The History of the Kindness Campaign – Barry K. Weinhold, PhD LP
The Kindness Campaign grew out of the passage of an anti-gay amendment to the Colorado Constitution voted on by the voters in the fall of 1992. This initiative was spearheaded by a group in Colorado Springs called Colorado For Family Values and opposed by another Colorado Springs organization Calle The Citizen’s Project. We were living in Czechoslovakia at the time working as consultants to the United Nations and their International Year of the Family. While living in Bratislava, Slovakia, we were asked, “Where are you from in the U. S.?”
When we replied that we were from Colorado, we were met with, “Oh, that’s the hate state.” If they asked where in Colorado we lived, they would say, “Isn’t that where all that hate started?” The U. S. Supreme Court eventually ruled this law unconstitutional.
When we returned to Colorado in the spring of 1993, there still was a battle in the local media about who was “right” on this issue. As a trained mediator, I approached the leaders of each group and offered my services to help mediate the conflict. Neither side was interested, so the two groups continued to fight with each through the media. I believed that their reactions were fear-based and contributing to an increase in community violence.
I finally approached the local CBS television affiliate and asked if they would become a media sponsor for the Kindness Campaign. My hypothesis about the Campaign was that getting 20 percent of the people in our community to look for positive rather than negative things, the consciousness of the community would change. The Campaign in Colorado Springs was highly effective, and was subsequently implemented in 13 U. S. towns and cities. See more about the history of the Campaign below.