Storm doesn’t stop Platform Summit

Pastor Camilla Washington address the participants in the first Platform Summit on Sept. 15.

Storm doesn’t stop Platform Summit
November 01
12:30 2018

Over 50 women in the midst of Tropical Storm Florence on Saturday, Sept. 15, defied the forecast of wind, flooding roads, and the actual downpour of rain, to attend the first Platform Summit at Whole Man Ministries Community Center, located on the campus of Whole Man Ministries Church in Winston-Salem.

Pastor Camilla Washington, who is black, and Claire Tuttle, who is white spearheaded the event. Both women met at a conference on race relations last year, and an unexpected close relationship formed from two strangers sitting next to each other, who began to talk. 

Between the two, talking and listening, grew a trust, and respect for each other; they soon realized they had more in common than differences. Because of this friendship, they felt a need to explore why there was such division between their races.  So after a few months, an idea of building bridges between the two races led to a vision Pastor Camilla called “The Platform Summit.” Tuttle invited 25 or so of her friends (mostly white) and Washington invited 25 or so of her friends (mostly black).

These women accepted the invitation to participate in an endeavor to learn more about the opposite race.  The 50- plus women came with an expectation of being part of a beginning, about making a change, one person at a time. Intelligent women from diverse backgrounds – Gentile, Jew, the gay community, Christians, Protestants all of different economical status – came together.   “This Summit electrified, and defied the status quo that we see in today’s culture,” Washington said.

“For three hours and 30 minutes, we were in a safe haven. Free to tell of ourselves, our experiences, our anxiety and our desire to say, ‘I want to learn, I am here to listen, to be part of the solution to a complex, sensitive situation that has gone on far too many years,” one woman said.

“I had the joy of hearing white women say to us who were black, that they could no longer sit on the sidelines, but were ready to get up and start a change, a movement,” said Pastor Washington.

Viewing a video about changes in the public school system of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in the 1960s (Voluntary Desegregation of Three Schools), spurred deeper conversations about race relations.  Dr. Dianne Norwood Lowery, who was featured in the film, told of her experience as a doctor regarding race relations.   

Later lunch was provided, the variety of food was matched only by the conversations that pursued as individual “meet and greets” took place while trying to eat and talk.

Afterward, “break outs” into groups of seven (selected by numbering), gave us a further chance to converse.  Each group was given a controversial picture and asked what they thought it meant. After discussion, a chosen responder gave a brief analysis of what it appeared to mean to the group.

After the Platform Summit concluded, two women were interviewed, black and white, who reached a consensus that many of the stereotypes and labels placed upon one another boil down to misunderstandings and lack of communication, and most of all fear.

“I left this summit with hope for mankind, and proud to be a woman.  There was no time for fashion tips or make-up (nor need for it), just love and respect for each other. You could see it in their faces and through comments left on the exit note cards.  I am eager to attend our next Platform Summit to learn more of my white sisters,” said Minister Dianne Norwood Lowery.

Pastor Washington plans to have the second Platform Summit in November. She may be contacted (336) 785-2080.

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