As we co-create a community of radical friendship, showing up as our whole selves is core to liberative community. We invite you to come as you are &be as you are as you participate in the life of this community.
As a community practicing anti-supremacy, we are devoted to welcoming, celebrating & validating all. Upending hierarchy, privilege & systems of domination we affirm all siblings' inherent worth & unique place here!
So much of our life together involves co-creating alternative economies of mutual aid & equitable distribution. As anti-capitalists, we reject scarcity & resist inequity. Here, we're bound together through sharing & abundance.
We believe the most impactful work an organization can do is done in community. We recognize & celebrate our interconnectedness, and the the inescapable nature of mutuality. We know the feelings of disconnection, individualism & isolation and said simply: liberation comes through practices of collective interdependence!
As a collaborative practicing radical friendship, we're struck by the unique and manifold ways each of us embody creativity! We believe healthy community finds unity through diversity and reminds us of a bigger story. So here, power is decentralized and leadership is shared, because we believe we're at our best when we work together!
As a community practicing belonging, any work we do or projects we take on are aimed at creating conditions where all life can flourish: humankind, Mother Earth and all lives that depend on Her. As stewards of life & land, it's important that practices of care weave throughout our community.
We ground all our work & community life in a few foundational, universal affirmations. In everything we do, we continuously recommit to the work of radical friendship & liberation. Toward that solidarity, mutuality and comradery, we remind each other to:
Celebrate Queerness, because we choose to see each other in our fullness. There's room for us all. Regardless of our pronouns, whomever & however we love - we all belong here.
Pursue LIbERATION, because none are free until all are free. We identify & interrupt supremacy culture. We seek to abolish systems of inequity that live in and among us. For any table we host, all must have a seat at it.
practice generosity, because this world is filled with abundance. One's income, debt and earning potential in an immoral economy says nothing about one's. we must not allow the market principles of capitalism disrupt our kin-ship.
cultivate UNITY in diversity, because each of brings our own lived experience to community, in the hopes of creating a wonderful mosaic that contributes beauty to a beautiful world. We commit to traveling together & excitedly learning from each other.
Besides her work at Common Ground, Chantilly is an ordained minister, musician, artist and educator. For the last ten years, her work has focused on the inherent intersections of education, liturgy & social justice. She also leads anti-racist trainings, equity trainings & anti-oppression Bible studies. Chantilly is most passionate about the ways communities like Common Ground create space to awaken authenticity, enhance human connection and mobilize our creative, collective power. As a native Hawaiian, she moved to California to study at Pepperdine before moving to NYC to earn her MDiv from Union Theological. She graduated in 2011 & was subsequently ordained in the Disciples of Christ. Currently Chantilly is working to develop CG’s community culture, implement authentic practices of formation and liberation.
Aside from some stints in Venezuela and California, Chris has spent most of his life in or around NYC. After college, he moved to the city for work and it's in that season that he grew curious about the power of community, and specifically the work of spiritual communities. Despite not having a religious background, this interest eventually led him to development & innovation work within a church but after learning how incompatible their stances on race, sexuality & gender were with his own, he left and enrolled in divinity school. Still compelled by community building & organizing, he was invited back to NYC to start a new one. That eventually became Common Ground - a space for folks seeking to practice belonging (belonging, first, to self) and pursue collective liberation (for none of us are free until all of us are free). He's animated by the work communities like CG can do to heal from the layers of supremacy culture that cause harm & trauma. He hopes CG can be a space telling bigger stories & forging better paths, in the hope of belonging!
Janay is a Dominican-New Yorker currently pursuing a MSW at Silberman & MDiv at Union. Weaving eco-mujerista theology & decolonized trauma therapy frameworks, Janay is passionate about how communities embody their ethics and interconnectedness. At CG she’s excited to co-create programming, decolonize pedagogy & investigate how la tierra y agua invite people into practices that create a more equitable, liberated world.
As a scholarship recruiter, Christian serves as an ambassador, cultivating & bridging relationships across a number of industries. As a proud convener of diversity, he's grounded in inclusion & optimism. At CG, he facilitates & integrates spaces for expression, creativity, and storytelling. He's also a passionate mentor, acapella vocal percussionist, and volleyball setter. Christian lives in Park Slope with his partner Nik & over 60 potted plants.
Sarah is a Brooklyn-based music educator & musician who's always learning new instruments. Originally from Long Island, Sarah came to NYC to study at NYU, then Columbia. She's passionate about equity and access in education, especially arts education, and has worked for numerous non-profits who share this vision. Sarah's excited help shape communities that prioritize practices & culture that bring everyone to the table.
As an educator in NYC, Angelo hopes to linguistically & culturally wrestle the “pluribus” out of “unum”. Moved on from spiritual spaces that weaponized faith to suppress (if not erase) identities, Angelo's here to assure our practices of community see, love & affirm all as equal in worth, without condition. He's animated by & excited to help round out the corners of this Common Ground table as folx find belonging and their hearts grow toward room for all to sit.
Rob is a leader & founding member of CG. His weekdays are spent at Spotify but the rest of his time is spent traveling, exploring the NYC food scene with his fiance Jocelyn, and reading about theology and spiritual practices. Rob's interest include community development, worldviews from the margins and the ways all religions can authentically, faithfully and ecumenically practice their faith in an increasingly secularized society.
When it comes to our affiliations and ties, we value transparency. We hope you do too! We believe it's important you know exactly who we are, who we partner with, and who supports us. Here are four primary organizations and networks we're linked to. Each is doing fantastic work in their particular spheres so we thought we'd let you know what they're up to. Check them out!
1001 New Worshipping Communities is an initiative of the PCUSA denomination that helps launch new communities of care. Part of the the goal for 1001NWC is to begin more queer-celebrating, justice-focused communities in America led by women, queer folx & people of color. 1001NWC has been a major supporter of Common Ground and, regardless of our future affiliation, they've helped us tremendously with strategy, partnership & grants.
Church Clarity is a crowd-sourced database of spiritual and post-church organizations. A team of volunteers scores organizations by how easy it is to find that organization's Actively Enforced Policy online. It evaluates organizational websites for policies around leadership & participation that impact LGBTQ+ people, people of color, and women. Common Ground is both a partner & supporter of this work, because #clarityisreasonable.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) is a liberal, mainline Protestant Christian denomination. Rooted in the Reformed tradition, the PCUSA is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the US, and is known for its demonstrable progressive positions on justice, gender, economy and race. Though Common Ground is not a PCUSA organization, the denomination is a financial supporter of CG and our founding organizer, Chris, is an ordained minister through them.
W/ is a collective of faith leaders & community leaders united to support the manifold work and programming of progressive spiritual spaces. W/ is invested in the work of decolonizing religion, and is a growing space for relationship building, collaboration and critical thinking around matters of race, gender and justice - and the ways each of those intersects. That intersectional work helps toward better institutional practices & accountability.