Social Justice Task Force

Social Justice Task Force

michaelburksMichael Burks is a Business & Life transition Coach, ACC, MBA with over three decades in leadership roles in private businesses. He is certified to facilitate the work of Dr. Brené Brown which focuses on developing shame resilience skills and developing daily practices that transform the way we live, love, parent and lead.

Located in Sacramento, CA, Michael lived in the Los Angeles area just over twenty-five years. He enjoys traveling the world, photography and finding ways to make a difference in the world. Michael currently volunteers as facilitator for Insight Garden Program at Solano prison which combines vocational gardening and landscaping training so that people in prison can reconnect to self, community, and the natural world. He also provides pro-bono coaching to Grad Life Choices.


Cheryl Harris Sharman listens well. Over the years, that’s meant she’s worked as a writer, researcher, nonprofit consultant, documentary filmmaker, and (currently) spiritual director. She listens best to the disenfranchised.

Ms. Sharman was a writer and researcher for twenty years, mostly in New York City, focusing on all manner of structural inequality, including race, homelessness, labor, health, mental health, and trauma. She holds an M.A. in Sociology and Anthropology, with a concentration in race and a thesis on social networks and information exchange among African-American, mentally ill, chronically homeless men in New York City. She was a Senior Interviewer on the New York Services Study, a $1.4 million NIMH-funded study under Dr. Deborah Padgett, on service engagement among dual diagnosed homeless adults. She also conducted an independent five-year study of everyday trauma among women in the multiethnic community of East Harlem. Ms. Sharman’s work was published in numerous articles, policy reports, anthologies, blog posts, and one book (“Nightshift NYC,” University of California, 2008).

These days, Ms. Sharman lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas and considers herself a listener and an advocate. She holds a certificate in spiritual direction and retreats from the Spirituality Center on the campus of Mt. St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles. Her vocation is, in the words of (now deceased) spiritual director Mary Ann Scofield, to bring “spiritual direction to settings where it has not yet been” and to move “beyond individualized spirituality toward the deeply spiritual work of community and structural change.” On any given day, this might mean facilitating a meditation circle for folks struggling with homelessness; working on incarceration, mental health, and/or homelessness issues alongside regional and state coalitions; joining the local Black Lives Matter movement; bringing contemplative practices to social justice agencies; preparing to host a listening circle to bridge the vast political divide in the U.S; or seeing private clients, especially those seeking to live a life divided equitably between the contemplative and the active, attending to both, letting them each feed one another. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

pattiewilliamsPattie Williams sees that her focus on community service reflects her passionate commitment to inclusion and compassion. She believes deeply in the power of citizen engagement as evidenced during the last 5 years of being a founding member, team leader/member of the Fayetteville Forward Economic Accountability Council, Inclusion Group, Compassion Fayetteville, and co-leader of Compassion Fayetteville Black History Team. Her deep wish that we all celebrate the uniqueness of each individual fuels her.

She is especially grateful for all the volunteers who have brought to life initiatives, such as Fayetteville Black History Month, Conversation Matters (multi-cultural dialogues about race), “Let There Be Light” portrait series of African-American men, Month of Compassion that nurture a community in which all thrive. All these add meaning to Fayetteville’s designation in 2014 as one of over 85 International Cities of Compassion.

Her professional skills of business and industry team building and strategic planning, including vision and mission creation, also offer her the opportunity to do what she loves best, which is to connect, collaborate, and develop relationships and friendships. Her private counseling practice, Soul Matters, supports individuals developing intuition and compassion for self and others.

Pattie has a B.A. in English and Sociology from Southwestern University and a M.Ed. from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a semi-retired Licensed Professional Counselor and has been in private practice since 1981. She lives in Fayetteville with her husband David.

jackyoungkinJack Youngkin is Vice President of Compassionate DFW which launched a Cities Campaign in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex in 2014. As an active member and former Chair of the Social Action Council for the First Unitarian Church, Dallas, Texas, Jack was instrumental in forming a Compassion Action Team and supporting a year of Compassion. Working through the outreach of Compassionate DFW he is involved with the Interfaith Council of Thanksgiving Square, DFW4Democracy, and Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).

While serving in leadership positions in the management consulting industry, most notably Deloitte Consulting, Jack travelled internationally to provide strategic advisory services to global 100 manufacturing companies. Now he divides his time between social justice volunteerism, six grandchildren, voracious reading, and stimulating discussion groups in philosophy, science and neuroscience. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Dallas Philosophers Forum.

sarahzaleSarah Zale teaches writing, social justice, and intercultural competence in Seattle. A certified facilitator of Compassionate Listening ® and facilitator of Theatre of the Oppressed and Playback, she brings the skills of deep listening and interactive theatre to her students. She created The Listening Tree Project, an academic program that promotes a campus climate of equality, justice, and respect for all people, and facilitates student leadership development. It uses community-building exercises to create community, compassionate listening to hone skills for thoughtfully considering multicultural perspectives, and interactive theater to facilitate discussion around issues of conflict in a multi-ethnic and multi-culturally diverse and global world.

Sarah is a passionate believer in the power of poetry and the arts to transform and heal ourselves and the world. Sarah has published two collections of poetry: The Art of Folding (2010), which was inspired by her travels to Israel and Palestine with the Compassionate Listening Project, and Sometimes You Do Things (2013, Aquarius Press, Living Detroit Series) which highlights the history of Detroit and celebrates its rebuilding.

About Us

  • charter brand transp blue mediumCharter for Compassion provides an umbrella for people to engage in collaborative partnerships worldwide. Our mission is to bring to life the principles articulated in the Charter for Compassion through concrete, practical action in a myriad of sectors.


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