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Come have lunch with me

main.jpgCome have lunch with me. 

No, seriously, it’s really that simple. I want you to come have lunch with me.

Let me tell you my reasoning behind that.

As nonprofit professionals, we understand the benefit of community and how it helps make our work meaningful. Many of us have seen first-hand how awe-inspiring it can be to have the feeling that our work is so much more impactful when it is community-led and community-driven. YNPN ensures that community building has the components of diversity, inclusion, and access in order to guide our actions and programming as YNPN members. However, how often are we individually undertaking these values in our own professional and personal lives? The idea is simple to understand but much more difficult to execute.

Working in community development has helped me understand that you cannot do community development from behind a desk. It’s not enough to say that you want to help from behind a screen; there have to be deliberate actions behind that support. People in the Twin Cities metropolitan area are aware of this fact, and they want to help out but might have difficulty putting these ideas into action.

In light of recent events, community members want to stand with communities that are susceptible to persecution, including, but not limited to, communities of color, the LGBTQ community, and those of other faiths. It’s fantastic to see this support, but, as a person of color who works in a community of color, I know that people from outside the community have a hard time making their way into the community. The support is there but with no clear way in linking to the communities that others want to help and support.

I am a transplant to Minnesota, and I grew up in the Southwest United States my entire life. In American Indian communities and many others like it, we value the idea that “visiting” grows and strengthens the community. There is no clear agenda in visiting; it’s just that, visiting with one another to check in and just talk about nothing in particular. It’s often joked that “Minnesota Ice” is a known occurrence but having come from a completely different part of the country, it can be hard to find a place in the community in the Twin Cities. I want to change that.

Nonprofit professionals and the community, in general, can no longer afford to say they want to support others but not follow through with their feelings. What I’m proposing is not a huge leap for anyone but an easy opportunity to engage with different communities.

Please have lunch with me. It’s really that simple. I think that having lunch is an easy opportunity to learn about one another, connect authentically, and learn all my theories on Season 2 of Westworld. If we can connect over a meal, I think that it will be easier to connect on more difficult issues, because we already have that foundation of understanding one another.  Come visit with me. I’ll learn about you, you’ll learn about me, and hopefully you’ll take this to others. Take that chance to invite someone to lunch and learn about them.

To make it easier, I’m including a Slottr link to sign up for a few dates that I want people to come to lunch with me. Slot yourself in, we’ll go to lunch, and learn that we have much more in common than not. I look forward to seeing you at lunch.

12/16 Update: All of Cole's slots filled up, but he STILL wants to have lunch with you! If you are interested, email lunchwithcole@gmail.com.


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