an opportunity to explore volunteer opportunities available within Maplewood and South Orange.

    “This is our fourth commemoration of Martin Luther King Day. Our hope is that residents will look at this day as a call to action, rather than as a day off. Each year attendance at our interfaith gathering has grown, and it has become a highlight of the year. We hope more residents will come and be inspired and will find an ongoing service opportunity that suits them, and will become more involved in working to make our hometowns even better”, explained Dr. Dawn Williams, co-moderator of the Interfaith Outreach Committee and a Coalition trustee. “We’re also very excited that Rev. Wilson will keynote our worship service. She is an exciting new member of our community and truly exemplifies someone committed to action.”

    In addition to serving as rector at St. Andrew and Holy Communion, Rev. Wilson is the national president of the Union of Black Episcopalians and past president of Province VI, comprised of eight states in the upper Midwest and plains states. She is a member of the steering committee for 20/20, the national movement to increase church participation and membership. The Reverend Wilson is on the board of trustees for Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, and was a consultant to Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie on Racism and the Church. She has taught courses on the faculty at Yale Divinity School, Iliff School of Theology at the University of Denver and the University of Minnesota.

    A contemplative activist, she has served on corporate, non-profit, interfaith, secular and church boards, building a bridge between the board room and the street. She’s currently a consultant to various individuals and organizations on systems, working on the transformation of society and committed to advocating on behalf of children and the lost, lonely, left out and left behind. Fearless in speaking the truth to power, she encourages others to find the moral courage to do the same, aware of the cost of discipleship. She served as a Kellogg Foundation National Leadership Fellow, exploring “The Paradox of Leadership: Balancing Individual Rights with the Common Good.” During that time she traveled the world documenting cross-cultural rural family life through the lens of her camera while she wrote prayer-poems. She is a member of the Black Photographers of Minnesota and her work is often seen in exhibits around the community. Through her service with the Balm of Gilead, she has worked to help eradicate AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and in the Black Community in North America, facilitating and helping provide a safe place for ministers to discuss community and church issues related to AIDS.

    The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race is a private, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote stable integration throughout Maplewood and South Orange and to encourage broad participation by citizens in these communities in civic and community life. More information on the organization and upcoming events can be found online at www.twotowns.org. Community organizations wishing to have a table at the Volunteer Fair should contact the Coalition’s Executive Director, Barbara Heisler Williams, at 973-761-6116, ext. 2.

    Posted 12/23/04





    Star Ledger: They're playing her song
    They're playing her song

    Composer fine-tunes students' talent

    Sunday October 24, 2004

    By ELIZABETH MOORE
    STAR-LEDGER STAFF

    Inside the band rehearsal room at Columbia High School in Maplewood, the students pay close attention to the conductor, who is leading them through an original piece of music.

    As Janet Albright of Fairfax, Va., works with the orchestra and band members, she is giving them two things: a chance to work one-on-one with a living composer, and an informal audition to perform another original piece of work next July.

    Albright has been chosen as the composer-in-residence for the communities of South Orange and Maplewood and is working on an original composition that will be performed by 300 local musicians at an outdoor concert on July 3. The performance will feature a combination of professional and amateur musicians and singers.

    Though she's visited the communities just a handful of times, Albright, who divides her time between Virginia and Germany, said she is impressed by what she's seen.

    "Everybody that lives here loves it," she said. "They like to be here. They bring their friends."

    In her visits to Maplewood and South Orange, Albright has met with gospel choirs, youth orchestras, jazz musicians and drummers to understand the musical influences in the two towns. She's also gone to schools, churches, art galleries and synagogues, to meet and interact with people.

    "This is an unbelievable community," she said. "They are working to be in harmony on a cultural level."

    Albright's project is part of the Continental Harmony program, sponsored by the American Composers Forum. Each year, communities across the country compete for grants that pay for a composer to visit each town and write an original piece of music.

    The communities of South Orange and Maplewood submitted a joint application through an organization called the Community Coalition on Race. They received one of five grants awarded nationwide last year.

    The coalition is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting integration in the two towns and encourages residents to participate in community life. Barbara Heisler Williams, executive director for the group, said the composer project was a perfect way to work on those goals.

    "We know the arts are a great way to build the community," she said. "The arts are a way you can get people in different socioeconomic groups and racial groups and give them a common bond."

    Though she has not finished writing her original score, Albright recently shared a little about the story she wants the music to tell. She said the music will reflect the diverse cultural backgrounds of the residents of the two towns and trace their journeys to the area.

    "Here we've come from all over the world," Albright said. She said some of the music will mimic the sound of the ocean. Parts will include "joyous sea music" as well as sounds that remind listeners of a "violent storm." Another, played on a recent day, brings to mind camels, sand and the sounds of the desert.

    Maplewood Mayor Fred Profeta said he's seen Albright in his community and is excited about the finished product, which he hopes will be played many times after its debut next summer.

    "It's a unique and really creative way to showcase what is really special about Maplewood and South Orange," he said. Profeta said community leaders work toward the goals of celebrating diversity and promoting a culture of "tolerance and acceptance." Through Albright's work, those values will be expressed in music, he said.

    Helping bring the new music to life will be Vicki Carter, a resident of Maplewood who is the associate conductor or the orchestra at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn.

    Carter said she expects rehearsals to begin early in the new year. She said her challenge will be organizing the numerous musicians expected to participate - including professionals, youth orchestras, drummers, bagpipers, gospel choirs and children's choirs.

    "It's very exciting and rewarding," Carter said. "I hope the audience will see this and be inspired. Maybe there will be one person whose life will be changed, who may be inspired to go into the arts as a career."

    It appears that Albright's visits to Maplewood and South Orange already have inspired a few people - including the students at Columbia High School.

    Ray Bilter is a 17-year-old aspiring composer who had a chance to play an original composition for a string quartet and get Albright's feedback.

    Bilter said he wants to submit the piece as part of a college application and was grateful Albright took the time to listen and answer his questions. "It's always great to work with a composer," he said.

    Columbia's band director, Chuck May, said the interaction has been a unique experience for his students. "They spend most of their days playing music by people they've never met or who are dead," he said. "This is an opportunity for them to learn more about the process of creating music."

    Albright, who began visiting the communities in March, said she has enjoyed teaching local musicians along the way - including members of an adult school class and a local youth orchestra.

    "I love working with professionals and kids," she said. "That experience and exposure is so wonderful. I hope to make a difference in their lives."





    Composer Selected for Continental Harmony Project
    Composer Selected to Create Original, Locally-Inspired Musical Suite

    Starting in March 2004, South Orange and Maplewood will host the community’s first composer-in-residence funded through a prestigious grant program of the American Composers Forum. Working through the Continental Harmony program, a diverse group of musicians from our two towns will come together around a common musical goal: to develop an original piece of music representing the two town community in collaboration with a guest composer.

    The Community Coalition recently announced the selection of a composer for the project. Janet Albright, a musician and composer based in Virginia and Germany, will live and work in South Orange and Maplewood over the next 18 months. Ms. Albright plans to immerse herself in the two towns, while uncovering the many musical resources that abound here.

    Working with local musical groups, ensembles, and performers, Ms. Albright will compose an original 30-40 minute suite for voice and instruments. Inspired by the history, culture, and people of South Orange and Maplewood, and the theme of liberty, the piece will debut at a community-wide celebration on July 3rd, 2005.

    The local music groups who will be joining the Continental Harmony project include: Opera for the Young, the Stirling Chamber Orchestra, the Voices of Harmony Choir, the Youth Orchestras of Essex County, Maplewood Community Bands, ensembles and choirs from our elementary and secondary schools, and the South Orange/Maplewood Adult School, as well as many local professional musicians.

    In addition to South Orange/Maplewood, five other communities were selected to participate in the Continental Harmony project this year. They include Dothan, Alabama; Alexandria, Louisiana; Carson City, Nevada; and Wise, Virginia.

    For further information, please contact the Community Coalition at 973-761-6116.





    South Orange/Maplewood Selected For a National New Music Commissioning Project
    South Orange/Maplewood has been selected to participate in Continental Harmony, a community-building music project sponsored by The American Composers Forum.

    The towns were among a group of communities representing six states, which were chosen to host a composer over the next two years. The Community Coalition on Race, the grant’s recipient, recently formed a committee to select a composer from a national pool of applicants.

