November 29, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Beyond the Index: Compassionate Wellbeing?

By Zoë Muntaner

Residents of Santa Monica were invited to play in the 2017 Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest, a worldwide “co-opetition” running September 11-24.

Throughout the duration, neighborhoods, organizations, businesses, and individuals organize and participate in games of their choice. Daily missions are posted in Compassionate Santa Monica social media pages. Scores will be tallied and displayed online, so “co-opetitors” can track the progress of teams worldwide. At the end of the games the city with more engagement wins the title of the most compassionate city in the world.

Four years ago, the consent calendar of the September 24 Santa Monica City Council Meeting agenda, asked that the City Council authorize the City Manager to sign the Charter for Compassion on behalf of the City of Santa Monica. A unanimous vote designated Santa Monica the first city in L.A. County to sign, affirm, and become a Compassionate City.

Councilmember Kevin McKeown replied in support of the initiative asking his colleagues: “Can we look into how this might dovetail with our million-dollar grant for community wellbeing and our under-practiced policy of civic civility?”

In 2010, Seattle affirmed the Charter for Compassion, and committed to a 10-year Compassionate City campaign, followed two years later by Lake Forest Park. In 2012, the City of Louisville, Kentucky, challenged Seattle to see which is the most compassionate city. Mayor Greg Fischer declared Louisville a Compassionate City on 11-11-11. On that day, he posed an interesting question: “Wouldn’t the world be a better place if cities competed around love and compassion, and not just sports?”

Although we’ve wanted to give Seattle and Louisville a run for their money, city government and the Wellbeing Index have yet to fully engage with the program. If the Index wanted to legitimate itself, this initiative is of paramount importance to the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge Award that created the Wellbeing Project, which Santa Monica is vying with gusto.

Recently, the mayor of Dallas visited Louisville for the Leadership Louisville Annual Meeting. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings spoke in terms that resonated with Fischer – that a city should be a platform for every citizen to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Fischer would agree that a city should be a platform for everyone to flourish, which is why we seek to become a more compassionate city.

Dallas is actively working to beat the socks off Louisville in the very games that Fisher inspired. Dallas plans to feed the hungry in packaging over 100,000 meals, a compassion walk, and are partnering with the arts districts and businesses around their town to win the games. Their efforts could not be more needed with the devastation in nearby Houston. Santa Monica wants to plan future block parties to meet neighbors and promote resilience. We must up our game!

Santa Monica City Councilmember Pam O’Connor once called The Wellbeing Project a “game changer;” the Compassion Games are here to measure value, viability and growth. Although O’Connor directed Julie Rusk, Chief of Civic Wellbeing, and Libby Carlson, Senior Strategist of the Office of Wellbeing, to meet with Compassionate Santa Monica four years ago, their busy schedules have prevented co-creation. Meanwhile at City Chambers discussion Tuesday evening, public comment form multiple board and commissions community leader Albin Gielicz revealed he regularly meets with Rusk to discuss a new definition of wellbeing for Santa Monica.

We need tangible solutions to our problems instead symbolic posturing to make our city a true model of compassion and wellbeing. It takes outside, private-sector thinking, to help solve public-sector problems. At next week’s Hack the Beach competition, pitches will be made for ideas to make wellbeing tangible and compassionate. The contest is collaboration between the City of Santa Monica, Chamber of Commerce and several tech-sector partners, in an environment of learning, sharing, and problem solving. Auspiciously the pitch event will take place on Sept. 21, the International Day of Peace during the Compassion Games.

No one loses in the compassion games. But we still want to win and we still need your help. Game On!

Compassion

For more on the games head to: compassiongames.org, and in Santa Monica: Twitter @CompassionSaMo, Facebook @compassionateSAMO.

Related Posts

Edify TV: How Santa Monicans Celebrated Thanksgiving

November 27, 2020

November 27, 2020

Thanksgiving looks a whole lot different this year due the COVID-19 pandemic. We ask Santa Monicans how they are celebrating...

SMa.r.t. Column: Our Brave New World: How the Residents Can Help Realize Their Goals

November 27, 2020

November 27, 2020

As the weather chills, we enter a Holiday Season like no other that the City of Santa Monica has seen...

Santa Monica City Council Incumbents Concede

November 27, 2020

November 27, 2020

Terry O’Day, Ted Winterer and Ana Jara issue statements after challengers pick up three seats  By Sam Catanzaro Over the...

Edify TV: Layoffs Coming as LA County Suspends Outdoor Dining

November 25, 2020

November 25, 2020

“We are laying off about 70 percent of our staff,” says a local restaurant owner in the wake of LA County...

New Santa Monica Wood-Fired Pizza Restaurant Closes Right After Opening

November 25, 2020

November 25, 2020

Ghisallo’s wood-fired pizza closes due to a plumbing issue after less than 24 hours after opening By Toi Creel A...

SMMUSD Reopening Updates: Santa Monica Beat – November, 23, 2020

November 23, 2020

November 23, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * SMMUSD Reopening Updates * Homicides Reach 300 Highest Rate in A...

SMC Maintains 30 Year Run Streak as No. 1 Transfer College to UC System

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

SMC sent 1,197 students to UC campuses in prior academic year Santa Monica College (SMC) has maintained a record 30-year...

Westside Chefs React to New Dining Restrictions

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

Capacity in Los Angeles restaurants capped at 50 percent By Toi Creel Local restaurants are having to make some big...

New Findings Show Botched Santa Monica Police Response to May 31st Riots: Santa Monica Beat – November, 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * New Findings Show Botched Santa Monica Police Response to May 31st...

Free COVID-19 Antibody Test in Santa Monica

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

November 19-21 at Calvary Baptist Church of Santa Monica A Santa Monica church is pairing up with a non-profit charity...

Randy’s Donuts Coming to Santa Monica

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

2021 opening pegged for popular donut shop  By Kerry Slater  Randy’s Donuts is opening in a Santa Monica space that...

Westside Golf Course to be Affordable Housing?

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

As Los Angeles continues to grapple with an affordable housing crisis, an architect is proposing converting a Westside public golf...