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Courageous conversations at Keti Koti Table Enschede

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How does the Dutch history of slavery and its consequences affect the here and now? That question was the focus of the Keti Koti Table, held on Thursday 28 September in Enschede's city hall. The table is a joint initiative of Gemeente Enschede and Hogeschool Saxion and University of Twente.

Over eighty people joined for the Twentse Keti Koti Table - a new tradition in the form of a meal where you discuss questions and exchange experiences together with tablemates. Participants reflected on prejudice, racism, and looked back as well as forward. Between courses, the Fri Yeye choir sang several songs related to the slavery past. The meeting was the starting point for Twente's activities as part of the National Slavery Remembrance Year.

The evening was about standing up against racism and inequality. "When you see that someone you know well is treated differently, purely because they are of colour, it affects you enormously," one of the participants put it. "You want to do something then, but at the same time you sometimes feel so powerless." The table guests also talked about what is needed for more equality: "And that starts with really hearing each other and listening to each other."

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The initiators look back on the meeting positively: "What it confirmed to us, is that we should above all talk less about people, but rather with each other," says Linda Pasqual-van der Landen, who is involved in organising the table on behalf of the University of Twente. "And most importantly, let's keep listening to each other. What we have seen here was great and deserves a follow-up."

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