June 15, 2015 Compassionate Austin Meet-Up

Summary of the June 15, 2015 Compassionate Austin Meet-Up 

Monday, June 15, 2015, 6:30-8:30 pm

Cepeda Branch, Austin Public Library

(Address: 651 N Pleasant Valley Rd, Austin, TX 78702; Phone: (512) 974-7372; Website: http://library.austintexas.gov/cepeda-branch)

Prep for the 6/15/15 Meet-up (sent out with the meet-up announcement/invitation):

Review the Charter Tool Box for Compassionate Cities on the Charter website (http://charterforcompassion.org/node/7885) and come prepared to talk about your thoughts/findings.

Agenda:

1)      6:30- 6:35 pm:  Welcome (Lesa Walker)

2)      6:35- 7:10 pm:  Austin Voices of Compassion- Discussion of the Charter Tool Box for Compassionate Communities:  http://charterforcompassion.org/node/7885 (All)

3)      7:10- 7:25 pm:  Discussion of the meeting with Dr. Kazique Prince (Senior Policy Advisor & Education Coordinator, Office of Mayor Steve Adler) and next steps- working toward a City Resolution (Lesa Walker)

4)      7:25- 7:35 pm:  Discussion of the Compassionate Austin presentation at the Community Advancement Network (CAN) Board Meeting (held June 12, 2015)  (Lesa Walker & Ted Ziehe)

5)      7:35- 7:45 pm:  Highlights from the Greenlights “AustinNext” event (held June 3, 2015):http://greenlights.org/austinnext (Lesa Walker)

6)      7:45- 7:55 pm:  Update on planning for Austin’s Peace Day/Week (9/11-21/15)  (Lesa Walker)

7)      7:55- 8:10 pm:  Updates on the Compassionate Austin website and other projects** (project update handout)  (Lesa Walker)

8)      8:10- 8:20 pm:  Discussion/Sharing of Ideas, Activities, Information, Resources (World Economic Forum articles/video re: compassion research; Educator Innovator article re: compassion in schools; Austin ranks 7th in compassionate cities; etc.)  (handout)  (All)

9)      8:20- 8:30 pm:   Next Steps  (All)

Handouts sent out prior to the meeting:

1) Updates on Compassionate Austin projects (Please email Lesa Walker at compassionateaustin@gmail.com if you want more info or want to be involved in any of these projects.)

2)  Key References/Resources (including links to the Charter Tool Box for Compassionate Cities; the Community Advancement Network (CAN) Dashboard 2015; World Economic Forum articles/video re: compassion research; Educator Innovator article re: compassion in schools; Forbes Blog article- Austin ranks 7th in compassionate cities; and more).

Summary  Notes (provided by Lesa):

We met at the Cepeda Library.

Welcome and Announcement of the launch of the Compassionate Austin website:

Lesa welcomed the group and provided a handout about the website (www.compassionateaustin.org) along with key references/resources.  The references/resources are also available on the website.  The website provides a roadmap for people to “Sign Up!”  “Compassion Up!”  “Measure Up!” and mobilize Compassionate Austin.

Austin Voices of Compassion:  Discussion of the Charter Tool Box:

Our initial discussion focused on the Charter Tool Box for compassionate communities: http://charterforcompassion.org/node/7885.  Mary had reviewed the information on the Charter website and provided her comments and insights.  Communities need to assess where more compassion is needed, focus and find something specific to work on, build and launch a campaign of some sort, and evaluate and sustain.  [Addendum:  To read about how Compassionate Austin is utilizing the Charter Tool Box framework, go to the Compassionate Austin website- click on “About” in the main menu (https://compassionateatx.wordpress.com/about/) and scroll down to “The Charter Tool Box” section.]

Additional comments:

–The hard thing is burnout.

–Need to increase participation.

–Ted: Noted the book- “We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation.”

–Every group is blazing a new trail.

–Need patience!

