Pictured above: Fierce Women of Faith in a community march.

Edited by Sonya Lewis
May 7, 2018

Chicagoan Marcenia Janell Richards creates platforms and opportunities to share the principles of non-violence through her organization, Fierce Women of Faith. In 2017, Marcenia coordinated 15 tables — yes, 15! — on a variety of topics. The motivational speaker, teacher, author and host invited communities across the city to join her tables. She strives to help individuals channel anger and grief into activism, in solidarity with families and communities throughout Chicagoland.

What motivated you to sign up to host On the Table in 2018?

I am inspired and motivated to be an On the Table host because it’s an opportunity to meet community residents and people who are involved within their communities, doing great work, going unnoticed. At the table, we all have an opportunity to share our creative ideas about how to improve our communities in Chicago.”

Give a brief description of your table.

Great food and great conversation are on the menu for the various organizations participating in our On the Table  conversations. We have invited guests from Jewish synagogues, Englewood youth groups, Muslim organizations, Chicago Association of Women and Law Enforcement, CPD, Heal Thy Life Center and others.”

Pictured above: Marcenia Richards of Fierce Women of Faith, 2018 On the Table host.

We plan to meet at various locations around the city, including Soul Vegetarian Restaurant, Englewood Police District, Bronzeville Community Club House, and a rehab Center on the Near West Side. All of our tables will focus on topics that are important to bettering our communities, such as bridging the gap between Muslim and Christian women, finding freedom through reconciliation and drug use among youth.”

What excites you most about hosting On the Table?    

Meeting new people and hearing their stories and ideas to create better and safer communities.”

Pictured above: Guests at Fierce Women of Faith On the Table gathering on the city’s north side last year.

What are the challenges in your neighborhood?    

The challenge we face most within our community is the lack of resources. However, our community is very resilient. I have seen people be very creative and do more with less.”

What are the challenges in your neighborhood?    

There are many things I love about my community. One of the things I like most is the diversity of people in my neighborhood. There are people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures, with various beliefs. This brings home that Chicago is a very diverse city.”

What’s the number one goal you hope to accomplish with your guests?    

One of my primary goals I hope to accomplish with my guests is to garner their support in becoming proactive within our community. Often times, we react versus being proactive. Consequently, I hope to extract ideas on participants’ willingness to becoming proactive to participate in community building.”

What are your top 3 questions/conversation starters?    

  1. How do we bridge the gap between Christian and Muslim women?
  2. How do we establish trust between Chicago Police Department and the community?
  3. How youth can organize for a better and safer community?

Why are these issues important to you?   

If we are going to have safer and better communities, we need the communities’ participation and support.”

If you could invite a famous Chicagoan, living or deceased, to join your table who would that be and why?   

I would invite Mrs. Michelle Obama to join our table and gain her insight on how to work in harmony with women from across the spectrum, whose beliefs are all different.”

Describe your favorite table.   

With people I have never met before, experiencing new cultures and new foods.”