“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, as a community, we don’t treat our neighbors as we would wish to be treated.” ~ Karen Armstrong, TED Prize Winner and Founder of the Charter for Compassion
Atlanta named a "Compassionate City"
On February 3, 2014 the City Council of Atlanta unanimously passed a resolution designating Atlanta as a "compassionate city" under the International Campaign for Compassionate Cities. Mayor Kasim Reed approved that resolution on February 12, 2014. All of this was made possible through the efforts of a local organization called, Compassionate Atlanta.
While this was a wonderful accomplishment for our city, the truth is that most Atlanta residents (and visitors) are unaware that this occurred. We would like to change that but we need your help.
COMPASSION is a unifying theme and one that everyone can get behind. It transcends religious ideology. It is timely and timeless! We generally get two questions when I tell people I want to make ATL the world's most compassionate city:
Karen Armstrong, the founder of the Charter for Compassion, offers a very constructive definition of a compassionate city. It appears at the top of this page. We can use this as a framework, or at least a starting point for our work here in Atlanta.
In terms of HOW, we have developed a 10-point action plan (outlined below) and this will be the focus of our Jan 28 Kick-off Meeting. We have coined a theme for our community service work in 2017, which is CONNECT WITH COMPASSION. The Atlanta BeltLine (and all of the ancillary planning that is occurring in Atlanta right now) is being done with the goal of connecting our city; our neighborhoods and the people who live in them. We are just saying, "Let's connect ourselves with compassion." We need and want your help to accomplish this mission.
To accomplish our mission of getting Atlanta to become known as "The World's Most Compassionate City," members of Urban Explorers of Atlanta will work together to achieve the following:
* If you own a business or lead an organization of any kind and would like to collaborate with Urban Explorers of Atlanta on this project, please contact us with the name of your business / organization and include a brief description of the work that you are doing in the community. Feel free to include suggestions on how we can make Atlanta a more compassionate city. If you are an individual who would like to contribute, please subscribe to our newsletter and/or follow us on Facebook to receive updates on this project. Thank you for your interest.
Connect with Compassion
Going forward, our club's service theme (mantra, if you will) will be "CONNECT WITH COMPASSION." This will be an ongoing, results-driven initiative that will begin with a series of compassion conversations among members and friends of Urban Explorers of Atlanta. These will be followed by specific projects aimed at alleviating pain and suffering throughout the Atlanta community.
Our kick-off meeting on January 28, 2016 will be held in the World Cafe format. The goal will be for those who participate to come up with a set of actionable ideas that we can implement in 2017 as part of our community service work.
All of this will be based on a global initiative called, the Charter for Compassion. On February 28, 2008 acclaimed scholar and bestselling author Karen Armstrong received the TED Prize and made a wish—to help create, launch, and propagate a Charter for Compassion. After much work and the contribution of thousands of people the Charter was unveiled to the world on November 12, 2009.
Urban Explorers of Atlanta will be collaborating with the Compassionate Atlanta leadership team to develop and implement our Connect with Compassionate game plan for 2017. We will also be working with the Emory-Tibet Partnership, which is doing some wonderful work on the convergence of science and inner values, which includes cognative-based compassion training.
Karen Armstrong, TED Prize Winner
As she accepts her 2008 TED Prize, author and scholar Karen Armstrong talks about how the Abrahamic religions -- Islam, Judaism, Christianity -- have been diverted from the moral purpose they share to foster compassion. But Armstrong has seen a yearning to change this fact. People want to be religious, she says; we should act to help make religion a force for harmony. She asks the TED community to help her build a Charter for Compassion -- to help restore the Golden Rule as the central global religious doctrine.
Weeks from the Charter for Compassion launch, Karen Armstrong looks at religion's role in the 21st century: Will its dogmas divide us? Or will it unite us for common good? She reviews the catalysts that can drive the world's faiths to rediscover the Golden Rule.