What Does The Empathy Symbol Stand For?

The Empathy Symbol stands for 2 “sides” reaching out to each other, and opening up to try to truly understand the other’s experiences and feelings. It could be 2 groups of people: men and women, blacks and whites, Jews and Muslims, fundamentalist Christians and atheists, Israelis and Palestinians, gays and straights, old and young, able-bodied and disabled, immigrants and native-born, and so on; or it could be 2 individuals: spouses, neighbors, co-workers, etc.

The Original Empathy Symbol, created in 1973

People have asked about the origins of the empathy symbol. I was a college student, active in the anti-Vietnam war movement. EmpathyMedallion150wI was contemplating the peace symbol I was wearing, when suddenly the idea for the empathy symbol popped into my head, full-blown. It felt as though it had been given to me, and I have felt spiritually charged to bring it to the world ever since. Deb Ellsworth

Help Us Spread the Value of Empathy!

We will send you FREE up to five bumper stickers, eight peel-off empathy symbols, four bookmarks and three buttons. Let us know which items you want, and your address. 

Empathy News

For more information about the empathy movement, read Empathy Magazine an online collection of the latest news about empathy from around the world Curated by Edwin Rutsch

Featured Empathy Promoter

All Are Welcome Here is a grassroots movement that started in Minnesota in the aftermath of the 2016 election, in response to expressions of hate and racism that happened at the high school which the founder of AAWH had attended. She felt compelled to do something, to speak out against this growing atmosphere of tolerance for hate speech. So she made a sign and put it out in her yard. From that one simple, heartfelt sign, the movement has grown. Now you see the signs all over the metro area of Minneapolis/St. Paul. People are putting their support for tolerance and inclusion out at their homes and at their businesses and at their schools in many states. Harvard Dance School welcomed new students this fall with the signs.

Listen to the words to of a Somali high school student who is new to our country and wears a hijab: “When I went to visit my friend in Minneapolis and saw so many ‘All Are Welcome Here’ signs in people’s yards, and all the “Black Lives Matter” signs, for the first time, I felt like I could really relax. I felt like I belonged.”

This is the mission of AAWH: “Our mission is to support an inclusive, non-partisan, and positive environment for All in the state of Minnesota and the broader United States. We believe diversity makes Minnesota and the United States great, and we are committed to taking concrete actions to support our mission and vision.”

Check out their Facebook Page to see interesting posts about how people are working to help all people feel welcome. 


See our previously featured Empathy Promoters.




Join the conversation on the Empathy Symbol Facebook Page!

Check out our Facebook page, and Follow and join the conversation. Posts about the value of empathy in our polarized world; how to promote empathy; and especially posts to further our own empathy toward, and understanding of, others.

Shirts with the Empathy Symbol

Now you can wear the empathy symbol and show what you stand for! Buy sweatshirts with the empathy symbol on them from Amazon!

Using the Empathy Symbol

Empathy Tattoos

  • Morgan says: I’ve always been really sensitive to other people’s feelings
  • Alba San Nicolás’ tattoo
  • David G. proudly shows his commitment to empathy.
  • Amanda says, “I love this movement.”
  • Nils says, “I got my empathy symbol tattoo almost two years ago. the symbol is part of a bigger tattoo
  • Kristeena says: . I’m a counselor who works with at risk youth and Empathy is my life.
  • Katie says ”The empathy symbol is on my pinky. ”
  • Tyler says ” This tattoo reminds me everyday to be more understanding of others and hopefully live in a world where everyone can empathise with each other.”
  • James is proudly displaying his new tattoo that says, “Humility, Empathy, Respect”
  • Tattoo from Alba San Nicolás
  • Ronda says, “ I talk about this all the time and couldn’t wait to get my tattoo to be able to spread the love. “
  • George Aboagye says: “Hopefully I can increase awareness of the importance of this level of consciousness here in Ghana. “
  • Nathan says, “Thanks for the inspiration.”
  • I got a tattoo of the empathy symbol both to remind myself of a humongous part of me as well as to educate others on empathy.
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    Amber says: Thank you for sharing the symbol for empathy with all of us, this was my first tattoo and I couldn’t have chose anything more meaningful to me! Empathy is key to happiness.
  • Fernando tattoo 1
    From Fernando