Community organizers from Australia to United Kingdom, from Botswana to the United States are the presenters and motivators of this call. We know that Karachi is marching for compassion, that Dallas-Ft. Worth is packing over 300,000 meals for Feed the Children, that the Botho Movement has initiated a breastfeeding education campaign to confront the increasing deaths of babies in the country. In this call we hear success stories, and we see how we can use these actions to motivate others to get involved. This call is not only for existing compassionate communities, it is for people who are considering starting an initiative. If you have questions about your existing or anticipated campaign, let us know.
Questions about starting a compassionate communities initiative (Marilyn Turkovich)
How can the Charter help more with initiatives (Sande Hart)
Understanding more about Beloved Community (Anne Stadler)
How partners bring strength to a compassion initiative (Bob Thompson & Magdalena Whoolery)
Talk and share what is happening in our communities (Reed Price)
Good things happening between and among compassionate communities (Lesa Walker & Charles Barker)
Marilyn Turkovich: Hello and welcome everyone. I am Marilyn Turkovich with the Charter for Compassion International. We are very excited about this call. We have people from Atlanta to Australia, from Monterrey, Mexico to Pune, India. We extend a special welcome to all of you. I know for some of you on the call it is extremely late in the evening or very early in the morning. We have so many who want to let you know about their work in their compassionate communities. When we met the last time, we had just launched the Charter Toolbox. I want to encourage people to go to the Charter website and take a look at the Toolbox, especially the assessment tool. The assessment tool allows people to delve into the issues in their community. The Charter is now downloadable in 24 languages. Also, there are many exciting things happening. We will be launching “Beloved Communities.” You will hear about this today. In another two weeks we will be sharing this initiative internationally with everyone. People can write stories about their community and pin them to the global map. Also, we will be offering URLS to communities. We can help you establish and host your website. In the Fall, 2015, we will be starting the Charter for Compassion Education Institute and through which will offer compassion courses. In November, we will be launching the Charter “Marketplace” where we will highlight the products of the partners of the Charter. Now, we share information about the “Compassion It” wristbands and T-shirts, etc. However, the “Marketplace” will gather together many more products and show them all in one place.
We have a few changes to our planned agenda today. We will have Rev. Joan Brown Campbell talk with us following the Compassionate Communities speakers instead of at the end of the call. I will now introduce Zareen Quereshi who is in Karachi, Pakistan, and is our first speaker.
Compassionate Communities Speakers
Zareen Qureshi (Karachi, Pakistan)
Zareen: I am the Program Manager for Compassionate Karachi. We have a lot of ethnicities in Karachi. We want buy-in from everyone in Karachi. You can find out more information about our efforts via our website: www.compassionatekarachi.org. We have gone to 400 schools, universities, and other organizations. We took them forms to capture their vision for Compassionate Karachi. We have gathered the completed forms and uploaded data on our website from 400,000 responses. We have a Charter for Compassionate Karachi. We focus on 5 key areas: access to education, security and enforcement of law, food and clothing, health, shelter. We are collaborating with a business partner, “Corporate Social Responsibility,” and will start connecting other groups with this organization next month. We have started creating libraries in underprivileged schools and will be reading and sharing stories, making people more aware of people’s problems. We are also creating small projects. We will be working with specific organizations to make people aware of compassionate driving, also with city police- workshops around Karachi about rights, education, law enforcement, integrity, the rule of peace. We also have the compassionate community network. Please visit the website.
Jafer Murat (Australia Campaign)
Jafer: Hello everyone. I am a volunteer in Australia. I am part of a large group beginning to organize the national effort in Australia. We want to broaden the awareness of the Charter. We are trying to understand all the good things going on in Australia for human rights, peace, etc. and identify partners. We are building our volunteer base via academic institutions, etc. We are working to build an advisory group--representing various religious groups, ethnicities, and industry. We are trying to establish a funded hub where we can employ staff. Our first idea was to have a peace walk--focusing on the harm to all innocent beings. However, that project was a bit ambitious with our limited staff. So, now we have decided to focus on building awareness of the Charter by trying to get 1 million signatures of the Charter. We are identifying organizations as partners. We want to know their concerns and their issues. How do they want to see the Charter fulfilled? Earlier today we had an organizing meeting. We will begin more regular meetings. Also, we will soon launch a Facebook page.
