City Council Report
City Council Meeting: September 24, 2013
Agenda Item: 3-L
To: Mayor and City Council
From: Rod Gould, City Manager
Subject: Charter for Compassion
Staff recommends that the City Council authorize the City Manager to sign the Charter for Compassion on behalf of the City of Santa Monica.
On February 28, 2008 the $1 million TED Prize was awarded to former nun and religious writer Karen Armstrong to help create, launch and propagate a Charter for Compassion, a document that would be based on the fundamental principles of universal justice and respect, with the Golden Rule at its ethical core.
The Charter for Compassion was created through an open and collaborative effort. In the fall of 2008, people of all nations, faiths, and backgrounds submitted their own words for inclusion in the Charter. In a six-week period, thousands of submissions from all over the world were entered and then read and commented upon by over 150,000 visitors. These contributions were then reviewed by the Council of Conscience, a multi-faith, multi-national group of religious thinkers and leaders, and incorporated into the final document.
The Charter for Compassion is facilitated by the Compassionate Action Network International (CANI). CANI is a worldwide network whose goal is to advance The Charter and the spirit and practice of the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The group works in diverse ways through various sectors of society to create and establish cultures of compassion locally and globally.
By the end of August 2013, over 98,000 individuals and organizations had signed the Charter for Compassion. The Charter has inspired community-based acts of compassion from Seattle to Karachi, Houston to Amsterdam, in schools, houses of worship, city governments, and among individuals.
The Charter for Compassion is a document that transcends religious, ideological, and national differences. It is a cooperative effort to restore not only compassionate thinking but, more importantly, compassionate action to the center of religious, moral and political life. Compassion is the principled determination to put ourselves in the shoes of the other, and lies at the heart of all religious and ethical systems. The text of the Charter is included in Attachment A.
Signing the Charter for Compassion would be an active and visible affirmation of the City of Santa Monica’s values. Additionally, the principles and vision outlined in the Charter reinforce the Council’s policy on civility, adopted on December 13, 2011, which promotes civil discourse and participation during public meetings by enhancing the people’s right to speak and allowing all present to express their opinions without the fear of retaliation or verbal attacks.
Should Council direct staff to sign the Charter on behalf of the City, staff would do so electronically at http://charterforcompassion.org/the-charter .