Public Kinship is the foundational recognition of our common humanity — that our own well-being is bound to that of others. The concept of Public Kinship was developed by sociologist Dr. Bobby William Austin, Ph. D., and stems from his work as the Director of the seminal 1996 report commissioned by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and released by the National Task Force on African American Men and Boys, Repairing the Breach: Keys Ways to Support Family Life, Reclaim Our Streets, and Rebuild Civil Society in America's Communities.
Public Kinship is seen and felt in the often overlooked behavior that guides how we live our values and care for our communities. It is evidenced in the everyday gestures that reaffirm our trust and compassion towards one another: greeting neighbors, sharing meals, attending events to support efforts, taking that extra step to tidy our streets or grow a community garden. Though seemingly small, the sum of these actions and the sentiment behind them textures our neighborhoods and nation.
Throughout our lives, we have all seen and felt Public Kinship. To help share this ideal we hope you join us in finding a way to reconnect with one another. As Mahatma Gandhi put it: "In a gentle way, you can shake the world."
An idea worth spreading...
Bobby challenges our focus on the things that divide us by explaining the importance of seeking connection with others through Public Kinship — a platform for moving forward through sharing experiences, being present in our interactions, and participating in civic storytelling. For over thirty years, Dr. Bobby William Austin has worked as a sociologist, author, educator, and CEO of national nonprofits to strengthen the social fabric of urban communities. His research as the Director of the National Taskforce on African American Men and Boys led him to develop philanthropic programs that impacted 17,000 African American men and boys in the US. In his TEDxACU talk, Bobby will challenge our focus on the things that divide us by explaining the importance of seeking connection with others through Public Kinship — a platform for moving forward through sharing experiences, being present in our interactions, and participating in civic storytelling. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
8 STEPS TO PUBLIC KINSHIP
From Self Leadership To Repairing The Breach...
As we think how to open the country, we ask: How will we know what is safe? How will we structure the workplace? How will we educate our children? We need to give as much thought to what we will reimagine, or even just imagine, as the common good in American life and our relationships – one human to another.
PUBLIC KINSHIP RESOURCES
Articles & Materials To Learn More About & Grow Public Kinship
PUBLIC KINSHIP TOOLKIT
The Public Kinship Toolkit is a customized suite of products and resources we have developed to help anyone take the journey toward Public Kinship. It offers strategies for self-leadership, guides to forms of everyday community engagement, and above all, your own 2023 Reflection Journal and Wall Calendar to build a year that can be rich in self-reflection, learning, conversation, leading, and growing. Contact us if you are interested in sharing these materials with your family, community, neighborhood, or organization. And we invite you to explore the Public Kinship Resource Guide that pairs up with our products! Join us as we build the Campaign for Public Kinship!
ARTICLES & BLOG
Learn more about how Public Kinship works, how to build it, and how it is being built everyday in our articles featured by the International Leadership Association and Neighborhood Associates blog. From an ontology of the eight steps towards building Public Kinship to community stories of democratic traditions and caring for the neighborhood, we aim to see how a seed of Public Kinship can grow strong and resilient.
Neighborhood Associates is welcoming expert practitioners, civically engaged community members, civic groups, thought leaders, and more, from multiple sectors into the studio for conversations about how Public Kinship can strengthen communities, cities, organizations, and the individuals who lead them. Our online conversation series seeks to share best practices, approaches, and experiences with Building Public Kinship from the ground up, and from the self out.
For inquiries about the webinar series and participation in it, contact Alex Bain at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PUBLIC KINSHIP IN ACTION
Our initiatives to Build Public Kinship
The Community Garden at our Paradise at Parkside community combines innovative and efficient hydroponic growing with educational and volunteering opportunities - a truly sustainable combination for nurturing community energy! In 2020, Garden participants grew 300 pounds of strawberries in hydroponic towers, beautified raised beds, established a gardening club, and hosted free events like healthy cooking for kids and classes on the life cycle of plants. A "little free library" stands nearby.
Our goals for 2021 are to create a greenhouse and plan out a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program run collaboratively with residents. We also plan to complement the garden with an outdoor classroom and weekly workshops on nutrition, biology, and environmental sustainability.
FAMILIES ARE ARTISTS,
CREATORS, & TEACHERS (FACT)
DC | FL | KY | NC
FACT, NAC's free whole-family arts-and-bonding initiative, nurtures the artistic talents of families in affordable housing, and inspires them to become leading creative voices in their communities. From 2017-19, we reached 188 guardians and children. In addition to engaging classes led by teaching artists, and family field trips to art museums, FACT hosted 6 community art exhibits. FACT is now 100% on-line to keep families safe and connected, and we're growing all the time!
FACT is funded by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust of North Carolina, and by donors like you.
THE CIVIC STORIES PROJECT
Stories are the foundation of communities. But too often stories of strength and civic participation are not amplified. We'd like to change that...with your help. Building on an intergenerational and multicultural forum we piloted in 2017, we're working with our allied housing network around the country to highlight and amplify how civic leadership sustains community wellbeing.
We're collecting and showcasing stories from residents and friends, with the aim of creating Public Kinship Clubs, and hosting forums and workshops, in all of our allied communities
FEATURED ALLY IN
BUILDING PUBLIC KINSHIP:
DR. DORIAN BURTON
Neighborhood Associates is grateful for allies in our effort to Build Public Kinship. We are proud to share that Dr. Dorian Burton, a rising star in the world of philanthropy and equity work in the U.S., is providing strategic support in growing our network. Dr. Burton led the "Revisiting the Repairing the Breach Conference" hosted by Harvard University while receiving an EDd there. A former lead at the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust in NC, Dorian's current initiative is establishing the New Southern Reconstruction Foundation. Think and do leaders like Dr. Burton carry the lantern forward to strengthening the fabric of America. Neighborhood Associates is honored to call him an ally and work together to grow a network of allies in Building Public Kinship and Repairing the Breach.