City College is made “Charter for Compassion” campus

Cecily Trowbridge and Cecily Trowbridge

In the midst of one of the most historically relevant periods of civil unrest in the world’s history, students at City College are endeavoring for a different path.

May 12, The Middle East Studies Club, honor society Phi Theta Kappa and students and faculty were present as City College became an official “Charter for Compassion” campus.

The “Charter for Compassion” is a document created by religious scholar Karen Armstrong which is meant to inspire people who sign to abide by the Golden Rule: “Do not do unto others as you would not have them do to you.”

As of this year, over 70,000 people have signed the charter.

“The older generation just forgets – we’re pathetic. I apologize on behalf of everyone in my generation because we had all the resources in the world and we just screwed it up,” said Professor Manou Eskandari, advisor of both clubs involved in the event.

“What’s wrong with the slogan, ‘Make love, not war’?” he said. “Notice – the people who talk about how valuable life is, they’re the ones sending you to war.”

Lauren Kahn, vice president of leadership for PTK, was the brainchild of the initiative.

“This has been a dream of mine for so long,” she said. “I’m ecstatic. I’m shocked that it has actually happened.”

Eskandari was also a driving force of the event, calling forth a friend, Professor Hymon Johnson of Comparative World Religions at Antioch University, who quoted activists famous for their struggles to create change through compassion such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mother Teresa.

Rabbi Lori Schneide from USC also spoke on the nature of compassion in Judaism.

Armstrong, a former Catholic nun, is now one of the foremost experts on Islam in the world and is author of the book History of God. She won the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) prize in 2008 which supplied her $100,000 to further fund her efforts.

“A lot of religious people like to be right rather than compassionate,” Armstrong said in her TED acceptance speech. “It’s time that we moved past toleration and started appreciation.”