Host Todd Capps, left, speaker James Joyce lll, Dianne Travis-Teague and Geoff Greene at Coffee With a Black Guy. (Timothy Teague)

About 125 people came together to have a cup of coffee and talk about the issues of race and racism during an event called Coffee With a Black Guy, Sept. 7 at the Impact Hub in Santa Barbara.

By offering a time for the community to discuss some tough subjects, Santa Barbara resident, James Joyce III, who facilitated the conversation, took a stand to raise awareness about the festering issues that are typically looked over or peppered through American culture with pain and ignorance.

Joyce, a Maryland native, has extended himself as a servant of all — to come have Coffee with a Black Guy and talk openly with no judgement. The goal was simply – Coffee. Connection. Conversation. Santa Barbarans got together to share stories, talk, impart perspective, and listen and learn from fellow citizens of the world.

Joyce began convening these community conversations in July 2016 and has held them at various places throughout the Santa Barbara area. He has engaged with hundreds of people on an array of issues, but from the perspective of a black man.

To help allow space for these often uncomfortable conversations, Joyce encourages attendees to be respectful, be genuine, be willing to listen, be willing to feel something, and not seek to dominate with their own story.

“These sessions that James moderates keep getting better and better,” said Quienna Broadnax, founder/president, Santa Barbara Young Black Professionals. “It’s so refreshing, although sometimes challenging, to be able to be a part of an event in our community that prioritizes open and honest dialogue about race and racism.

“I think it’s great that people can join in on the conversation and ask questions, no matter where they are in their understanding of the topic. It’s James’ insistence on ‘progress, rather than perfection’ that I hope keeps people coming back.”

This event is presented by Pacifica Graduate Institute Alumni Association (PGIAA) in collaboration with the Santa Barbara City College Foundation and Lois & Walter Capps Project.

— WaveComm SB.