What's on your mind?

Q: How did AFC start?

2017 was a painful year of rising hate, division and intolerance in America. Out of a desparate need to do something positive, I posted the following message on my personal Facebook page:


“Hello all. With the current mood in the nation of divisiveness, I want us to take steps towards unity. In the spirit of spending some time getting to know one another and celebrating the diversity that makes us stronger as a community / country, I propose a meet up this weekend.


I’m suggesting meeting up in a public place for a cup of coffee and real conversation about our experiences as people in America, our hopes, concerns and really anything that is on our minds. Male, female, gay, straight, Muslim, Christian, liberal, conservative etc. are all welcome. The more diversity and different opinions the better!


And this will be a safe environment! No hate speak. No violence. The idea is to discuss not to argue and to talk not to yell. If this sounds good to you just PM me and we will work out the time and place. I look forward to meeting you all and becoming a better person by knowing you!

- Patrick”


This invitation to “meet up” turned into a 2 hour conversation between people of differing opinions that was thought provoking and therapeutic for everyone. It was a true “lightbulb moment” for me that this could be the start of something much bigger...  

Q: What is a “Meet Up”?

A: A “Meet Up” is simply a scheduled gathering of people in a safe environment where they can honestly discuss a variety of topics that are typically controversial, e.g., Religion, Immigration, Race, Gender, etc. These are led by an AFC facilitator and usually last 60 - 90 minutes.


All opinions are welcome and have an equal right to be heard. The goal is not necessarily to change someone’s mind on a certain topic, but rather to expose them to other opinions they might not otherwise have heard.

 

Here are the ground rules: 

  • Come with your opinions but also with an open mind.
  • No hate speak – We are here to discuss not to argue and to talk not to yell. 
  • No violence of any kind. 
  • The consumption of alcohol is discouraged - Clear headed discussions are much more productive. 

Q: Who are all the people I see on this site?

A: All of our photos are of real people leading real lives from across the globe. Authentic diversity is our goal and we NEVER use stock images. Families, friends and many folks we may not have had the pleasure to meet in person were kind enough to share  these with AFC. 


This will be a rotating story of humanity that will be regularly updated as more photos come in. So, if you would like to be featured on our home page, send a few of yours to patrick@afriendlychat.org


Q: What are those painted bricks featured on your website?

A: These are photos taken in Prague of the Beneficial Brick Initiative. It is a charity fundraiser benefiting the mentally handicapped where visitors from all over the world buy and paint bricks that are then added to this unique public art installation.


We thought the spirit of borderless charity and love really spoke to what AFC is trying to achieve. And it is an absolutely beautiful visual statement!


http://www.beneficialbrick.org/about-us/

Q: I want to be involved but live in a different state. What can I do?

A: With your help, AFC plans to schedule events nationally, and later globally as interest and funding permits. If you could find enough people who would firmly commit to meeting up for a few hours (let's say minimum of 8 folks) just email us. We can work out the details and come to your town for a chat! 


But until then, we appreciate any contributions to our website – A personal story for the "Our Voices" page, family / cultural photos for the home page collage, suggestions for other like minded sites we can feature links to, etc.


And please spread the word locally to help us raise awareness across the country. It is PEOPLE LIKE YOU who take a few minutes out of your day to help move this initiative forward that really make the difference! 


 Thank you so much for your interest and support!!

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