Breaking Bread is a conversation series developed by Senior Fellow and 2020 Racial Equity Grantee Michael Scott and founding partner Kenneth Greenwood. Since then, Breaking Bread has brought on Senior Fellow Helen Kramer as its Managing Partner. The series assembles people with diverse identities, backgrounds and perspectives to facilitate conversations between them on controversial topics that they may not otherwise have the same view points on. Using both audio and video podcasting methods and platforms such as Clubhouse and YouTube, Michael and Helen will circulate information on prevailing social issues while helping to build empathy across diverse communities.
In order to address antagonistic and antipathetic beliefs surrounding controversial topics, Michael and Helen developed two core objectives for Breaking Bread:
- To build a model for transforming the pattern into a mutual exploration and constructive problem solving.
- To create a film, podcast and/or other media resources to expand the impact of the Breaking Bread model to reach communities beyond the DC-area.
Progress & Achievements
To achieve their objectives, Breaking Bread recruited two experts in the field of conflict transformation and diversity, equity, and inclusion to develop a full-day curriculum teaching DEI and Transformative Mediation through dialogue.
Michael and Helen hope to put an end to antagonistic and antipathetic attitudes towards controversial issues by increasing information and understanding of them across diverse communities.
In preparation for their Juneteenth conversation, Breaking Bread applied and received additional funding through the Interfaith Innovation Fellowship and participated in a two-day Professional Development Retreat with Resetting the Table – one of the leading experts in Political Dialogue facilitation.
Black Lives Matter | Clubhouse Trial Conversation
Breaking Bread led an hour-long “trial” conversation on Clubhouse to prepare for the Juneteenth Conversation which would be filmed.
Black Lives Matter | Juneteenth Conversation
Breaking Bread’s Juneteenth Conversation was the series’ first filmed full-day conversation between 5 participants from diverse backgrounds. This dialogue took place during the National Week of Conversation where the theme for this conversation was Black Lives Matter, a fitting topic considering the climate at the time.
Breaking Bread was able to reach 60 people nation-wide for the Clubhouse conversation to discuss the Purpose, Legacy, and Impact of the Black Lives Matter movement across political and racial differences.
The goals for the conversation were:
- To help participants understand where their differences lie;
- To help participants understand the origins of those differences;
- To help participants increase the love and respect they have for people whom they share irreconcilable differences.
Breaking Bread set out to achieve these goals by facilitating several structured activities and a conversation on the Purpose, Impact, and Legacy of Black Lives Matter.
Some of the values that Breaking Bread instilled during conversations between participants were:
- To be able to disagree and still keep talking;
- To assume good intentions by others;
- To listen and understand;
- To understand that disagreement and hate are not the same thing;
- To feel comfortable using the wrong words (imperfection doesn’t make you a bigot);
- To practice humility and be open to learning;
- To extend undeserved favor to each other;
- To understand that insulting those you disagree with isn’t persuasive.
Breaking Break formed several partnerships with leaders in the field including Interfaith Youth Core, Resetting the Table, Listen First Coalition, the New York Police Department, the City of Rockville and the Howard County Public Library.
Breaking Bread was invited to join the Listen First Coalition – a leading organization transforming division and contempt into connection and understanding.
Michael Scott was invited to Humanity in Action‘s Unapologetic: The John Lewis Legacy and the Fierce Urgency of the Now conference in July of 2021. Together with Helen Kramer, they spoke about Breaking Bread’s methodology for capturing differing viewpoints for their upcoming dialogue on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Currently, Breaking Bread is editing their film and fact-checking statements made during their Juneteenth conversation. The team hopes to have this film used as a Bridge Building tool for future conversations in classrooms and professional settings.
Updated April 2022