BROOKLYN, New York (WABC) -- The phrase is "breaking bread," but it might be better described as "merging bread," or if you like the alliteration, "baking bread," as it is a metaphor for bringing people together.
It's a metaphor that is very familiar to New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
On Thursday, a 'Breaking Bread, Building Bonds' dinner was hosted at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
It is a tradition that Mayor Adams has maintained since he was borough president. One that involves hosting lunches for religious and civic leaders to talk about the common roots of their problems.
As mayor, Adams is now formalizing this lunchtime tradition, turning from lunch to dinner, and turning to the community to increase the outreach of the program. Adams aims to train others to bring disparate groups together.
Each of the attendees will host their own, smaller dinner, with approximately 10 guests. The hope is that each of those 10 guests will then host their own dinners, with 10 more people, with each dinner breaking more bread and building more bonds.
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Hundreds of volunteers attended Thursday's dinner, in an aim to advance the mayor's vision of bringing people together to combat the fear that can sometimes divide the city.
"That fear creates hostility," Adams said. "And that's what we want to do with our young people, just engage people in conversation."
Through 'Breaking Bread, Building Bonds,' people from diverse backgrounds come together to learn about one another. Adams hopes their understanding of each other will lead to tolerance and appreciation.
"The understanding, it really tears down the walls and allows us to better respect," Adams said.
"It's great to be able to sit at a table with folks who represent different communities.. and to be able to have a conversation... on who we are, and what we care about," said Hassan Navid from the Office of Prevention of Hate Crimes.
The hope is that through food and conversation, said Adams, "We start to say 'wow,' we are the same."
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