North Carolina’s First “City of Compassion”

Interfaith Winston-Salem’s efforts to have the City of Winston-Salem join the International Compassionate Cities movement are accelerating.  Following unanimous approval on July 9 by the Community Development/Housing/General Government Committee to affirm the Charter for Compassion, the full city council heartily endorsed the charter July 15.  Dr. Richard Wyderski, Dr. Michelle Nicolle, Drea Parker and Jerry McLeese told the council members why they believe compassionate action is important to Winston-Salem.

Interfaith Winston-Salem now will submit an application and one-year plan to Compassionate Action Network International, asking that Winston-Salem be declared a city of compassion.  If the application is approved, Winston-Salem would become only the 19th city in the world to receive this designation.  Seattle; Louisville, Ky.; Cincinnati; and Houston are among the 10 other U.S. cities that claim the distinction.

Locally, more than 200 people and 17 organizations have endorsed the Charter for Compassion.  Those who have not signed can do so at

The charter says, in part:

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the center of our world and put another there, and to honor the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

The world-wide movement of compassionate cities began five years ago when writer Karen Armstrong won a $100,000 TED Prize.  She dedicated the prize to a desire to restore the Golden Rule as the way we live our lives.  In 2010, she joined Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Seattle for a Seeds of Compassion event that attracted more than 150,000 people.  Compassionate Action Network International was created at that time.  Approximately 100 cities, including Winston-Salem, are actively working to become cities of compassion.

Participants in Compassionate Winston-Salem have accepted a challenge from Seattle and Louisville to participate in September’s “Compassion Games,” ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­to elevate compassion in the community through acts of kindness.  More details will be provided.

Local media have highlighted Interfaith Winston-Salem’s efforts in the last two weeks.  Board members Drea Parker and Jerry McLeese were interviewed by WFDD, the local NPR affiliate.  You can hear the interview at   The Winston-Salem Journal’s July 16 article can be read at .

About compassionatews

Think of a giant umbrella. Under that umbrella are all of the programs and acts of compassion that we see – and don’t see – around us in Winston-Salem.
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1 Response to North Carolina’s First “City of Compassion”

  1. Pingback: Carta por la Compasión | PASO A LA UTOPÍA

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