Written by
Gwen McNamara, Communications Specialist
Feb. 13, 2023

This Valentine's Day, love is in the air. But what if love could extend beyond typical romantic notions and extend to greater society? The National Public Housing Museum, building on the work of psychologist Arthur Aron, has created 36 questions for Civic Love - a series of questions we can ask one another to strengthen our connections and all fall in love with our communities and each other. 

To learn more about Civic Love, described as one's love for society, expressed through a commitment to the common good, we spoke with Geralyn Williams, assistant director of student engagement and leadership:

Where did you first hear about Civic Love?

I was introduced to the concept of Civic Love at the Allied Media Projects Conference this past summer in a session from the National Public Housing Museum. This tool for connecting, building community, and creating guiding values stuck with me the most after the conference. I think the idea/concept of love is very popular and interesting to people, but we often see it lionized only in romantic settings.

Why does it resonate with you?

I am so moved by love for community and collectives because it is what fuels me and what I think fuels change. Grace Lee Boggs is a legend in social justice and community activism. I don't think we hear enough about her work, so it was exciting to share it broadly through the Civic Love Community Dinner in January as part of Wintersession.

How are you inspired by Civic Love?

I think of the work of MLK Jr. and his belief in "beloved community" and the ways that bell hooks and Audre Lorde have complicated and elevated love as calls and theories of action are so powerful and so necessary for the work ahead of us. I feel so lucky to have the chance to create spaces for gathering of all sorts of people to share and dive deep into their own perspectives of love, community, and justice. It was a powerful and joyful space this past January. I look forward to hosting more and seeing what our Civic Love can look like as we come together and take action.