The Compassionate Cities Movement
by The Charter, Compassionate Action Network
11 months ago
Just what IS a compassionate city?
The Charter for Compassion is moving into a new era with an even-closer relationship with Compassionate Action Network International (CANI) and the network of compassionate cities and towns around the globe. CANI's achievements are manifold and measurable -- and the best thing about CANI is that it has all the tools that can help you make your locale into a hub for compassion.
"By becoming a compassionate city, region, or nation, citizens become empowered, develop a sense of cooperation, and reinvigorate hope. The result is an improved outlook, quality of life, and “can-do” attitude."
Where it all began
Inspired by Karen Armstrong's TED Prize wish for a the Charter for Compassion, people from the Seattle, Washington community hosted a week long event in April of 2008 titled "The Seeds of Compassion". This historic series of public gatherings, discussions, and workshops galvanized individuals, networks, and organizations around the world;.The programming was geared toward illustrating the real benefits of compassion and how to take actionable steps towards leading a more compassionate life.
The formation of Compassionate Action Network International drew on the success of the event. One of the initiatives birthed out of CAN International was the Campaign for Compassionate Cities. The first city to undertake the goal was Seattle in April 2010, whose government affirmed the Charter and drafted a ten year campaign to make the city compassionate. As of today, over 80 cities have joined the movement -- from Gaziantep, Turkey to Louisville, Kentucky!
Each city is unique in the way it takes on compassion in civil thought and planning. Explore a few of the highlights of the ever-growing movement: Compassionate Action Network provides support for local constituencies to launch efforts in their cities, schools, states and provinces, universities, and communities. For more information, please visit CAN International's website: http://compassionateaction.org/.
Below are just a few tales of the city -- the compassionate kind. Stay tuned as we follow their progress and chart new movements around the globe! --- recently joined by Toledo.
Loveable, Liveable Louisville
Louisville Kentucky was named International Compassionate City of the Year by CAN in 2012, but that was merely the beginning! In June the National Conference of Mayors named it the "most livable city in the United States". The award noted Mayor Greg Fischer's astounding success with his Give a Day program of public service during Kentucky Derby Week. That program surpassed the initial goal of 55,000 volunteers and even predictions of 75,000 to an astounding more than 90,000 volunteers doing well over 100,000 hours of community service. We're following Louisville through the compassionate city process -- check out their inspiration and an interview with Tori Murden McClure, adventurer, educator and president of Spalding University, the first official Compassionate University.
This small town in Colorado made a big leap by becoming the second official compassionate city. But just just credit the town elders -- it was the children of Basalt who made it all happen. In league with the Rev. Marie Gasau, the middle school students of the town spearheaded the campaign and were the ones to present the Charter for a vote before the town council. The children of Basalt are now pen pals with schoolchildren in the compassionate education programs in Pakistan and Jordan. (Find out more about The Charter for Children.)
A seven-hour drive from Karachi, in the Sindh province of Pakistan, there is a rural farming village called Khairo Dero. This village of 6,000 is special — it is on the way to being named the first official “compassionate village” in the world. The Ali Hasan Mangi Memorial Trust is helping Khairo Dero turn itself into a model village, with schools, sanitation, health services and income-generating activities. The village held a Compassionate Living Day complete with plays written and performed by children on the theme of compassion. The new community center also hosts a "compassion counter" where acts of compassion are recorded -- the total is nearing 500.
Children are at the heart of another amazing tale of a compassionate city. The compassion art project started in Fall 2010 by giving 10,436 Appleton students a 6 by 6 inch art panel. Each student then depicted on their panel how they viewed compassion. The panels were then put on display at the Trout Museum of Art.
Gazientep is first city in the Muslim world to declare itself a Compassionate City. Compassionate Action Network Fellow Dr. Helen McConnell visited Gaziantep last year to welcome them as they formally adopted the Charter for Compassion.
In the News:
Seattle Compassion Games: In Seattle, it's a countdown to the Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest. First Louisville, Kentucky, turned out thousands of citizens to perform 90,000 acts of service in a week-long Give-A-Day project, now Seattle plans a month-long effort to help, heal & inspire its community.
The Compassion Games begin on Friday September 21st with the United Way Day of Caring, and end on Sunday October 21st, the last day of The Next Fifty at Seattle Center. Anyone can play!
Compassionate Houston got its start as a city-wide effort to turn the 10th anniversary of 9/11 into step forward for compassion. Gathering a large roster of participating civic groups -- Compassionate Houston organized a service weekend. Since that time the group has tailored its work to the city's diverse community -- staging compassionate programs on Martin Luther King, JR. Day and Cinco de Mayo and serving the needs of the homeless, HIV community and raising awareness of compassionate ideas with a city-wide art contest for children. In the wake of the Sikh temple shooting, Compassionate Houston took part in a candlelight solidarity vigil. According to Reverend Betty Adam, Houston, inspired by the success of Louisville and Seattle, is turning its attention to getting buy in from city government. They've got a nice track record of achievements on which to base an candidacy for Compassionate City status.
California: Always Innovating
Leave it to California to be the first to envision not just a compassionate city -- but a whole compassionate state! Plans are in the works to lobby the state house to create a 10-year plan for the whole of the Golden State. Stay tuned for more information.