As the COVID-19 pandemic led to more social isolation, it also spurred innovations on how to be in community with distant Friends and family. Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) was no exception.
The organization quickly pivoted its two major events, Spring Lobby Weekend and Annual Meeting, to online experiences and then realized these gatherings were not enough—especially in the months between them.
In April 2020, it launched a twice-monthly online conversation hosted by Diane Randall, FCNL general secretary. Thursdays with Friends are brief conversations on Zoom from 4:00 to 4:30 p.m. EST on Thursdays. Each episode features FCNL lobbyists, staff, and other external experts discussing topics such as racism and policing, saving the environment, the state of Indian Country, nuclear disarmament, and engaging with Congress during a pandemic. The audience, primarily FCNL’s most loyal supporters, interacts with the host and her guest through the chat boxes on Zoom, Facebook, and YouTube.
Since the first program on April 9, 2020, Thursdays with Friends continues to reach an average of 107 viewers per episode. Initially meant to last only six episodes, FCNL made it a regular show due to demand. Thursdays with Friends is produced like a television show but via Zoom. The same production standards were rapidly applied to other FCNL events. Recordings and a schedule are available at fcnl.org/twf.
Learn more: Friends Committee on National Legislation