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Julie Murphy hosts Bread Breakers dinners to give community members a chance to learn from one another.

Julie Murphy hosts Bread Breakers dinners to give community members a chance to learn from one another.

Julie Murphy

+ Parent

Murphy hopes to build community through personal dialogue

After the most recent election, Clayton parent Julie Murphy felt a calling that she never had before. “Before, I never felt pressured … And now I just, I can’t watch the news and know that I am doing nothing.”
In the past, Murphy volunteered for mayoral elections and participated locally, but she believes that this particular political season struck her more than anything ever before it.
“What I took so seriously is the fact that President Trump could use such hateful rhetoric throughout the whole election cycle, and he still won the vote. I think it unleashed the atmosphere that welcomed, or allowed people to act badly or wrongly. Whether its antisemitic, sexist, xenophobic, whatever, he unleashed this cloud of evil,” Murphy said. “Because he won with that, he is like a bully, and now the bully won, and it is allowing people to feel more justified in acting the way he does. That’s what bothers me more than anything.”
With the help of four other women – Mona Helmy, Jackie Butler, Dana Jones and Danijela Boric – the group known as the Bread Breakers came to be.
Originally, the group began with 15 people with various backgrounds meeting for the first time at Murphy’s home for dinner and discussion.
The guests were all strangers except for the group leaders.
“There is something very natural about sitting at a table, having a meal, talking to the person next to you and learning about them and what their life is like. Usually at the end of every meal, we will bring up a particular topic, such as the immigrant ban or systemic racism. A lot of the time, the people sitting at the table who [the topic] affects the most are really the ones who lead the discussion. It’s really a privilege to get to hear from them, and often they have really good ideas for what we can do that I never would have thought of,” Murphy said.
The idea was that people could come together in support of each other and learn more about others instead of retreating into their own experiences.
“At the end of the night, I think a lot of people leave feeling either more hopeful or more supported because they really got to have a group of people listening to what their personal issue is based on their culture, or I feel more empowered to go out and either be stronger in speaking about that, or I’ve learned an action that I can do to help alleviate the problem.”
Murphy explained that a lot of her motivation stemmed from the effect that the election has had on her children and their friends.
“I think about my kids’ friends who are of color, or who are Muslim, and they are scared. I have a third and a fourth grader, so they are only exposed to a certain amount of media. They also (through school and their teachers and some media) heard Donald Trump speak and they knew that he did things that they would have gotten in trouble for doing. They knew that. So to have to explain to them that our country voted for this man, was really hard,” Murphy said.
Murphy emphasizes that people need to take action and not just watch.
“You have to be a good member of society and actually do something to change it,” Murphy said.
Although Murphy holds strongly democratic views, she believes in the power of discussion and that it is important to listen to others, because everyone comes from different circumstances which influence the way they think.
“I also think that it is important that I always tell my kids, because they know that not everyone voted for Hillary Clinton like I did, but that’s what great about our country,” Murphy said. “I always tell them that in America, you can have your own opinions and you can vote for them, and that is what makes America great.”

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