In November of 2011, Louisville’s Mayor Greg Fischer signed a resolution committing to a ten year “Compassionate Louisville” campaign, making our city the largest one in America to be marked as an international city of compassion. You can learn more about the resolution, the Charter for Compassion, and how Louisville will live up to its new responsibilities here.
One of the ways the city is helping to spread the word about the campaign is through a series of “World Cafe” experiences facilitated by Howard Mason of New Possibilities Associates. When the Compassionate Louisville committee let it be known that there was a desire to have various community groups, faith-based organizations and individuals host these World Cafe experiences, Family Scholar House said, without hesitation, “Yes!”
We have committed to hosting two conversations, and the first took place on Thursday, June 28th, at Maupin Elementary School in the Parkland neighborhood. In a corner of the elementary school’s cafeteria, with water, coffee and baked goods on hand, and eager voices ready to share, FSH staff members Julie Richardson Brown and Harvetta Ray, along with Mr. Mason, listened to the concerns and hopes and commitments of eight neighborhood community leaders.
These men and women care–in every sense of the word. In the face of violence and crime and poverty in their neighborhood, they want peace, stability, wholeness, and they are ready to work for it–hard. Their care was evident in every word they spoke, and their willingness to do whatever needs doing even more plain.
They are people of compassion–already–and likely some of our city’s greatest treasures when it comes to actually living out what it means to be compassion.
Personal responsibility. Accountability. Respect. Cooperative efforts. Presence. These are some of the words they used–over and over–in talking about living from a place of compassion. Loving one another as we love ourselves–that’s everything, they said.
They were a small but mighty group, and they exemplified the truths that we hold dear at Family Scholar House–that we are stronger together, that taking care of each other is part and parcel of living, and that when people have choices–real, available, good choices, they generally make the right choice.
We’re thankful for the opportunity to be part of a Compassionate Louisville. And we invite you to join us–in whatever way you can–as we live into a more compassionate future.
Our special thanks to Councilwoman Attica Scott, Maupin Elementary principal Terri Davenport, and Arthur Cox of St. George’s Community Center for their support of the World Cafe Experience. We’re grateful.