New York City Mayor Eric Adams held his mayoral administration’s first “Breaking Bread, Building Bonds” Initiative on January 24th. The initiative will be implemented across the city and will serve the purpose of fighting the increase in hate crimes by bringing together the diverse people of New York City. Breaking Bread will see 1,000 meals involving 10-12 different and diverse New Yorkers at each meal.
“Hate is a virus, fueled by the failure to see our common bonds, but we are going to do something revolutionary to eradicate this hate: Break bread and talk to each other,” said Mayor Adams about the Breaking Bread Initiative. “This year, we are going to organize 1,000 meals and conversations across the city, bringing everyday New Yorkers from different backgrounds together to listen and learn from each other. No matter where we are from, who we love, what religion we worship, or what language we speak, we are all bound together by one thing: We are all New Yorkers, and together, we are going to defeat the pipeline of hate.”
The “Breaking Bread, Building Bonds” initiative will be organized by The People’s Supper (TPS), UJA Federation of New York, and other community-based organizations. These organizations will give everyday residents of New York the opportunity to host these dinners and create bonds within their communities. The TPS will also work with the Mayor’s Office to Prevent Hate Crimes (OPHC), the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit (CAU), and the Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnership (OFCP) to provide training, support, and coaching to those hosting Breaking Bread dinners. A resource guide and toolkit will be developed and connect participants to hosts. Reimbursements for residents who host the 10-12 people dinner will go up to $150 and will be paid for by the UJA Foundation.
Coming Together in Unity
“We fight racism and prejudice through opportunities like this to listen and learn from one another, and there is no better way to do that than by sharing a meal,” said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks III. “This program invites New Yorkers to challenge their biases by stepping out of their comfort zones and echo chambers and stepping into someone else’s shoes.”
The Breaking Bread Initiative will build on the foundation of a similar program that was launched by Mayor Adams, who was Brooklyn Borough President at the time, and U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries in January 2020. The initiative was launched to combat hate at a time when anti-Semitic acts were on a high. The inaugural dinner of this program in 2020 took place in Jackson Heights during what was Peace Week.
Frankie Miranda, President, and CEO of the Hispanic Federation spoke positively of the initiative. “The strength of our city is found in our diversity. New Yorkers must cultivate and respect this feature that makes us the most unique city in the world,” he said. “With ‘Breaking Bread, Building Bonds,’ the Adams administration is doing its part to not only combat hate but build meaningful relationships in our community that celebrate our great diversity. Together, through this initiative, we are creating stronger and safer communities across the five boroughs.”