Written by Julie Knopp
How do we create an inclusive and equitable animal advocacy movement that allows people of all genders to give their all for the animals? How do we skillfully respond to allegations of sexual violence from activists against other activists, and prevent more of these incidents from happening? How do we ensure that women are just as represented in leadership roles as they are among all advocates? How do we make our movement more inclusive and welcoming to trans people?
CAA supporters Unny Nambudiripad, Amy Yule, Matt Schroeder, and I (Julie Knopp) have been thinking a lot about these questions. We want to create an inclusive community of animal advocates where people of all genders feel welcome and have equal access to leadership opportunities.
To start a conversation around these important issues, we’re working together to put on a free, day-long workshop called Equality Squared: Gender Equity in the Animal Advocacy Community. The goal of this workshop is to build skills to resist interpersonal and institutional sexism. Free lunch will be provided. All genders are part of the solution, so we encourage all to attend. You can register to attend here.
This event will begin with a brief introduction to gender issues in the animal advocacy community. We will spend the rest of the morning training ourselves as bystanders through role play and collaborative problem solving facilitated by the Aurora Center. After lunch, Raechel Tiffe will lead participants to develop community action plans. Groups will have the opportunity to create a specific gender equity solution and a plan for implementation. We will conclude with data-driven take-home recommendations to promote more equitable operations in our respective institutions. Unny Nambudiripad (CAA co-founder and former Executive Director) and Julie Knopp (CAA Board Member and Wholesome Minnesota Program Coordinator) will MC the event. Each participant will leave with the skills to create a more inclusive community of animal advocates.
This event is the first step towards a broader ongoing conversation and effort towards equity in our animal advocacy community. The event planners acknowledge that the event will be limited by time and will have to leave many elements of this issue unexplored. We do not consider ourselves experts on the issues; our hope is to facilitate a dialogue that will help foster growth and learning for all, including ourselves.