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Images Courtesy of Tracy McDaniel Photography


CARE is hosting our 3rd Annual American Black History Month Speakers Series. The speaker series aims to raise $250,000 towards African American Veterinary Scholarships for students at Tuskegee’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

You must register ahead of the event to receive your registration link. While registration is FREE,
we are asking everyone to contribute towards our Dr. Jodie G Blackwell Black Veterinary Scholarship fund.

Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity [C.A.R.E.] is a 501c3 organization.

Jodi Blackwell Scholarship

Dr. Jodie G. Blackwell, the scholarship’s namesake, graduated in the 2nd class of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Tuskegee University in 1950. Afterward, he opened a thriving private practice in SE Oklahoma. Needless to say, Dr. Jodie G. Blackwell also worked hard towards civil rights and was chosen by the Governor of Oklahoma to the Civil Rights Commission. Following these efforts, Dr. Jodie G. Blackwell sent his son, Michael, or as most of us know him, Dr. Blackwell, as one of four students to integrate Gray High School in Idabel, Oklahoma. 

Furthermore, Dr. Jodie G. Blackwell continued his private practice for 18 years and eventually joined the faculty at Tuskegee University, where he spent the last 25 years of his professional life. Undoubtedly, we recognize the legacy of this family and the importance of access and awareness. Dr. Blackwell is currently the only 2nd generation Tuskegee Veterinarian graduate. By all means, we intend that he will not be the last.


The Dark Shadows of American History were meant to suppress African American people. But, we have ascended and now rise to tell our own stories. The shadows remain but also serve to illustrate our collective resilience.

Some things to keep in mind:

The U.S. is facing a severe shortage of veterinarians. There are 135,000,000 Million companion pets in America, and less than 60,000 vets to help keep them healthy. Making matters worse, only 2% of the Veterinary field are African American. CARE is continuing to raise awareness of the 2% and doing all we can to change it. Note: ALL funds donated to CARE for February will go towards Dr. Jodi G. Blackwell Scholarship Fund.


Johnny Jenkins

Feb 8: What is Community Wisdom in Human and Animal Well-Being?

Join CARE’s Chief of Staff and R&D, Johnny Jenkins as he speaks to community leaders about their lived experiences, animal well-being, and social justice issues impacting their communities. The speakers will share the knowledge and wisdom that exist within their Black communities to survive the perpetual oppression of structural power and stratified privilege. You will learn about the wisdom with the problem solving skills as proximate leaders to showcase their resilience and self-determination.

Feb 15: Affrilachian: Advocacy through Law and Literature

CARE’s Chief of Environmental Justice & Policy, Akisha Townsend Eaton and her Sister, Jacinda Townsend, talk about how their Kentucky roots influenced both of their trajectories. They will speak on their reactions to the death of Tyre Nichols in the context of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, Jacinda’s multiple published books, and systemic racism in animal advocacy. And hear how Jacinda’s advocacy for her pet rabbit inspired Akisha’s interest in the field. 

Panel: Akisha Townsend Eaton, Jacinda Townsend

Bio: Jacinda Townsend is currently the Helen Zell Visiting Professor in Fiction at the Unviersity of Michigan.  She is also the author of Mother Country (Graywolf, 2022), winner of the 2022 Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, and Saint Monkey (Norton, 2014), which won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize. Please visit for more details.

Feb 22: The Hidden influence of African Art on American Art and Culture

CARE’s CEO, James Evans will discuss the hidden influence of Black Arts, including visual, vocal and dance. The finale will feature a guest performance from celebrated soprano Adia Evans.

Panel List: Earnest Shaw, Adia Evans

Ernest Shaw

Being a native of West Baltimore has taught Artist Ernest Shaw the meaning of perseverance, community and integrity. As a product of Baltimore City Public Schools, Baltimore School for the Arts, Morgan State University and Howard University Shaw recognizes the importance of using his skills and talents for the betterment of others, not simply for his own self-aggrandizement. For Ernest, teaching is also an artistic medium.

Adia Evans


Black Queers CARE: American Historical Figures and Kinship

Join CARE’s Chief of Research and Development, Johnny Jenkins. Thereupon, he will be leading a group session with activists and scholars discussing Black American queer historical figures. On top of Black LGBQ+ joint kinship, as well as the role companion pets in our traditional and non-traditional families. With that being said, Special Guests will be announced soon!

The Lingering Effects of Structural Racism on Housing

High-quality, stable housing is central to the health and well-being of all families. However, many obstacles are placed in the path of Black Americans. As a result, this makes it very difficult to access housing options, which continues to have a negative impact to the Black community. Join a chat with CARE’s Board Secretary, Kara D. Beverly, Esq., and Baltimore City Councilman, Dr. John T. Bullock. This is where they will discuss the impact of redlining and gentrified groups, the heightened effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a plan of action for a path forward.

Black Proximate Leaders

CARE’s Senior Director of Research and Development, Mueni Rudd, will aid in a talk with our Black-led CARE Centers. What’s more, is they will address how we can improve Black communities’ access to local pet resources. In addition to how animal welfare can begin to acknowledge and repair harm with Black communities locally.

The Power of Sankofa

The metaphor of “Sankofa” is a symbol used by the Akan people of Ghana, often portrayed as a bird with its head turned backward taking an egg from its back. It teaches us we must reach back to value past knowledge in order to move forward.

Join James Evans and teammates’ talk about things we could have learned from previous Civil rights movements and leaders to truly make progress.


Navigating Business While Black in a Time of Turbulence

Uva Coles, Inclusiva with James Evans, CARE CEO: Navigating Business While Black in a Time of Turbulence

Pathways to Veterinary School

Dr. Hodges and Dr. Ferguson, Critter Fixers, Dr. Michael Blackwell  DVM, MPH, FNAP, Director of Program for Pet Health Equity at the Center for Behavioral Health Research at UT

The Power of Animals: A look into Mental Health and the Animal Bond

Noah Haislah, @NoahandMilo and Personal Trainer, Candace Croney, PhD, Professor, Animal Behavior and Well-being|Director, Center for Animal Welfare Science with James Evans, CARE CEO
The Jodi G. Blackwell Scholarship Fund

Special Thanks to Tito's Vodka for Dog People and Maddie's Fund for their continued support.


*About Maddie’s Fund

Maddie’s Fund® is a family foundation established in 1994 by Dave and Cheryl Duffield and, even more, is the fulfillment of a promise to their inspirational dog, Maddie. Of course, she provided them much joy from 1987 – 1997, and continues to inspire them today.

The Foundation first, has awarded nearly $250 million in grants towards increased community lifesaving, pioneering shelter medicine education, and enforcing foster care as a standard across the U.S.

Secondly, the Maddie’s Fund proudly offers the industry a national voice and important funding opportunities for bold ideas. As well as, learning resources with access to unite and share lifesaving ideas. More so, the Foundation invests its resources in a promise to keeping pets and people together. Which, lastly creates a safety net of care for animals in need and operating within a broad culture.


*About Tito’s Vodka for Dog People

In short, the vision of our Vodka for Dog People program is to better the lives of pets and their families far and wide.
Certainly, an important part of the story here at Tito’s Handmade Vodka is the innate connection we have with our canine peers above all. Since the beginning, we have worked with Tito to bring his dream to life for 20 years. Our commitment to rescuing and protecting the animals that have come into our lives, are often a lucky coincidence. In which, many of whom now thrive alongside us at our distillery and our office.



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