Introduction to the Know Your Neighbor: Multifaith Encounters Program

Know Your Neighbor: Multifaith Encounters (KYN-ME) is a national grassroots interfaith program that is the outgrowth of the Know Your Neighbor coalition of around 15 groups that was launched at the White House in December 2015 to work on policy concerning civil rights.

Founded on American values of religious freedom, pluralism, and inclusion, and motivated by a desire to build peaceful communities at the grassroots level through community engagement, the KYN-ME program was created by Islamic Networks Group (ING) in February 2016 to promote understanding and mutual respect among Americans of diverse religious and ethical traditions.

KYN-ME has grown into a collaborative effort of 100 partners with diverse missions and objectives who work together on campaigns that push back against bigotry and discrimination while promoting civil dialogue across differences, building relationships and peaceful communities, and advancing human rights and justice.

“There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story. ”― Mary Lou Kownacki

One of the most powerful methods of getting to know our neighbors is through the act of sharing stories. While those around us may know a bit about us—our job, our family members, our hobbies—there is often much about peoples’ lives that is hidden below the surface. When we give those around us the opportunity to express themselves and share in a creative way, we develop empathy for them at a deeper level.

The purpose of this event is to use storytelling to get to know others across cultural differences. By picking a topic and bringing community members together, we can allow deep and lasting bonds to develop beyond a superficial level and begin to see those of different backgrounds from our own in a new light.
What would this event look like?

This event should be a fun-filled evening in which community members come to get to know others better across differences and to bond over wonderful entertainment.

We encourage you to take this idea and adapt it to best suit your community, but here are a few aspects that we think are important.