October 15


Healing Our Divides: Practicing Public Kinship

By Divspirit

October 15, 2021


What does it mean, in a time of unprecedented social division and rancor, to love thy neighbor as thyself? What are the steps that can lead to such love? Where do we begin?

The practice of Public Kinship offers a path to a new form of national dialogue that can weave the self, the community, and the world into a more sturdy version of what Martin Luther King called the "garment of destiny." It's a form of leadership that begins with the self -- with each of us learning, within our own minds, how to identify who we are, what we believe, what we know and do not know, and then -- and only then -- how to lead ourselves toward good action in the world alongside neighbors, fellow citizens, and those with whom we still do not agree.

In this experiential exploration, sociologist, author and educator Bobby Austin will share the steps of what he calls Public Kinship, and walk us through how we can learn to take the journey toward loving thy neighbor as thyself. He'll help us explore cultural leadership, civic engagement, spiritual practice, and what it means to develop a "moral mind." But most fundamentally, we'll talk about why Public Kinship matters as a path toward inclusivity at this urgent moment, and how we can all lead ourselves toward it.

Bobby Austin is the president of Neighborhood Associates Corporation and has spent his career working to strengthen the social fabric of urban neighborhoods. He held the General Hal G. Moore Chair on Contemplative Leadership at the Merton Institute and is recognized for his work in American Culture and Public Kinship. His leadership on the National Task Force on African American Men and Boys led to the 1996 report, Repairing the Breach, and launched philanthropic efforts that reached over 17,000 young black men in the U.S. At Neighborhood Associates, he shares his Repairing the Breach strategies with allied communities.

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