–Mary:  a big issue is race discrimination.  Also, the educational needs of children are vast.

–Ted:  The Community Advancement Network (CAN) Dashboard is an approximation of an assessment.  We need compassion as a community.

–Lesa:  Yes, definitely.  The CAN Dashboard is an excellent resource and assessment!

–Pat:  Working to bring Restorative Circles to schools.  A colleague, Dominic Barter – Restorative Circles- in Brazil- will be coming to Austin in October.  A good quote to remember is: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

–There are principles within individuals, between people, and in communities.

–What are the compassion principles and how do we do them?

Discussion of the meeting with Dr. Kazique Prince (Senior Policy Advisor & Education Coordinator, Office of Mayor Steve Adler) and next steps- working toward a City Resolution:

Lesa updated the group on her meeting with Dr. Kazique Prince and will be working on drafting a City Resolution. [Follow progress via “Projects” on the Compassionate Austin website.]

Discussion of the Compassionate Austin presentation at the Community Advancement Network (CAN) Board Meeting (held June 12, 2015):

Lesa provided a “Citizens Communication” (a brief 3-minute presentation) along with handouts to the CAN Board on June 12, 2015 and emphasized the importance of compassion and proposed the development of compassion indicators/measures for Austin.  As Ted stated above, the CAN Dashboard provides an excellent community assessment tool. [Follow progress via “Projects” on the Compassionate Austin website.]

Highlights from the Greenlights “AustinNext” event (held June 3, 2015) http://greenlights.org/austinnext:

Lesa attended “AustinNext.”  Mayor Adler spoke at the event and championed Austin as a city of social innovation.  Greenlights is leading a social innovation movement to address the needs of our community.  After attending the “AustinNext” event, Lesa thought about how compassion fits into the social innovation movement.  She realized that “compassion is the power source for social innovation.”  Compassion is what brings people to the table to work for social change to meet personal and community needs.  Lesa incorporated this perspective into the new Compassionate Austin website: www.compassionateaustin.org. Greenlights is hosting an upcoming conference in Austin, “Mission Driven” – on October 9-10, 2015.  [Follow progress via “Projects” on the Compassionate Austin website.]

Update on planning for Austin’s Peace Day/Week (9/11-21/15):

Presentation by Latifah Taormina about Peace Day Austin:

Latifah informed the group about SICA, the Subud International Cultural Association, an organization that inspires human values through art, culture, and creativity.  SICA is global (in 90 countries) and based in Austin.  Latifah is past chair.  Arts can awaken empathy- can open the door to a new way of thinking without putting people on the defensive.  Latifah was inspired by “Peace One Day”- an organization out of the UK which created the momentum that eventually resulted in the United Nations establishing the International Day of Peace on September 21st.  As a result, in past years, SICA has organized Poems for Peace in Austin to celebrate Peace Day.  This year SICA is joining with other peace organizations and groups throughout Austin (including Compassionate Austin) to create a series of events to celebrate Peace Day from September 11-21, 2015.  There is a GlobalGiving site:  http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/peace-day-austin/.

[For information about Peace Day Austin events, go to: http://www.peacedayaustin.org/.]

Updates on other projects/ Discussion & sharing of ideas, activities, information, resources/ Next steps:

Handouts were provided both prior to the meeting and also at the meeting with updates about the Compassionate Austin projects and with information on key resources/references.

Presentation by Calder Kamin:

Calder is the artist who created the Compassion Tree sculpture for Cunningham Elementary School which was unveiled in May, 2015.  Calder discussed her work and specific interest in educating children about environmental sustainability through her artwork and teaching.  She expressed her willingness to continue collaboration.  There was brainstorming among the group about how Calder could interface with the Peace Day Austin events and celebrations.  We discussed the possibility of engaging “The Thinkery” (the Austin Children’s Museum).

[Follow progress via “Projects” on the Compassionate Austin website.]