By Michele Joseph | Toledo Faith and Values
Judy Trautman, co-chair of the Multi-Faith Council of Northwest Ohio, stressed the need for action in her talk “Compassion in Islam /Compassionate City of Toledo,” the keynote address at the 17th annual Unity Dinner presented by the United Muslims Association of Toledo.
She and her husband, Woody Trautman, co-founders of the Multi-Faith Council, have led the effort among religious communities, groups and individuals for Toledo to be officially designated a Compassionate City, according to the criteria established by the Charter for Compassion initiated by religion historian Karen Armstrong.
The charter was drafted with input from thousands of people from 100 countries, a multi-faith and multi-national council of thinkers and leaders.
A key step toward Toledo’s efforts to achieve the official designation came in September when City Council passed a resolution naming Toledo a Compassionate City.
In 2008, Armstong won the TED prize that included an award of $100,00 and support for making a single “wish to change the world” come true. She made a wish for the creation of a Charter for Compassion, an overarching statement of human morality that could unite us all by abiding by the Golden Rule.
Trautman, speaking at the Unity Dinner held Sunday (Oct. 13) in the Stranahan Theater, spoke of the importance of doing something to relieve the suffering of others.
What is a compassionate city? According to Armstrong, “A compassionate city is an uncomfortable city! A city that is uncomfortable when anyone is homeless or hungry. Uncomfortable if every child isn’t loved and given rich opportunities to grow and thrive. Uncomfortable when any group is marginalized or oppressed. Uncomfortable when as a community we don’t treat our neighbors as we wish to be treated.”
In Toledo, the Trautmans have been tireless champions for this cause.
In her talk on Sunday, Judy Trautman said, “I think it is time we put the passion back in compassion. As a daily practice, it is far from a wimpy word. It requires courage and humility, a willingness to try, fail, and keep on trying. It is easy to be compassionate to our friends when we are happy with them. Learning to be compassionate with the difficult members of our families and co-workers, compassionate with ourselves, compassionate with those we see as enemies — those are the real challenges, not for the faint-hearted. And we chose Compassionate Community, as opposed to Compassionate City — mostly to include the surrounding cities that form Greater Toledo.”
In Judy’s words we can hear that her passion drives her to an even larger goal: ”A Compassionate County, with the hope that the path leads to a compassionate world.”
She said such a big dream begins in the smallest place — the human heart.
As Woody Trautman has said, ”It will not become completely meaningful until it reaches the heart of every citizen.”
For her efforts in promoting compassion, Judy Trautman was awarded a certificate by UMAT and presented with a George Carruth garden statue of a frog, a reference to Toledo’s nickname of “Frogtown.”
She told the audience to keep an eye on the Islamic community, whose work demonstrates that they have the passion, the drive to be invaluable contributors to this transforming cause.
The mission of the United Muslims Association of Toledo is to :
- Uphold the principles and practices of Islam
- Provide for cultural, educational, economic, social, and political enhancement of the Islamic community in the greater Toledo area.
- Promote interfaith understanding and accommodation in this area and to provide a platform to address social and political issues as they relate to the Muslims of Toledo.
- Assure that this activity continues without sectarian or denominational bias.
Muslim organizations that were represented at the UMAT dinner were:
- Muslim Students Association at the University of Toledo
- Muslim Students Association University Medical Center
- Muslim Students Association-Owens Community College
- Islamic Medical Association of North America
- North American Arab Medical Association
- American Pakistani Physicians Association of North America
- Islamic Center of Greater Toledo
- Masjid Saad Foundation
- Masjid Imam Ali
- Toledo Masjid of Al-Islam
- Toledo Muslim Community Center
- Friends of Pakistan Sultan Club
The UMAT program honored these organizations and groups, as well as the Toledo Catholic Diocese and Toledo Public Schools, for working in cooperation with them.
The UMAT Youth Representative was among those who spoke at the Unity Dinner, and a scholarship was awarded to Khadijah Bagiais.
More information on the MultiFaith Council and the Compassionate City project is available online.
Michele Joseph's father was Jewish and her mother was Catholic, a puzzle to her that became a driving force in her spiritual journey. She pursued one religion after the next until discovering the Baha'i faith, of which she has been a member since 2002.