Jim Torbet (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)
Jim: I am the Co-Director of “Waves of Compassion” in Halifax: http://www.wavesofcompassion.ca/. We are using a different approach. We are focusing on how to strengthen the organization from a grassroots perspective. Since 2012, we have been working on developing a Toolkit for organizations, compassion training, and research. We secured a charitable status in Canada through our focus on education. We have an interfaith engagement program in collaboration with the Atlantic Contemplative Center. We discuss how to bring compassion into communities. “Waves” works with organizations to help them become compassionate organizations. We act as support. Our student union and 2 other organizations have become compassionate organizations. Have received support from the Mayor of Halifax and the CEO of Halifax Business Partnership. We are working to develop our Board structure and our recruitment process.
Cristina Gonzalez (Monterrey, Mexico)
Cristina: We started in February asking universities to help us build Compassionate Monterrey. We are already involved in many sectors. It is great to add the universities. We have produced a video and use it to share the message of Compassionate Monterrey. 100,000 people have viewed the video. We have distributed 50,000 wrist bands along with posters and flyers. The campaign started at end of April, 2015. The media is involved. Now we have an alliance with The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University (http://ccare.stanford.edu/). We will form a Center of Compassion. The Secretary of Education has sent a statement to all the schools and we will be counting compassionate actions. Forty-two community centers will create spaces for compassionate action. We are working with taxi companies who are ambassadors for this campaign. The taxis have signage, flyers, etc. and invite people to join the campaign. We have nurses that do home visits and bring the campaign to people. We will be interviewing the companies and organizations that visibly support compassion. Also, we are preparing for the 7th Worldwide Meeting on Human Values in Monterrey next October. Website link: http://encuentromundialdevalores.org/eng/compassionate-monterrey/
Sande Hart (Compassionate California)
Sande: California supports the ever-growing compassion movement. Compassionate Ccalifornia helps provide resources for the California city campaigns and charter partners. We provide connections and ways to amplify and illuminate the work being done in cities. Six cities of compassion have been launched in California, 4 are in process and 4 are just starting. We have about 21 partners and now have 3 new applications. Each city has its own issues. We are most effective when we facilitate. We are a microcosm of the Charter of Compassion in California. We help people navigate opportunities. We make available resources and tools to help move forward a culture of compassion. We believe it is important to engage schools and implement curricula. We provide connectivity- story-mapping, networking, social media, etc. We elevate topics that transcend all of our challenges. We engage all of California in the international Compassion Games. We are collaborating with the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Education. The Dalai Lama will be coming to Orange County in July, 2015 for a Global Compassion Summit in honor of his 80th birthday. I want to thank the Charter for Compassion International for this extraordinary compassionate communities model that just makes us better. Website link: http://www.compassionatecalifornia.org/.
Arun Wakhlu (Pune, India)
Arun: Warm greetings for everyone.
“Pune”, the name of our community, means “full” or “complete” which embodies compassion. We have wonderful things happening. We focus on connection and conversation. We get people together to discuss education, enterprise, organic food, health, wellbeing, safety, transportation, etc. We are focusing on developing teachers in primary schools to improve their infrastructure. We are working on converting slums. We engage people in entrepreneurship. Our work is progressing. We are in the process of creating a website. We are developing “i-Catalysts” (https://charterforcompassion.org/sites/default/files/i-Catalyst%20Brochure_Poorna%20Pune%202014.pdf) - people who are good at appreciative inquiry, open space, engaging people in conversation. In August- we are preparing for Compassion Week to help bring about a giving culture. We want to be the most giving community in the world. Thank you so much to the Charter, Marilyn, Anne Stadler, and others. Website link: http://www.compassionpune.org/.
Frank Liddy (Belfast, Ireland)
Frank: We formed in 2012. The Lord Mayor has endorsed the Charter. It has gone through the City Hall and all political parties have endorsed it. We are working on establishing a Compassionate City Day. The best way for us to move forward is to have dialog. We establish World Café events where people come together to discuss compassion. A poet, Naomi Nye, has offered support to help create a Garden of Kindness in the City Center of Belfast. It is like a Zen Garden. Children can come with wooden rakes and play with the garden- rake up differences and bridge the gap. Dialog is taking place and conversation. Things in Belfast are getting better and better. Thank you Marilyn for visiting Belfast. We want a Compassionate Belfast and a Compassionate Ireland. Web links: http://charterforcompassion.org/node/5717; http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/News/News-38830.aspx.
