The Global Terrorism Database (www.http://start.umd.edu) has tracked six hundred and seventy two terrorist attacks around the world in the past year alone. Just day-before-yesterday, we experienced another, when fifty people of the LGBQT community in Orlando lost their lives at the hand of one gunman. So many unthinkable acts of violence have been committed and reported that we have almost become numb to their impact. As precious lives are senselessly taken, peace-loving human beings around the globe struggle to assimilate the news and to seek answers and solutions that will bring healing and reconciliation.
A valuable resource that I have mentioned several times in my blog is The Charter for Compassion, an organization conceived by 2008 TED winner Karen Armstrong to promote the principles of the golden rule across the religious and global spectrum.
The most recent Charter for Compassion newsletter addresses the tragedy in Orlando and urges all of us to stay united in grief and committed to working for peace. The letter includes an article by Harry Pickens, a Charter Arts Partner, as he reflects upon the celebration of life held for Mohammed Ali on June 10. Pickens writes:
We need to choose to open our minds and hearts today in a spirit of tolerance, connection, and compassion.
And he asks,
What if we intentionally chose to do the same tomorrow?
The letter lists new resources and initiatives on the Charter Website, which affirm that despite everything, we have reason to hope and to act in compassion. In the spirit of teaching peace and compassion, there is a link to a Teacher’s Guide on the prevention Violent Extremism.
You can subscribe to the Charter for Compassion newsletter if you would like to read this edition in its entirety. I’ll post the link on Facebook because I can’t figure out how to transfer it from my e-mail to my blog. (Technical advice on how to do that is welcomed in the comment section.)
The publication by the Charter for Compassion, along with numerous other thoughtful articles and posts that have come out since the Orlando tragedy, reinforce this hope, even in the midst of all the noise of hatred and discord:
If we listen for the voices of peace and, if we raise our own voices in solidarity with those who have been victimized by terror, the chorus of love and reconciliation will prevail over even the most heinous act of violence.