August Note From the President and CEO: Expanding and deepening our network of connections

August 22, 2022

Did you know that September 21 is International Peace Day? The United Nations indicates that:

Achieving true peace entails much more than laying down arms. It requires the building of societies where all members feel that they can flourish. It involves creating a world in which people are treated equally, regardless of their race.

Without question, the increased polarization in politics has made building peace, connections and understanding more difficult. It seems that all too often people are talking at each other, rather than really listening. This is so unfortunate.

This got me thinking about what it takes to build peace within the end-of-life choice movement — in ourselves, our families, our communities and our workplaces. Which, of course, is the foundation of building peace in society at large.

It takes daily, and sometimes moment by moment, work. To build relationships, expand our viewpoints, open our hearts and listen to each other. To connect with others — and stay connected. To sincerely recognize and honor one another.

This is work that we at Compassion & Choices elevated in April of 2018 – when the board of directors elevated the issue of creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive movement as one of our top three strategic objectives. After all, you can’t successfully foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive movement if you don’t learn how to listen to and understand different perspectives.

Through this work, we have learned so much about the ways different cultures view death, and the importance of acknowledging, understanding and addressing the unique perspectives and needs of different communities. We also have come to appreciate the common bond that unites us: a reality that we are all going to die, a desire not to suffer unnecessarily at life’s end, and a belief that patients should be the deciders in their own end-of-life care.

We might never gain the support of the small but loud and powerful opposition.  Nevertheless, we in the end-of-life care and choice movement are in a unique position to bring together supporters from across the political spectrum — from progressives to libertarians to conservatives. These supporters have drastically different views on most issues, from economics to immigration to policing; however, we come together around our shared belief that dying patients should be fully informed and empowered to receive care consistent with their values and priorities. This shared conviction can open the door for conversations that lead to greater understanding and respect for one another. Which doesn’t just improve end-of-life choice and care; it improves the quality of a civil, democratic society.

What we are striving for together fosters peace. Not just for individuals who are dying and their loved ones, but for our whole society. Together, we are building a greater appreciation of different perspectives and a more equitable, compassion-based healthcare system. One that enables all people — regardless of age, gender, race, culture or economic status — to have as much comfort as possible at life’s end.

I feel tremendously honored to be a part of this work.

In peace,


Compassion & Choices
Media Contacts

Sean Crowley
Media Relations Director
[email protected]

Patricia A. González-Portillo
National Latino Media Director
[email protected]
(323) 819 0310

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Littleton, CO 80128

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