At the same time that U.S. President Barack Obama announced he was weighing the possibility of taking military action against ISIS within the borders or Syria, and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin intensified his country’s military dominance in eastern Ukraine, the editors of Words and Violence labored to ensure the launch of the fourth edition of the education curriculum resource on August 29, 2014.
A free online publication provided by Voices Compassion Education, which itself is a learning component of Charter for Compassion International, Words and Violence is published each year on the anniversary of the late performing artist and philanthropist Michael Joseph Jackson’s birth. Its creation was inspired by and dedicated to both Jackson and the late Lady Diana Spencer with the following words:
“May your work on behalf of humanity finally be recognized for what it was— art in the service of humanity. May your memory be indelibly written on the face of humanity’s evolution toward its own brilliance and in the volumes that chronicle the journey toward a more humane narrative on this planet…”
Words and Violence, edited by Barbara Kaufmann, was designed as a resource for high school and college students but its philosophy and content can be applied to a variety of situations in or out of classrooms. Its primary goal is to help encourage more humane behavior toward “public personalities” too often treated as soulless products rather than as human beings. It also seeks to inspire greater mindfulness in general when it comes to civil conduct in a world that daily grows more connected by social media and other forms of technology. In short, it is very in alignment with those goals and principles advocated by the Charter for Compassion.
Bullying the Planet
The escalating military conflicts previously noted, the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, rising cases of cyber bullying, and other forms of avoidable conflict that stall general human progress make the creative tools provided by Words and Violence very timely. The new fourth edition, however, goes beyond the conflict sustained between human beings and examines the way humanity “bullies the planet.”
As noted in Voice Compassion Education’s front-page introduction:
“We've all heard stories of climate change, deforestation, global warming, pollution, and the misuse of our natural resources. This new edition helps concretize the planet's reality, and offers hope for a new beginning, providing ways to take our concern and move us to action.”
Daily news reports on military conflicts and social unrest often note the number of lives lost during such clashes but reports are rarely provided where war’s impact on the planet and other forms of environmental abuse are concerned. Words and Violence editor Barbara Kaufmann corrects that omission along with a team of writers and artists that include: environmental journalist Richard Schiffman, syndicated columnist Robert Koehler, author-artist Carol Hiltner, and spiritual intuitive Maia Rose.
Contributors to past editions have included renowned compassionate individuals eager to lend their support to the curriculum project. Among them have been the following: the late great phenomenal woman Maya Angelou, international pop icon and entrepreneur Alicia Keys, and author Joseph Vogel. The curriculum also features writings by classic authors such as Emily Dickinson, Audre Lorde, Conrad Aiken, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and Wilfred Owen.
author of The River of Winged Dreams
and ELEMENTAL The Power of Illuminated Love
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