    The winning composer will spend six weeks living in South Orange/Maplewood over the next year. The artist will work closely with local schools, churches, and musical organizations to develop an original suite for voice and instruments, inspired by the two towns. The musical piece will debut on July 3rd 2005, at a community wide eve-of-Independence -Day event.

    “We feel extremely honored that our towns have been selected for this prestigious award,” said Barbara Heisler Williams, executive director of Community Coalition. “This experience will give us all an opportunity to come together through music and express what is truly unique about South Orange and Maplewood.”

    The Coalition’s composer selection committee, which is made up of local residents representing a broad range of musical interests and experiences, is in the process of reviewing applications. So far, 20 artists from around the country have applied to work here on the Continental Harmony project. Over the next few months, the committee plans to identify a composer whose artistic skill and style match the needs of the community. Once a composer is commissioned, he or she will begin a period of residency, working with community members of all ages, learning about the towns, and sharing the experience of living here while engaging in the creative process of developing a piece of music.

    A roster of local organizations slated to work on the project includes Opera for the Young, the Stirling Chamber Orchestra, the Voices of Harmony Choir, the Youth Orchestras of Essex County, Maplewood Community Bands, ensembles and choirs from our elementary and secondary schools, and the South Orange/Maplewood Adult School, as well as many local, professional musicians who will join in.

    In addition to South Orange/Maplewood, the five other communities have been selected in the current round of Continental Harmony projects. Included are Dothan, Alabama, Alexandria, Louisiana, Carson City, Nevada, and Wise, Virginia.

    Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, The American Composers Forum pioneers projects that actively involve communities and composers. Continental Harmony is part of a leadership initiative sponsored by the Forum and the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional funding provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Marshall Field’s Project Imagine with support from the Target Foundation.

    For further information, please contact the Community Coalition on Race at 973-761-6116.





    Coalition/Adult School Partnership Continue Two Towns Study Circle Program.
    The Coalition and the Adult School continue their partnership offering the Two Towns Study Circles Program in our community. Study circles provide a simple way to involve community members in dialogue and action on important social and political issues.

    A study circle:
  • is a small, diverse group, usually 8 to 12 participants;
  • meets regularly over a period of 6 weeks to address a critical public issue in a democratic and collaborative way;
  • sets its own ground rules for a respectful, productive discussion;
  • is led by a facilitator who is impartial, who helps manage the deliberation process, but is not an "expert" or "teacher" in the traditional sense;
  • looks at an issue from many points of view;
  • does not require consensus, but uncovers areas of agreement and common concern;
  • progresses from a session on personal experience of the issue, to sessions providing multiple viewpoints, to a session that looks at strategies for action.



    The Two Towns Study Circles Program will bring diverse people together for dialogue and action. While study circles can address many different issues, our circles will begin with discussions on race. We understand that, to make meaningful progress, many people have to take part in defining the issues and then finding ways to address them. To start with, people of diverse backgrounds must engage in a dialogue to share their experiences, listen to one another, and build the kind of trust that is necessary for long-term change. And then, people need to devise practical actions and strategies for addressing racism and race relations.

    Productive dialogue goes beyond "getting along better" - racial issues have institutional and public dimensions that require collective action as well as individual change.

    Community study circles on race lead to:
    greater understanding and awareness;
    new interracial friendships and networks;
    new perceptions of community challenges; and, most important,
    new collaborative approaches to facing those challenges.

    The Two Towns Study Circles Program schedule for 2004 will be announced in the spring of 2004. Please watch this site for dates.

    Each circle will be led by one or more individuals trained in Study Circle facilitation. Participants are asked to commit to attending the six sessions. There is no fee to register or participate.

    For a registration form, please call 973-761-6116 ext. 8, leave your name, address, phone and fax (if available.)

    Register Online





    Coalition Honored by APA at National Conference
    The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race was honored at the conference of the American Psychological Association (APA) in Chicago, Illinois on August 24, 2002. The APA, working with the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA), identified two organizations in the United States to recognize for exemplifying principles for valuing diversity.

    "At the 2002 APA Convention, we held an award ceremony where the Promising Strategy Award for Valuing Diversity was presented to the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race and the YWCA of Tucson's Racial Justice Program." Ms. Lee continued, "These two outstanding organizations were recognized for their efforts to make their communities better places to live. They serve as models for all that value diversity and work to ensure equal treatment and access to resources and decisions for everyone."