While we seem to be making some strides in our culture to be more accepting and tolerant of people who are different from ourselves, there also seems to be this counter balance of racial and social tensions that manifest in various ways from shootings, beatings, rioting, and intense debate.
Something has to change.
Catalyst believes in a different approach. While others are focused on winning a social war, we believe that it is more important to END the social war. That is, to create the kind of environment where people would not want to war with each other in the first place. It's okay to disagree with each other about issues, opinions, perspectives, and philosophies. But we cross the line when we dehumanize, demean, and demonize those "on the other side."
Can we take you to dinner?
1 Meal is our way of helping you to connect with others who are different from yourself. The program is simple:
- Sign up below and give us some basic demographic info about yourself.
- We'll pair you up with someone who is different from you.
- We'll take the two of you out for dinner. We'll do a short pre-dinner video interview so that you can share your anticipations. You have dinner with each other. Then we'll do a short post-dinner video interview so that you can share about the experience.
- We'll post the videos online just to inspire everyone else to do the same thing in their neighborhoods.
- After we've done several dinners, we'll gather everyone together as a larger group to give people an opportunity to meet each other, talk about their experience, and hopefully talk about an on-going friendship that resulted.
Empathy and Understanding Between People
Our goal is to build empathy and understanding between people who are different from each other. So that means we need to stick to some key guidelines:
- At dinner, seek to understand the individual as a person. Learn about him or her. That's the primary goal.
- Do not debate your perspective about an issue. Rather, ask questions for the purpose of understanding the other person's perspective. When both individuals are doing that, each has the opportunity to share about themselves without the need to be defensive.
- Be a good listener; don't just wait for someone to finish talking. Utilize "active listening" skills. Here's a resource that can help you do that!
- Strive to appreciate the other person's experience of growing up and living the way they did. Use and apply empathy. Here's a resource that can help you do that!
Ready to Sign Up?
**UPDATE: this is no longer an active program.
Fill out the form below and we'll contact you when we're ready! We have zero budget for this right now and the 1 Meal program's creator is just paying for these dinners himself. So please be patient - we may start off with just trying to do one meal per week or a couple per month. BUT if you want to donate so that we can sustain this program and do more dinner pairs more frequently, you can pitch in and donate here!