People in San Antonio have been dancing around the edges of The Charter for Compassion since it was first released in 2009. The official Compassionate San Antonio grassroots campaign began in January, 2013. We collected THOUSANDS of signatures on four huge vinyl “Charter for Compassion banners that we introduced at close to 100 events. It’s time to buckle down now, though, and present our proposal the Mayor and City Council.
Earlier in the week City Councilman Ron Nirenberg (he gets sworn in as our new mayor on Wednesday) submitted this resolution affirming the Charter for Compassion to the San Antonio City Clerk.
A RESOLUTION AFFIRMING THE CHARTER FOR COMPASSION, FACILITATED BY CITIZENS OF SAN ANTONIO COMMITTED TO COMPASSION, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR COMPASSIONATE CITIES
WHEREAS compassion is a purpose, principle, and unifying value that guides and compels people of all backgrounds, perspectives, creeds, and cultures to treat all human beings with justice, equity, and respect;
WHEREAS research demonstrates that practicing compassion produces positive benefits in all sectors of civic and community life, including safety, public health, and physical, mental, and spiritual well-being;
WHEREAS the International Campaign for Compassionate Cities is a global movement inspired by the Golden Rule, or Ethic of Reciprocity, which calls on each person to treat others as he or she wishes to be treated;
WHEREAS residents of the City of San Antonio and Bexar County demonstrate this ethic daily in their homes, schools, places of faith, businesses, community organizations and on our streets;
WHEREAS San Antonio continues to exemplify compassionate values in many forms, from its five-time NBA championship team, the Spurs, who play, mentor and lead with compassion, to its hosting of the largest Martin Luther King, Jr. March in the country and its welcoming and support of 35,000 evacuees who sought refuge after Hurricane Katrina, that show a living example of compassion to the world;
WHEREAS San Antonio and Bexar County continue to strive to advance the quality of life for all their residents and in all their communities, without partisanship, and with the conviction that people can and do have the capacity to improve their lives and make a positive difference in the lives of others;
WHEREAS San Antonio was founded in faith almost three hundred years ago by our foremothers and fathers, and the city continues that tradition today through its Faith-Based Initiative by exploring and actualizing collaboration across faith and civic lines to promote the greater good;
WHEREAS many expressions of compassion take place in our city on a daily basis facilitated by dedicated community organizations working to lift up our neighbors by ensuring equality and promote the human potential of our community;
WHEREAS the Charter for Compassion is active in nearly 50 countries with initiatives in hundreds of cities and communities, both large and small, including Austin, Dallas, Houston and our sister city of Monterrey, Mexico, each with their own unique way of expressing compassion and exploring the use of compassion as their overall strategic lens within complex urban growth and conflicted times;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SAN ANTONIO:
1. hereby go on record as recognizing and acknowledging that their constituents are modeling actions and attitudes that reflect the Golden Rule as expressed in the International Campaign for Compassionate Cities’ “Charter for Compassion”;
2. encourage San Antonio’s institutions of learning to have all ages explore and teach compassion, based on the extensive research and resources that validate the full spectrum of the benefits of compassion, from being good for the bottom line of business to being a part of the human DNA;
3. acknowledge that more compassionate action will be needed for all San Antonio and Bexar County residents to prosper, by intentionally engaging a commission, task force or department within the City structure to champion compassion in a reasoned, coordinated, long-range plan for assisting the City of San Antonio government, its communities and neighborhoods in creating and realizing wide-ranging efforts that foster this goal;
4. accept the support of other public, private, community and faith-based organizations that wish to improve the quality of life for all residents of San Antonio and Bexar County and to generate compassionate action through local initiatives, policies and programs;
5. consider the creation of a registry that would recognize, record and celebrate acts of compassion among members of the San Antonio Community;
6. hereby affirm the Charter for Compassion and authorize the city’s registration with the International Campaign for Compassionate Cities through Compassion Action Network International.
Adopted by the Mayor and City Council of San Antonio, ____________________ date________
Earlier in the month, Ann Helmke met with Ruben Lizalde, Special Projects and Strategic Initiatives in Mayor Taylor’s office. What was expected to be short meeting stretched to a very productive hour and a half!
We’ve written a solid outline of the city resolution and will buff it up over the next couple of weeks. We hope to present to City Council on December 1, 2016.
We learned from the Compassion Action Network that The Mexican State of Nuevo Leon has adopted the Charter for Compassion, and at the Encuentro Mundial de Valores (Worldwide Meeting on Human Values) in October, seven cities — including San Antonio’s sister city of Monterrey — will become compassionate Cities. Ron Nirenberg, City Councilman for District 8, is also the vice chair of Sister Cities International. He kindly produced a short video congratulating them. It will be shown at the conference on October 22.
The next step in having San Antonio recognized as a Compassionate City is to draft the resolution; getting one passed is part of the official process. We’re also creating information packets that we’ll leave behind when we visit city council to explain our goals to them. The packet will include a short list of iconic San Antonio actions that demonstrate why we think San Antonio is already a Compassionate City.
Every week (or so) we’ll post here to keep everyone updated about our progress in having San Antonio recognized as a Compassionate City. The complete list of actions is archived HERE.