'Speed Friending' event planned at Merrill

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BELOIT - In an era of political and social divisiveness, the Diversity Action Team of Rock County is hoping to bring people together to eliminate these divides.

The organization is hosting a Speed Friending event to bring the community together from 6:30 - 8 p.m. on Tuesday at the Merrill Community Center, 1428 Wisconsin Ave.

Katie Udell, Diversity Action Team member, said this is the second Speed Friending event the organization has hosted. She said the event fits in with the mission of the Diversity Action Team, to eliminate racism and discrimination in the community.

"The more we understand and meet each other and break down the barriers with meeting people the better it is for the community," Udell said.

She said the first Speed Friending event was in December of 2017 and was a success with just over 50 participants. Udell said most people tend to not have a very diverse social circle, and this event is a fun way to help people find a more diverse group of friends.

"The whole point is to meet new people you may not have met in your daily lives and may be outside your social circle," Udell said.

She said the event works like speed dating, where there will be one-on-one conversations for five minutes before people rotate onto the next person.

The event is for all ages, but she recommends that participants be high school age or older. One addition this year is that there will be fish bowls with topics at each of the tables to keep participants engaged in if the conversation stalls. There also will be snacks for attendees.

Program sponsors include: Yellow Brick Road, the Janesville Police Department's African American Liaison Advisory Committee and Latino Liaison Advisory Committee, the Beloit League of Women Voters, Justice Overcoming Borders, Hedberg Public Library, Community Action and the organization's fatherhood Program and YWCA of Rock County.

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