A deep concern about the rise of violence, discord and unrest in our nation drove the decision by I-LEAD to design an initiative, called the PeaceBread Project. The PeaceBread is an effort that seeks to build community through gatherings where people with conflicting views literally break bread together.

Imagine:
A police officer stops a driver… no weapon visible in the car, yet the officer draws a gun…

An assassin hides on a highrise roof… aims a rifle at an officer in the streets below…

A terrorist wearing an explosive device heads toward a crowded shopping mall…

A drone pilot flies an unmanned missile toward a target known to contain both enemy combatants and innocent bystanders…

An angry spouse threatens to strike a blow over a marital disagreement…

A drug-dealer plans to murder a local competitor…

And you can probably think of many more…

What do these situations share? They all share the threat of force and violence employed as a tool to achieve a human interest: security, revenge, defense, gain, desire, advantage, fear… the objectives that humans attempt to advance through the use of force and violence are many and diverse.

In the face of humanity’s obsession with power, force and violence, and in view of the reality that humans have fundamental (perhaps even natural) violent propensities, what can we do, in practical,  mundane terms, to find a better way forward? What can we do to bring forth into the world more patience, love, collaboration and shared creativity? What practical, local action could every person take, through easily achievable at the local level?

Enter the PeaceBread project, with a simple, straightforward idea: break bread together to build community across volatile boundaries that threaten escalating conflict. This means breaking bread—actually sharing a meal and a meaningful conversation—with our “opponents,” people who may have objectives, beliefs, values or practices with which we disagree. This means spending time attempting to build understanding and mutual respect across potentially sharp differences, thereby reducing hard feelings, extremism and the tendency toward violence.

Click here to learn more about the PeaceBread project and join or host a gathering. 

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