The Spokane City Council announced this week that it has has introduced a resolution calling for Spokane to be included in the International Charter for Compassionate Communities.
Compassionate Communities – part of the Charter for Compassion created by theologian Karen Armstrong- works to establish and sustain cultures of compassion locally and globally, according to its website. Cities involved in the communities program are provided with initiatives to help with community service, anti-bullying, homelessness, healthcare, restorative justice and education efforts and other issues.
“What this means for Spokane is that we’re joining over 300 other cities, nation states and provinces looking at restoring civiility back to public discourse, and compassion to communities,” said Spokane Interfaith Council President Skyler Oberst. “It’s not just signing paper, it’s demanding action. There’s no point of a resolution if it’s just words. We’re people of Spokane, we’re interested in getting things done.”
The Interfaith Council, the Spokane City Council, the Human Rights Commission and the mayor’s office have been working on this resolution for several months and the city council is expected to affirm the resolution in February.
“Spokane is a compassionate city. We have incredibly active non-profits and dedicated citizen volunteers who work around-the-clock to make Spokane a better place,” said Council President Ben Stuckart in a press release. “We are committed, as a city, to receive and maintain this designation. I believe our citizens have earned it.”
Currently, 325 cities, counties, states, provinces, and countries are either organizing to become, or have been recognized as Compassionate Communities. Thirty U.S. cities have signed CCI’s Charter for Compassion — a requirement for being recognized as a Compassionate Community — including Seattle, Lacey and Lake Forest Park..
Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting and digital entrepreneurship. In her approximate 20 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut and Washington. She is the executive director of SpokaneFāVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Washington. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and national publications. She is a Scholarly Assistant Professor of Journalism at Washington State University.
Tracy, I appreciate your article very much. There is something I think you should know about. If someone was visiting Spokane on Pride Day (parade and festival) downtown on June 11th, I don’t think they would believe we are a compassionate city. Sadly we have been dealing with harassment from several hate fanatics on that day for years. They have a blow horn, hateful signs and spew out insults, twisted biblical scriptures and death threats to the LGBT community trying to enjoy the parade and festival. Some people call it free speech. Perhaps you could write something about it. It particularly hits the young people hard. We have peacekeepers from Peace and Justice trying to sooth the victims of this verbal violence and to encourage them not to interact with these hate-filled individuals, but it isn’t enough. Spokane needs to come together and stand up to this kind of hate and intolerance and let the LGBT people know we are behind them.
Thank you Teresa. We have reported on the Spokane Street Preachers before. There is always chatter about how offensive they are, but there was also talk about how wonderful it was that people blocked them so others could attend the parade!