About Table Talk
What is Table Talk?
The Table is a community, resource, and point of connection for self-identifying people of color. The events take place in public places, (co-working, or event spaces). The goal of these gatherings is for folks to network and share lived experiences.
The mechanism of the Table is indigenous. In this way, many attendees can connect to their own indigeneity, whilst also exploring teachings of First Peoples. This serves as an important reminder that everyone has a different lived experience, and communal exchange is foundational for support. There is no pressure to speak, only a requirement of promoting safety and encouraging those around us to do the same.
The Faces Behind Table Talk
Table Talk Host
Parker Johnson is an adoptee from Savannah Georgia, who has grown up on the Traditional Territories of the Lekwungen People.
Parker holds a bachelors of Arts with a major in Psychology from the University of Victoria with Minor in Education. For the past for several years, Parker has frontline experience doing community inclusion, and working as a Youth Support Worker within group homes.
It was in 2019 Parker came up with the idea for This is Table Talk, which began as a men's circle, and soon expanded into a community platform as a way to decolonize conversations within his local community. Parker had a goal of reminding people that they have a voice and that it is worth hearing.
Using his education and past experience, Parker uses this platform to create safe spaces that promote relational acts of kindness, validating participants' experiences through the power of storytelling.
The simple act of breaking bread and sharing stories is what has historically brought us together. My motivation is to help foster deep relationships with eachother. Explore identities, communication styles, and create a deeper understanding of the lands that we are visitors on.
Table Talk Host
Table Talk Key Facilitator
Vishnu Punwani is a biracial individual, on his maternal side he is Jamaican and on his paternal side, he is East Indian. Born in Jamaica, Vishnu had been predominately raised in Victoria, BC.
Recently Vishnu graduated from the University of Victoria with a Major in Psychology and a Minor in Education. Vishnu plans now to further his education by pursuing a Masters of Psychology with a focus on clinical counselling.
Back in 2019, when Parker first brought up the idea for Table Talk, Vishnu knew that this was a platform that he had to be apart of. Since then Vishnu has taken on the role of being Key Facilitator for all Table Talk events.
Table Talk has opened up Vishnu to a new community, one that shared similar experiences as him and has broadened his knowledge about himself and the community.
Table Talk is a platform that reminds people that they have a voice and that their voice is important. Everyone deserves to be heard. Here at Table Talk we want to hear everyone’s voice and give them a safe space to do so.
Table Talk Key Facilitator
How It Works
We utilize an Indigenous conversational mechanism called, The Kitchen Table.
Each event is thematic in nature, whether we are discussing anti-racism in schools or in our workplace. Climate change, or barriers in the arts. Marginalized voices are always prioritized those who don’t identify as BIPOC (black, Indigenous, person of colour).
These conversations are informal and gives everyone a chance to participate in decolonization. What does it feel like to share space? And recognize our levels of privilege? What does conversation sound like when we leave our baggage at the door, and encourage each other to validate everyone's experience.
Table Talk Online
We use Zoom as a medium, with our registration being done through Eventbrite. Conversations last an hour, with a debrief afterward, for everyone to network, listen to music, dance, and eat what food is left!
Kitchen Table Mechanism
A Table in the center, and a witnessing circle around the perimeter. The topics is chosen beforehand. Key speakers start off the conversation. As the discussion progresses, speakers fall back to the witnessing circle, and listeners take a seat at the Table to join in.