Common Good Collective


This Reader is an expression of Common Good Collective, a vision for an alternative way, rooted in the act of eliminating economic isolation, the significance of place, and the structure of belonging. Whether you come at this from a place of economics, social good, or faith, we hope these reflections help orient your day in fresh, provocative, courageous ways. And most importantly, we hope these lead you into the sharing of gifts in particular communities—into co-creating a common good.

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Becoming A Good Ancestor

If I could, I would let you borrow my copy of Cole Arthur Riley’s This Here Flesh, but I highly suggest you read the publisher’s excerpt of the first chapter to whet your appetite. This month, Riley was a guest on author Layla Saad’s new podcast, Becoming A Good Ancestor. Both women are legacy minded, and hope to face today’s battles in a way that creates a better tomorrow.

Become A Good Ancestor with Layla Saad
Ep002: This Here Flesh with Cole Arthur Riley

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A Beautiful Resistance

This week, two of our readings come from Cole Arthur Riley. You’re welcome. As introduction, here’s a brief conversation that invites us to engage with our inner conflict. If I can honor the voices I hear in solitude, I can honor the embodied voices all around me.

The Black history I carry with me: Cole Arthur Riley
By Jeneé Osterheldt

This column is a part of A BEAUTIFUL RESISTANCE: Black joy, Black lives, as celebrated by culture columnist Jeneé Osterheldt

Cole Arthur Riley created a literary communion in Black Liturgies.

On Instagram, she’s made a space to lift her innermost thoughts as well as the holy wisdom of our writing legends like James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde, and the Bible, too.

“When I’m most honest, I tell people that Black Liturgies was born out of anger. I began the project in the wake of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, and the resurfacing of the murders of Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain,” says Riley, the spiritual teacher in residence with Cornell University’s Office of Spirituality and Meaning Making.

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Bet on Black Women for Smarter Cities

The image of start-up culture is often filled with tech products and fast growth. Sherrell Dorsey wants us to change our focus on where start-ups happen, and who starts them. Neighborhoods are filled with them, when neighbors find ways to assist neighbors. She asks readers to “imagine for a second if startups were understood to be more than just what occurs in a garage, dorm room, kitchen table, or tech conference—but also what builds a community, wherever that may be…. What would our cities look like in that case?”

To change the future of work for the better, let’s prioritize people-first, not tech-first, businesses.
By Sherrell Dorsey

In my hometown of Seattle, at the age of 14, I stepped onto the Microsoft campus for my first internship feeling like a big shot. My experience within this epicenter of tech innovation was a significant step in my career journey, but it was not the launching pad for my future in the workforce.

Before I built my chops on Bill Gates’ turf, I’d learned the world of work through Monica McAffee. “Auntie Monica,” as we called her, had been my mom’s nail technician since I was five years old. By the time I’d become a teenager, I’d mastered the art of styling my own hair in between visits to the salon. One day, observing my technical talent for tresses, Auntie Monica invited me onto her team to assist her with styling clients in the shop a few hours a week.

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The Womb Problem

America has always had a complicated relationship with motherhood. Many facets of our culture, collective identity, and moral values are wrapped up in the role and rights of women and those who own a womb. This conflict has reached a fever pitch with the drafted reversal of Roe v. Wade on America’s Mother’s Day weekend. I have compiled some meditations on the past, present, and future of this ongoing conflict.


Featured Curator: Courtney Napier

Courtney Napier is a writer, journalist, gatherer, and liberation coach from Raleigh, North Carolina. She has written for national outlets like NewsOne and The Appeal, as well as regional and local publications such as Scalawag Magazine, WALTER Magazine, The Carolinian, and INDY Week. She is also the founder of Black Oak Society, a collective of Black creatives in the greater Raleigh area. Their flagship publication, BOS Magazine, is a literary magazine focused on giving Black Raleigh her flowers now. Finally, Courtney has coached individuals and organizations as they seek to lead and live in a way that undermines white supremacy and honors the humanity of all people. She loves to love her spouse, David, of ten years, and her two little humans who are endless hilarious meme reels.

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New Motherhood, a Dictionary

This Sunday, American’s celebrate Mother’s Day. It’s a bittersweet celebration this year as the contemplate whether or not parenthood is a sacred choice or a law-bound mandate. Namrata Poddar contemplates motherhood in her poetic dictionary below.

New Motherhood, a Dictionary
By Namrata Poddar

Motherhood: Goddess squad gracing the walls of Hindu temples, wifehood and motherhood balanced perfectly in those slender waists and big breasts, ever ready to nurse.

Motherhood of the Goddess Consort, a male fantasy like their Virgin Mother.

Motherhood: a border, a wall sundering your life into prebaby and post-baby days. Wait till he grows up, they say. It comes back—the physical mobility, the energy, the yoga, the reading, brunches with girlfriends, happy hour with colleagues, the love-making too.

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