Bread Breakers Project

The Bread Breakers project uses bread to help people take one small step toward being compassionate and understanding. Participants at Bread Breakers events receive a loaf of Chabaso bread for responding to our Bread Breakers question set, bulleted below, and are encouraged to listen to the responses of other participants. Bread Breakers recordings are archived at the Library of Congress with the help of the non-profit organization StoryCorps. The full archive of Bread Breakers conversations is available here.




  • How did your childhood shape your view of the world today?
  • Can you talk about a time you experienced doubt over your beliefs?
  • Is there someone with whom you disagree but still respect?


"I grew up in the 90's during a lot of economic prosperity, so I think that gave me kind of an optimistic outlook." >
"I think having one of my daughters being involved in Hillary's campaign was very empowering." >
"Currently I'm a civics teacher for high school--I teach American Politics, so I try to be unbiased in teaching our youth" >
"One scene that struck me the most was there was a helicopter leaving Vietnam, and there was a ladder of people." >
"I came from an all white area, and going there [UMBC] just opened my mind to other diversity which I had never encountered" >
"Everything that I've done has shaped everything I do today," >
"The election of Donald Trump turned me into a political activist." >
"Sometimes my religious beliefs get in the way of my actual thinking about politics." >
"I do disagree with some coworkers on some beliefs but I do still respect them." >
"I disagree a lot, and I respect a lot." >
"His family is having a difficult time staying in the country as of recently, so that sort of changed how I looked at things." >
"Being both socially liberal, as well as economically and fiscally liberal is not typical usual for an Indian American family." >
"Women didn't have a lot of rights in the '50s and 60's. They started to come around in the 70s." >
"I feel that attending college in a big city really helped out." >
"I'm gonna be honest, I'm not really a political person." >
"They didn't even have a soccer team for girls in Milford growing up, and that was really kind of sad," >
"People are less willing and able to breach their comfort zone in order to think about how does the other person think/feel." >
"Not everything is serious, not everything is life or death. Have a perspective. Don't be afraid to laugh." >
"My childhood was filled with every want and need I could ask for, so my view of the world was 'everything and everywhere else was the same'" >
"Well, I tend to be pretty central in my political views: not too far left not too far right." >
"I grew up sort of in this bubble, which I think kind of insulated me from politics for a long time." >
"I have patients that are losing their homes because of medical bills," >
"When I was five, my mom and my aunt took me to a John Kerry rally in 2004 when he was running for president." >
"My parents were pretty strict--it's totally different than when I was a kid." >
"When I moved to North Haven in 1965, and I realized that I was 'other'." >
"Growing up in an Italian-Catholic family, with immigrant parents, helped me to see the world through a blue-collar lens." >
"The positive view of the world from my parents." >
"I grew up in a house where there were so many pictures of John F. Kennedy that I thought he was a relative." >
"My mother refused to rent a house to a physics professor with a PhD from Trinity because he was black, so I became very Liberal." >
"I'm open minded. My mother said 'Just love everything. Experience everything. Be open minded.'" >
"I did not care in anyway about politics before I started thinking about where the world is headed" >
"I think being around some racist people in college, made me realize there's a lot to be done." >
"I think that it was my neighborhood that helped me shape my politics," >
"Well, I had a really crappy childhood, so, I guess, taking my experiences from my childhood, I see the world differently." >
"When I used to live in Virginia, there was a lot of homeless people where I used to live, so seeing that kinda shaped my politics." >
"At this particular point, I'm very positive; I'm not very scared of anything." >
"Political willpower sometimes isn't enough to trump some of those more urgent moments of inequality." >
"An experience that shaped my politics would be growing up in Britain with parents with socialist ideas." >
"The bombing of Cambodia in 1969 shaped my politics." >
"My parents were one Republican, one Democrat. They argued at the dinner table all the time." >
"What shaped my politics was the Black Panther Trial that went on here in New Haven in 1969," >
"Fragile. Life is fragile." >
"Basically, what I got out of that experience was that racial harmony is a really important thing that can affect anyone." >
"How do I encourage conversation across the divide, having been on both sides of it?" >
"I think actually being named Samuel Adams was probably an experience that shaped my politics," >
"I grew up here in New Haven, and theres a lot of diversity in New Haven, and for the most part, I think we all get along pretty well." >
"A lesson from my parents is hard work and treat people with honesty and respect." >
"I'd say my aunts shaped my political views because they are very involved in politics." >
"My mother did face some prejudice and fought through that growing up." >
"Making sure you keep an eye out for other people and always assess what you can do for others." >
"She was very influential because she said you have to be a strong woman and protect your family". >
"The most influential person in my life was my sister who taught me to never give up." >
"I was pretty uninspired by politics growing up" >
"My parents have taught me to always smile in the face of adversity." >
"There's always a way forward." >
"My dad taught me to always be prepared." >
"I think the lessons I learned best are from errors I experienced with them." >
"I think that open mindedness and curious mentality was really important." >
"I realized the lessons they were teaching me were more important than the examples they were showing me." >
"The most influential person in my life was one of my supervisors in grad school." >
"If this is the worst thing that happens today then it's a good day." >
"My parents taught me hard work pays off; we grew up on a farm." >
"This most recent election has been fascinating for me." >
"He said that hard work will always beat skill and natural ability." >
It's under-appreciation of opinions of young people." >
"The most influential people, believe it or not, are my children." >
"This too shall pass, anything you're going through, tomorrow's another day." >
"My father would always say don't walk away from a fight." >
"My mother told me to be careful, watch people, make sure you're >
"Thats really the best lesson: respect others as I wanted them to respect me." >
"I have a sister who's 15 years older than me who was very liberal." >
"In general, food is very important in a family," >
"The most important thing I learned from my mom was how to cook," >
"What ever you decide to do in life, try to do it the best that you can." >
"The most influential people in my life were the nuns that taught us in grade school." >
"as long as you can understand where they're coming from, that makes you a better person, by proxy." >
"My parents taught me to be respectful, kind, and caring." >
"From a very young age I couldn't stand the way he talked about things." >
"She taught me humility, generosity, grace, poise." >
"I learned a lot about what I don't want to do from my parents." >
"We celebrate a lot of American holidays, but also keep Cambodian traditions alive." >
"The feeling of being in the US, I realy like being here," >
"We have plenty of religion holidays," >
"I've been carrying the tradition with my dad since then," >
"I got lucky and won the green card lottery, and now I am here," >
"We do well and do kindly to provide support systems for people who come here," >
"Having the opportunity to tell this story and relate it to modern issues was a no-brainer," >
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