To watch this 1-hour interview, click HERE.
The Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s June 2014 TV program explores the potential of applying compassion to a wide range of social problems.
Our four guests (listed near the end of this article) are active in Compassionate Seattle, which began in 2008, when the Dalai Lama visited Seattle and promoted the Seeds of Compassion, which Archbishop Desmond Tutu also supported. Another boost came in late 2009 when Karen Armstrong won a TED award for her Charter of Compassion movement based on the Golden Rule.
After the Dalai Lama’s visit, many people in Seattle spent several days started how to use compassion as the basis for working on issues. They also started developing Seattle as a compassionate city and the City of Seattle to adopt its Compassionate City Proclamation of 2010. Seattle was the first city in the world to do this.
The organizers kept pushing ahead and created a network of people in Seattle and throughout the Puget Sound region to form relationships, build trust, inspire hope and catalyze action to reduce pain and suffering in our communities. They want to create “tipping point” changes for positive and sustainable improvements in our region’s quality of life.
On Friday March 14, 2014, Compassionate Seattle held an event attended by310 persons in the daytime and 700 for Karen Armstrong’s evening keynote. This event was inspired by her point that “Compassionate cities are uncomfortable cities” that profoundly listen to the people who are hurting and won’t rest until they have devised compassionate solutions to social problems.
The March 14 event featured 6 different sectors (“constellations”) that attracted about 60 people each: homeless/housing, at-risk youth, compassionate education, health & wellness, economic justice, and alternative economy/environment. Participants from several cities throughout Western Washington are following through throughout our Western Washington region and are planning their next big event for October 2014.
The campaign for Compassionate Cities spread around the world, so the Compassionate Action Network International emerged to advocate for the Charter. Now about 222 cities have proclaimed or are considering proclaiming their decisions too. Some officials at the United Nations say that city-level action of this kind is very important.
The Olympia FOR’s June 2014 TV program featured four guests who work actively with Compassionate Seattle:
• John Hale is the Executive Director of Compassionate Seattle and collaborates extensively with the national and international levels of this growing movement.
• Stephanie Lane had a very rough youth but turned her life around. Now she has a Master’s degree in Social Work and is a Licensed Mental Health Professional who works in a compassionate and collaborative way with young people who experience various kinds of problems.
• Lisa Sterling has worked with Compassionate Seattle, especially regarding health & wellness and several other aspects. She has served on boards of several nationwide non-profit organizations and has personal experience with several areas of concerns that Compassionate Seattle addresses.
• Jeff Sterling has a background in economics and business. He also participated in the Occupy Movement and is working to offer compassionate alternatives to the dominant economic system.
The Dalai Lama said, “Compassion is the radicalism of this age.” Yes, it would indeed be radical to build a new system based on compassion. Let’s do it!
Buckminster Fuller said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” OK. Let’s use compassion to build a new model that can make the existing unjust and unworkable systems obsolete.
Building new systems based on compassion would require finding ways to include the people who have been excluded. This requires good listening and compassionate hearts. The results will be much more practical and workable than the dysfunctional systems we have now.
We have exciting challenges. Let’s face them with compassion and creativity!
Near the end of the TV program we offer the following resources:
www.wsipp.wa.gov has research by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy.