CCR to hold virtual Coffeehouse Discussions

SOUTH ORANGE / MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition will hold a Coffeehouse Discussion in a two-part virtual format on Thursdays, July 9 and 16, from 7 to 9 p.m. via Zoom. The discussion has been titled “Journey To Anti-Racism Deepening Our Commitment.” These sessions are free and open to the public; participants must RSVP at

People across the nation are being galvanized by the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. The SOMA community has seen unprecedented protests and an outpouring of support for racial equity. At the same time, many people are confused, almost paralyzed with indecision. “How can I be a better ally?” “What concrete actions can I take to support BLM?” The Community Coalition on Race will provide a safe space, moderated by trained facilitators, to ask questions, discuss issues around race and learn actionable steps to take to promote social justice.

“We are using proven psychological models to help identify people’s current feelings, and help them find simple actions they are comfortable with to get our community closer to racial equality,” said Barbara Velazquez, a CCR member with a doctorate in clinical psychology.

“It’s scary talking about race. It makes people uncomfortable. Believe me, we get that,” CCR Program Director Audrey Rowe said. “But we’ve found that when people address their discomfort in the right environment, it almost always empowers them to grow and to take action.”

A participant from the Coalition’s May Coffeehouse Discussion shared, “I felt the positive energy, in that the participants in my small group — as well as the presenters — really believed that we could make a difference in these areas.”