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Your Guide To Finding Your Tribe In A New City

Love & Relationships

Making friends as an adult is hard.

It just is.


Growing up, our friends were made mostly out of convenience. Whether they lived down the block, or we saw them all day at school, you could meet your best friend in minutes. But now that we're older, busier, and seek more authentic connections, friendship-building can be challenging - especially if you relocate to a new city.

As someone who has moved to two major cities twice in just four years, I know this feeling all too well. After college, all my good friends scattered across the U.S., so I really had to start from square one. It's true that your vibe attracts your tribe, but sometimes you have to do a little more leg work to find your crew. Here are some suggestions on finding your new tribe.

Local Events

Friendships are formed for a lot of reasons, but the strongest basis for a friendship is shared interests. Therefore, seek out events where you might meet like-minded individuals. If you're into art, look up local art shows or sign up for a pottery class. If you're into sports, join a competitive club. You're bound to meet someone cool.

There are a few websites that will make finding local events a lot easier. I relied heavily on these sites my first few months in NYC and even now, I check occasionally to catch a cool gathering:

  1. I Don't Do Clubs - Events with young, black professionals in mind
  2. Time Out - Super reliable travel guide full of entertainment and culture
  3. EventBrite - Mostly party-oriented, but you can find some great gems here

There's an App for That

It wouldn't be 2018 if I didn't incorporate the digital world. These days, finding a friend is literally at that tip of your fingertips. Take a trip to the App Store and download the following:

  1. Meet-up - Even if you have a million friends, this is a great app. When I lived abroad, I joined a group called "N*ggas in Paris" and met some dope black expats and french people. The best thing about the app is the variety. From outdoor excursions to talks on tech, you will certainly connect with like-minded people.
  2. Bumble BFF - For some of you, this might sound weird, and yes, conceptually it is. But if you can swipe right on a man, you can do the same for a friend. Trying to make friends feels like dating anyway. Might as well use the same apps for it. *Kanye Shrug*
  3. Skout - The leading global app for meeting new people, this app prides itself on forming connections by serendipitous occasions. Made for solo travelers in mind, it connects you with people in your general vicinity for a quick meet up. Your new friend could be sitting in the same coffee shop as you!

Related: Black Book LA: The Black Millennial's Guide to Los Angeles

Church Groups

If you're religious and have already found a church home, this is a great place to meet people. But just attending church for a couple hours on Sunday will not do it. Join a ministry, the choir, or attend a day of service. As they say, friends that pray together, stay together!

Don't Discount Your Co-workers

I know we all try to separate work from social life but hear me out. Having the same career path is a strong enough commonality for a potential friendship. Not only will you have someone to vent to about your upcoming project, your boss or that weird colleague you can't stand together, but you can also help each other professionally. Ask them to grab food with you on your lunch break or even after-work cocktails. You never know if a friendship will blossom!

Phone a Friend

Running out of ideas? Get a recommendation! Ask your friends if they know of anyone in your current city. Think of it as a friendship by referral. When I first moved to New York, my college friend suggested I link up with her best friend from high school and now we're like peas and carrots.

Unfortunately, nothing comes easy as an adult, including making friends. No one is going to come knocking at your door asking you to come out and play (if they do, call the police). It's a conscious effort.

Therefore, keep these things in mind:

Be Patient

Friendships, like relationships, take time. You're not going to meet your new bestie overnight. So just understand it may take a few months before the loneliness totally dissipates.

Don't Settle

Also akin to relationship advice, just because someone gives you a little attention and invests some time in you, doesn't mean you have to be friends! Make sure you actually enjoy that person's company and they're not just filling a void. I once went on a road trip with a girl I barely liked just because my options were limited. I won't divulge details on the trip but...it was a big mistake.

The expectations you have for a boyfriend should be just as high for a new friend. So aim high.

Be Your Own Friend

As I said in #1, it may take a while for you to find the right tribe. Therefore, embrace the solitude. You're in a new city, so explore it! You don't need a buddy to go to the museum or to check out that restaurant down the street. Get to know your new home from your own perspective.

I promise you, your tribe will come in due time.

Featured image by Shutterstock

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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