Start with the Heart is a practical guide to building genuine multicultural relationships and community networks to increase belonging, mutual support, and shared action, where you live and work. It will:
Inspire you to find activities and spaces to meet new people.
Support you in initiating conversation and following up afterwards.
Motivate you to be more creative and intentional in how you deepen a new connection.
Offer you concrete tips and tools for navigating the ups and downs of relating to people.
Provide you a framework for sharing gifts and talents to effect change.
Frankie Blackburn, a longtime community organizer in neighborhoods, apartment complexes and local schools, interviewed over 50 diverse colleagues, each of whom brings direct experience building relationships across race and class in a wide range of settings, both personal and professional. Out of these in-depth conversations and 40 years of her own personal practice, she developed ten practices to support the cultivation of new relationships AND the nurturing of lasting relationships.
Executive Director, The Creative School
"This book is grounding and compelling. As an intergenerational network builder, the work is tough. These narratives and practical tools remind me of my purpose and motivate me to try new and novel ways to engage my neighbors, community members and youth."
Multicultural Educator and Leader
"This is a book that 'walks the talk'. The manner in which this practical community-building handbook was created, refined, promoted and its call to action actually follows the ten practices that the author outlines. As someone who has worked in diverse communities across the US and abroad, I am inspired and encouraged to see decades of experience put down on paper in a way that is accessible and easy to implement."
Advertising Associate, Sojourners
"My job is very relationship based with advertisers and clients and this book is helpful in knowing how to navigate these relationships, both with clients and co-workers. And, as a young social change agent, I am excited to have a concrete set of practices and tips that are easy to remember AND use as I work on multicultural teams to improve my community."
Illustrations and Stories
Invite with a Brave Heart
One friend shared that she is more likely to say yes to an invitation if it is specific, in terms of date and time and proposes somethign she likes to do. In fact, when she is interested in building a relationship with someone, she actively looks for events or activities that seem like a good match for that person, even if it isn't something at the top of her list.
For over 40 years, Frankie has explored how reliable and trusted relationships can provide a helpful web of both support and accountability, for individuals and communities, in an increasingly fast paced and unpredictable world. In 2011, Frankie co-founded Trusted Space Partners, working with activists and organizations across the country. Prior to this, she was a founder and executive director of Impact Silver Spring, sparking a new network of over 1,000 people of all different racial, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds working for social change in Silver Spring, Maryland. Frankie's interest in how to cultivate networks of impactful relationships has been a common thread through a career of over 30 years in public interest law, affordable housing, community development and public and nonprofit management. She currently lives in Saxapahaw, North Carolina.
Grateful for Collaborators
The ten practices in Start with the Heart reflect input from over 50 people with community-building skills and experience.