Racism exists.

Our system is inequitable.

Black Lives Matter.

We should have shared these words before now—not just during the weeks preceding, or in past years. They should have been a part of the mission of our organization since day one.

We have a lot to learn and, more importantly, a lot of action to take to help make our nonprofit, our community, and the animal welfare sector a more inclusive and diverse place. We understand that racial injustice is deeply ingrained in our society, and we recognize how we have benefited from and perpetuated a system that is responsible for countless atrocities committed and lives lost as a result. We understand that we can no longer be silent, that we can no longer let this be someone else’s issue. We understand that to effectively create change, we have to start with ourselves. Here’s where we are beginning:

– Our staff and Board of Directors have committed to educating ourselves about systemic racism on the global, local, and individual level through assigned readings and discussions.

– We will prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programming at monthly board meetings, annual board/staff planning sessions, and in our organizational strategy.

– We will seek the guidance of experts in the field to help us build and assess our DEI efforts. This will include a review of all of our policies and practices to address racial biases and other inequities.

– We will form a DEI Committee to invite new perspectives and keep us accountable in working toward our goals.

– We will commit to more outreach, partnerships, and support to traditionally marginalized communities and POC-owned businesses.

Animal Aid stands in solidarity with the Black community of Portland and across the nation. Together, we can do better.

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