Bonding in the Backyard

New date: Sunday June 10

Photos courtesy of Jacqueline Kelly

Last year, Jacqueline Kelly decided to turn her West Oakland backyard into a space for community building. She started hosting dinner parties so that friends, family, neighbors, and strangers could come together and fundraise for local nonprofits. For each cookout, Kelly and her team select an organization they admire, one that’s working on issues of justice and equity in the East Bay. The team sells tickets to the cookout and then donates the proceeds (minus costs) to the chosen group. Food justice collective Phat Beets was their first nonprofit; next was Black Organizing Project, a racial justice organization working to reduce police presence in Oakland schools.

Kelly describes the backyard cookouts as “a recurring event that was born out of our love of food, friends, and the community that raised us.” Along with the food and fundraising, Kelly adds a DJ, dancing, and group activities like flower arranging or succulent planting. The next cookout will be on Sunday June 10, with a cost of $40
per person.

“One important goal for these events,” says Kelly, “is to offer people a chance to learn about and feel inspired by critical work happening in their own neighborhoods, to engage in conversations and be intentional in thinking about those issues in a more intimate setting, and to feel hope during a difficult political time.”

Info and tickets: