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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“Wholly Earth”

Mrs. Lincoln was known throughout her career for sticking close to social themes in her music. As a songwriter and performer, she always had something to say. This unforgettable track still moves listeners, and we offer it especially as Earth Day approaches.

Wholly Earth
by Abbey Lincoln

Oh the holy earth’s a mural
seen from way up high
abstracted natural bas-relief
witnessed from the sky
clouds that cast a single shadow
drifting moving on the ground
creating an illusion
as the world goes round

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Decolonizing Our Cities, Reclaiming Our Streets

We won’t build livable, connected neighborhoods using extractive, colonizing means. Architect and activist Mark Lakeman, in this podcast, offers some deep thinking on decolonizing our cities, and moving from extractive economies to ones that serve people, land, and animals through building connections and trusting the wisdom of people to take power in their places.

Upstream and Mark Lakeman on Grassroots Urban Placemaking

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Jeff Gold on the Paradisical Jazz Club

One underrated quality of the jazz scene in the 1940s and 50s was its racial integration. Music does that – it draws people together into common spaces. That it no perfect solution to a centuries-long legacy of systemic racism, but it does offer a hopeful alternative. Author and archivist Jeff Gold found a trove of photographs documenting jazz clubs of that era, and interviewed the musicians who were there. In this interview, he offers some important history of an unusual and hopeful era in American history.

‘Sittin’ In: Jazz Clubs of the 1940s and 1950s’ Opens a Portal to the Past, and a Dialogue
By Nate Chinen

“It really was a paradisical place to be, the jazz club.”

That relatably wistful sentiment is uttered by saxophonist Sonny Rollins at one point in a handsome new book devoted to the subject. Sittin’ In: Jazz Clubs of the 1940s and 1950s, recently published by Harper Design, is a testament to the bygone American nightlife culture that thrived at midcentury — years before the full realization of a Civil Rights Movement, but well into a more casual arc of racial integration.

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Falling in Love with Liberation

Reverend Lisa Yebuah is the lead minister of Southeast Raleigh Table, a multicultural, multigenerational church from the Methodist tradition embedded in Raleigh, North Carolina’s historically Black region. In conversation with Common Good Collective, Reverend Yebuah reflects on the abundance in her community and the challenges she and all of us must face in order to leave Egypt and live liberated together.

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The Communal Stories of Jazz

We are always down for a good story here at Common Good. Jazz is a story told by an ensemble — every instrument, voice, and lyric adding colors and context and making it ever more rapturous. Embodiment practitioner and writer Prentis Hemphill said, “We were born into a body, but we were also born into a relationship.” Community is just as vital to our existence as our own bodies, and the stories of jazz reminds of this timeless truth.

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