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Holy City Sinner: MLK Beloved Community Dinner: Uniting Diners Around the Table

Transformation Table and YWCA Greater Charleston are pleased to announce the MLK Beloved Community Dinner, their first event hosted by Transformation Table Lowcountry, a collaborative partnership between Transformation Table and YWCA Greater Charleston. The event will be held on Friday, January 12th, 2024, from 7 pm to 10 pm, on the hallowed grounds of the International African American Museum (IAAM), 14 Wharfside St., in downtown Charleston.

“Food has always been the conduit to our culture and our history,” notes Dr Tonya Matthews, president and CEO of IAAM. “But the sharing of food is the conduit to the community – and I have always believed that breaking bread together is a shortcut to the human heart. I am humbled and delighted that IAAM, on this sacred site of Gadsden’s Wharf, will be the site of Transformation Table Lowcountry’s inaugural event”.

The evening features the cuisine of Senegalese and French Chef Bintou N’Daw, founder of the renowned Bintü Atelier in Charleston’s East Side neighborhood. Chef N’Daw will share her philosophy surrounding her cuisine: “Cooking and eating are an important part of the universal ritual of love. By curating authentic African dishes, I’m aiming to honor and bring the ancestors to the table so they can nurture and inspire the bright future of the African diaspora.”

Sponsored by IAAM, the dinner embodies the vision of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Beloved Community – a space of social equity, belonging, and freedom from prejudice. Driven by the concept of philosopher Josiah Royce and championed by Dr. King, the event seeks to break down divisions and forge unique connections among diners.

“Transformation Table is the response to a challenge that Dr. King’s daughter, Dr. Bernice King, issued on the first anniversary of the Mother Emanuel AME Church mass shooting,” says Tina L. Singleton, founder of Transformation Table. She emphasized the importance of understanding each other, transcending differences, and fostering intimacy. Singleton notes, “We believe that if more people in communities around the globe with different backgrounds, perspectives, and life experiences would come together around the table to see, hear, and understand one another, we can fight the dehumanization of others that is so rampant in the world now.”

“The addition of the MLK Beloved Community Dinner to our MLK Celebration week gives us another opportunity to honor Dr. King’s vision, where injustice ceases and love prevails,” adds LaVanda Brown, executive director of YWCA Greater Charleston, echoing Dr. King’s words. “We look forward to making this dinner an annual MLK Celebration event.”

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