Part 1: Zan (Woman)March 8, 2023
Part 2: Zendegi (Life)April 7, 2023
Media Contact: FOR RELEASE APRIL 3 AT NOON
Changemakers Circle Gathering in New Orleans Tonight at 8 p.m.
Helping BIPOC attendees make sure they’re supported at the nation’s largest
animal welfare conference
Baltimore, MD. (April 3, 2023) — While the Humane Society of the United States meets this week in New Orleans for its national animal welfare conference, a group of BIPOC members who are attending that conference will also be organizing their own gathering to spark change in the predominately white animal welfare industry.
The Changemakers Circle Gathering will take place at 8 p.m. on Monday, April 3 at the JW Marriott located at 614 Canal Street in the Rex Room in New Orleans. The event is being organized by Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (CARE), a national nonprofit based in Baltimore whose mission is to support BIPOC animal rescuers and their nonprofits. CARE also works tirelessly in diverse communities throughout the United States to champion accessible resources like veterinary care for under-resourced pet owners. This event is not open to the public, only invited guests and the media.
The Changemakers Circle Gathering will support the many new BIPOC faces attending the HSUS conference as well as serve as a chance to welcome old friends. This will allow for a safe networking event before walking into a conference of mostly white people, which can be intimidating to some. Animal welfare is traditionally 84 percent white women and often BIPOC workers in the industry are in lower-end positions and not afforded opportunities to travel for an event like this one.
CARE partnered with Harvard’s University’s Project Implicit to measure the bias that negatively impacts the animal welfare field. In the aggregate, participants showed an implicit preference for White people over Black people, non-Hispanic people over Hispanic people, and rich people over poor people. These results stood in contrast to self-reported preferences for Black people over White people, Hispanic people over non-Hispanic people, and poor people over rich people.
As an organization, CARE has focused on prioritizing BIPOC voices and centering efforts towards safe and trusted spaces, to help fill in the gaps where the animal welfare field has traditionally missed the mark. This is not the first time the Baltimore nonprofit has held an event like the Changemakers Gathering.
The group held its first national gathering in Philadelphia last October, where attendees stressed the importance of making sure animal welfare nonprofits work with communities. “Deeply examine how you and your organization are working “with communities” because chances are, you may be doing more harm than good, and you might be missing the work that is happening within a community by overlooking or purposefully disregarding that community’s leaders, simply to get recognition for “helping” these communities,” said veterinarian Jyothi V. Robertson, who attended the Philadelphia conference.
Working with communities has been a central issue of discussion at many animal welfare conferences. CARE hopes to spread the need for community partnerships in New Orleans and is looking forward to making new allies to promote its mission of human and animal well-being while looking at everything through a social justice lens.
Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity is a 501©3 nonprofit that addresses organizational and personal biases within animal welfare. The mission is to bring diverse voices to the industry while also advocating for a more inclusive path to pet adoption. CARE believes in using evidence-based tools, narratives, and insights to inspire organizations to be more inclusive and less biased. It is all an effort to save more companion animal lives.