Tariq Khan (Netherlands)
Tariq: In 2014 we established a Dutch Charter for Compassion Foundation. We had a conference in December, 2014. The City Council of Rotterdam signed the Charter and developed a Compassion Campaign. It is taking some time to create awareness. Next year we will have the 6th year of giving the Dutch Compassion Award. We are organizing a conference for students, a “Mindfulness" conference, in November at the University of Utrecht. We will continue to work with our compassionate initiatives to discuss how to become more compassionate. Also, we plan to attend the Parliament of the World’s Religions conference in October, 2015.
Web link: http://www.handvestvoorcompassie.nl/
Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, President of the Charter for Compassion International Board
Marilyn: Now I will introduce Dr. Joan Brown Campbell. Joan has to leave the call early so we want to give her an opportunity to give her remarks at this time.
Joan: Thank you everyone. It is so inspiring to listen to all that is happening. I have the privilege of serving as the President of the Charter for Compassion International Board. I have been working in support of the Charter from the beginning, ever since Karen Armstrong had the idea. I want to give words of encouragement. We have asked a lot of people how to raise funds for the Charter. Everyone we talk to has said that the story of the cities is the story of compassion. Hearing you makes me all the more certain of this. We need to be able to see and hear your stories on a global map. The compassion story is not easy to tell. It is complicated, different in each place, emotional, and moving. We need to tell the story effectively and gain resources to support the efforts worldwide. As a minister, I recognize the city as the place where the pains of the world and our progress are evident. If we can help tell your stories on a worldwide basis, we can make this movement more effective and raise resources. Thank you to everyone! Thank you Marilyn for what you have done to help make these stories come alive.
Marilyn: Thank you so much Joan. We are so happy to have you with us today.
Beloved Community: Anne Sadler: Hello everyone. I send a particular hello to Arun in Pune and to the Netherlands folks. “Honoring Beloved Community” is the name of an initiative that is designed to reveal the tissue of compassionate actions, the belonging and connections that support our civilizations everywhere we live. It is the place where we live and belong and manifest that belonging relationship to all who come there. In Seattle, we realized last year that a Compassionate City is a Beloved Community. There are places all over our city that we depend upon. We have a large coalition that is incredibly diverse, that reflects the world. We are all there as partners to honor the Beloved Community. We want to award places of Beloved Community that exist in our midst. We embrace Martin Luther King Jr.’s concept of the Beloved Community, a community of peace, love, respect, and justice for everyone. We honor the places in our communities that speak to this and then put these places on a map. We learn from these places and they learn from each other through presence, conversation, and sharing. The “Honoring Beloved Community” initiative is about to go public as soon as the mapping is available. We had our first partners meeting the other night and it was very inspiring. “Beloved Community” cards are now available in Spanish and English. We hope other languages will be available soon.
Break Out Groups (Facilitators)
- Questions about starting a compassionate communities initiative (Marilyn Turkovich)
- How can the Charter help more with initiatives (Sande Hart)
- Understanding more about Beloved Community (Anne Stadler)
- How partners bring strength to a compassion initiative (Bob Thompson & Magdalena Whoolery)
- Talk and share what is happening in our communities (Reed Price)
- Good things happening between and among compassionate communities (Lesa Walker & Charles Barker)
Reed Price- Break Out Group Notes:
Stephani Barnett: Health care constellation in Compassionate Louisville. We launched the constellation in 2012 to ask what if compassion were a driving force in our cities. We have hosted a number of community gatherings. Dr. Robin Youngson, the cofounder of global social movement -- hearts in health care. Member of advisory council in charter for compassion. He has been here just wrapping up a 4th visit last week. Community crowd funding enabled Dr. Youngson to visit for six straight weeks in Louisville on a new initiative aimed at “taking care of our own” – building resilience of our people in the caring professions: physicians, nurses, administers who suffer burnout . Going through six week of realization and commitment. Hosted an open space event. Active members of a cross-sections of our community. We’ve crystalized our focus on what we need to do. One of the big surprises in our health care constellation was how this theme – “taking care of our own” – brought insurers to the table to discuss compassion and healthcare.
