People keep saying to me, “You are amazing.” Or, “Thank you so much for this.” Or, “What you’ve done is incredible.”
I’m not going to be falsely modest and say it was nothing. That would probably be irritating, but it would also be dishonourable to what we have created here. Because 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion is amazing, and every morning since I suggested it in a Facebook group, I wake up feeling astonished and grateful for how so many of you have embraced it.
Again, I’m not going to pretend: there have also been mornings when I’ve woken up feeling exhausted, anxious or sad, because my family has had a huge amount of turmoil since January 12th, when this all began. But in that, the 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion group has been a Godsend, something to focus on other than grief, somewhere to go for support, and something that just has helped me feel buoyed up and enthused whenever I thought about the amazing things that were happening.
20th February is now over in my part of the world, and almost over all over the world, but very early on it became clear that this was not just about one day. Before we’d even had our first day of speaking for compassion, people began writing and sharing posts that were beautiful, heart-breaking and heart-lifting, that delved into human misery and human and animal kindness. The movement began within minutes of me clicking a virtual button that said, “Create Group.”
It’s not stopping here either. Many people are already asking, “What’s next?” The plan just now is to keep this going on a monthly basis, with each month having a theme, and some having two or more themes, that people can either chose to write about or not. We don’t want to exclude anyone from writing about compassion just because one month’s theme doesn’t fit with their knowledge or experience. The themes will be chose to coincide with world events – so for instance in April some people would write about compassion for nature in honour of Earth day. It’s also Autism Awareness month, so some people would write about that.
You could also think of the themes as inspiration for anyone who isn’t sure what to write about – this shows that in no way are they compulsory. This first day, 20th February was chosen to coincide with UN World Social Justice Day and some people chose to highlight that in their posts, but many didn’t. Another, related, theme emerged because several people, including me, chose to write about the homeless. Many others wrote about self-compassion.
The themes will also have another purpose, which is as yet in the very early stages of planning – so I won’t explain it yet, but stay tuned!
So, this was never about one day, and it was never about one or two people either. I know Lizzi Rogers, whose post, We All Need a Village, I was reading when I had the idea, who was the first person to say yes, and who has been involved in a big way right from the start, feels the same way I do, that this not our group, not our thing, that it belongs to everyone.
The idea on its own would have been nothing if nobody had said yes. It would have been nothing without the willingness of people to join the Facebook Group, to be admins there and on the page, to run the Pinterest board, to set up a blog for people without blogs, to set up a Google Plus Community, to make a video, share on Twitter. It would be nothing without the willingness of people to share their expertise, about social media, Linkie link-ups and so many other things.
It would be nothing without you.
So I want to introduce you to some of the amazing and generous people who have been working behind the scenes, supporting Lizzi and I as well as you.
The first person to say yes to being an admin on the Facebook Group was Roshni, of American Indian Mom, and she has been amazing in this role, and on the Facebook page. Time after time I’ve seen someone has asked a question and when I go to answer it Roshhi has got there first. Thank you Roshni!
As well as admining, Jen St Germain Leeman along with Leah Vidal set up the blog #1000Speak to spread the word to take submissions from non-bloggers.
Along with Lizzi and Erin Fangboner of Chronically Sick Manic Mother, all three of these women have been a huge personal support to me when things were difficult, and they took over running the Facebook group and other tasks when my father-in-law died. . I have known Roshni (online) for a while, but only slightly knew Leah and hadn’t met Jen or Erin at all before 1000 Voices Speak, so it is wonderful how well everyone has worked together. They have also been tirelessly promoting the group. In Lizzi’s words, Erin is, “A MACHINE!”
Every time someone says Gene’o is a social media expert, he says he’s not, so I won’t call him one. But let’s just say without his input #1000Speak would not flooding Twitter and we’d be making a much poorer job of getting the word out in general. Gene’o, his sister and others have also been amazing at sharing posts every weekend.
Many of you will have seen the wonderful video Tamara Woods of Paper,Pen,Pad made, but if not here it is again. (You can skip past the first minute or so if you like! Seriously, I’m still trying to get used to seeing myself on screen, and will be taking lessons from Tamara because she is either a natural or very practised!) The video was a huge undertaking and Tamara did a brilliant job. So did all the wonderful people who recorded clips, explaining what compassion means to them.
While we’re on the video, I want to mention Dave Listwa, husband of Lisa from The Meaning of Me. Lisa is full of enthusiasm for 1000 Voices and recruited Dave to do the music for Tamara’s video. Dave’s website is here.
Michelle Liew, of Getting Literal, has done an amazing and wonderful job from when the first compassion posts came out. She has been collecting the links and curating them into an online magazine on Scoop It, so that there is a permanent record of all the posts people have written, not just the ones for February 20th. You can find her magazine at 1000 Voices Speak Up For Compassion
Christine Carter had a great idea to find out where in the world everyone came from and to make it into a graphic. Once she’d got everyone, Crystal Cook of The Quiet Muse, then stepped in to bring this brilliant idea to life and you can see the result below.
Marcia Shaw Wyatt of Blogitudes realised that although our Facebook group was going great, not everyone has an account and since she is experienced on Google Plus, she set up and runs a community there. So if you are on Google Plus, you can join 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion.
Early on I started a Pinterest board, but I’m not much of a pinner and very quickly floundered. Sarah Nilson Martin, of Me Plus 3, very kindly offered to take over instead. You can find the group board here.
Many, many of you have done an amazing job of reaching out to others and encouraging them to join in. Thank you all for that. Kristi Campbell of Finding Ninee runs a weekly blog hop, Finish the Sentence Friday, and since compassion is a cause she has been promoting for a long time with her Our Land series, she got everyone from her blog hop to write about compassion and join our hop. Pooja S Mulleth of Ilirian Ravings is another who worked quietly to encourage many, many people to join in.
I’m immensely, intensely and insanely grateful to each and every one of the people I’ve written about here. Their enthusiasm and encouragement kept me going.
The logo here and at the top of this post, as well as in many people’s social media avatars, was designed by my friend Pam Bennett. As well as being a friend who has been there for me through all sorts of situations for around 30 years, she is a graphic and textile designer.
Finally, I do need to add something more about Lizzi. You already know she’s been a huge part of this group and that her post sparked the idea in me, but she also was darned good at getting me to take it seriously instead of copping out once I’d set things in motion. Early on, when people were firing questions to which I didn’t yet have answers, it felt a little overwhelming and I was kinda backing out of responsibility by saying it was a co-operative effort, not “my” group. Lizzi gave me a little pep talk, that included this, “It’s co-operative but people do like a leader – someone to tell people and organise them.”
She was right and I’m glad she spoke up. Thank you Lizzi.
It’s been amazing. We’ve all done a great job, so THANK YOU!!
And remember, it’s far from over!