We started Compassionate Louisville with constellations rather than sectors – these allow for simple and flexible relationships between organizations and stakeholders. .. if you’ve got a passion or energy.. the stars begin to align. Self-directed constellations have served us well. Every dimension to our community can participate. There’s no need to first line up authority, money or skill. You are welcome to participate if you have a heart for the work. Create a space. Our city has operated exclusively on grass roots and very organic and spirit led since we kicked off on 11/11/11. We have some ideas of sectors, but it was the emergence of people that stepped forward rather than a pre-set organization that led us. We have a coordinating circle that represents a cross-section of sectors that meets 2x a month to review what the constellations are doing.
Barbara Kaufmann: In Appleton, Wisconsin, we have a compassionate congregation at the Unitarian Universalist church, focusing on a variety of topics, including white privilege, environment and the arts. I have been working on educational documentaries as well. In Appleton, we started out with an art project. Children painted on tiles what compassion meant for them. We explored what it means to be a compassionate community. World café stuff. Nonviolent communication. We also have done a three-part series on compassion, but the attendance fell off in the last session. We need to examine this. Also I am part of a Charter “salon” speaking about things—our upcoming topic is Utopia. Our biggest challenge: We don’t have enough people engaged, or strong leadership. We have a hard time keeping the website up to date.
Reed Price, Bainbridge Island, WA: I have been trying to get a compassionate community going on Bainbridge Island. I started with an effort during the Compassion Games last fall, but was unable to get a real center of gravity behind it. It sounds like perhaps identifying Constellations of interest might be a way to engage people who are already working on compassion to tie their efforts together.
Report of Highlights from Break Out Groups
Sande: Everybody on the call seems quite satisfied in how the Charter can help with initiatives. Personally, I’ve never seen a more robust collection of resources and tools and connectivity as that provided by the Charter. We all contribute to that. It comes from our models. I encourage everyone to continue to share what they are doing.
Lesa: I am impressed by the great models out there that all Compassionate Communities can use to increase engagement. In our group we discussed the Compassion Games which provide a wonderful opportunity for Compassionate Communities to increase and highlight compassionate action. There is the Louisville Mayor’s Give-A-Day and Compassionate Dallas/FW is partnering with a global organization, “Feed the Children,” to challenge the community to package 1 million meals. It is important for us to share our models so we all can learn from them and use them in our own communities.
Reed: We had a lively discussion about opportunities and challenges. A challenge is finding the right kind of leadership. Stephanie Barnett of Louisville talked about setting up constellations of interests. People are led by their heart and passion to get involved. The constellations take a lead role in doing the work of the compassionate community.
Laura: I enjoyed hearing from Bob in Atlanta about their strategic partnership plan. We will share soon what we are doing in Southern California.
Ben: We have had conversations about a new series of calls. At this time they are still being designed. We may have a communities/cities theme. There is an open invitation to anyone who would like to host a series of several conversations across the Charter network. I can help facilitate that via the Maestro call platform. Press 1 on your phone if you are interested in this.
Marilyn: This is a good time to ask people if they would like to have their name and email on the pdf that will be included with the notes of this call.
Ben: If you are comfortable in having your email shared with the group, then press 1 now.
Marilyn: We are about to conclude our call. Is there anyone else who would like to share something unique about their community initiative?
Sande: I want to remind everyone to visit the Compassion Games website (http://compassiongames.org/) and consider adding this to your Compassionate Community efforts. The Games are a fun way to activate and galvanize compassion in your community. The Games are “heavy lifting with a light heart”. They can help bring a lot of good attention to your initiative. I am happy to serve as a resource as well.
Marilyn: I want to close by thanking everyone on the call today. Please let us know how we might help with your initiatives. We have a number of Skype calls each week. We can work with teams of people in communities. We are here to answer questions and offer support and help you network with people. Please contact us by phone or by email. Please look for some upcoming changes. We will be updating our website and will have individual community initiative pages. Be thinking about what you want on your community page. Information will be forthcoming on this. Again, thank you for participating in our call today.