Diversity, Inclusion, and Opportunities: An Interview with Animal Charity Evaluators

The Sistah Vegan Project was excited to hear about the work Animal Charity Evaluators  (ACE) is doing in the animal advocacy world. We decided to ask them a few questions about their organization, their new diversity and inclusion initiative, as well as telecommuting opportunities available at ACE– which is great for those of you seeking paid opportunities that focus on animal advocacy.

The mainstream animal advocacy movement continues to be homogenous and challenged by a climate and a collective perspective that creates exclusivity. As an organization that recognizes this homogeneity (and to some degree their own unintentional collusion with this), ACE has decided to work on solutions– first by acknowledging that there is a problem and second by taking responsibility to self-reflect and act.

What are your names and what does ACE do?

Our names are Jon Bockman (Executive Director) and Toni Adleberg (Researcher), and we are co-workers at Animal Charity Evaluators, a charity that works to find and promote the most effective ways to help animals. We do this by conducting research to identify effective animal charities and interventions, and promoting our findings as free resources for all advocates.

ACE recently made a commitment to integrating diversity and inclusion into its culture. Can you talk more about this?

At many animal advocacy events, diversity can be the elephant in the room. At the Animal Rights Conference in 2016, David Carter gave a speech in which he told the audience to look around the room and count the number of Black people that we saw. He then asked how we expect to change the world for animals if we only direct our efforts to a very limited audience.

Most animal advocates support the idea of diversity and inclusion in theory, but we think that many of them fail to appreciate how much active work we have to do to achieve diversity and inclusion in the movement in practice. Animal advocates may reluctant to do this kind of work, because they worry that it would take resources away from animal advocacy and make it harder rather than easier to do the most good we can for nonhuman animals.

Knowing that we were positioned as a meta-charity that provides advice to animal advocates and charities, we decided that we were in a unique position to promote the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the movement. However, we also knew that we had a lot of learning to do on the subject, so we started doing more research in this area, and we also partnered with Critical Diversity Solutions so that they could advise us about how to implement positive changes at ACE and encourage positive changes in the movement as a whole.

What job opportunities are offered at ACE and how does this connect to your new diversity and inclusion initiative?

We have several job opportunities at ACE right now, and each of them have a connection to our diversity and inclusion initiative.

The Digital Media Manager will oversee our social media content, and thus have an opportunity to help ACE identify and share materials from a wide range of outlets. This work will help educate animal advocates as well as ACE itself on a number of important and neglected topics.

The Media Relations Specialist will coordinate with the media, which will allow us to build relationships with new contacts and outlets and share ideas about effective animal advocacy with them.

The Research Associate will be involved with crafting our research initiatives and conducting our annual charity evaluations. We are currently integrating considerations of diversity and inclusion into our evaluation criteria while improving our evaluation process in other ways as well, and this position would assist in those efforts.

Anything else you want to add?

ACE operates as a part of the animal advocacy movement and effective altruism movement. Both of these movements have problems with diversity and inclusion, and we want that to change. We understand that simply adding new faces to these movements will not be enough. We hope to see the animal advocacy and effective altruism movements incorporate new perspectives and world-views, and we hope to see people with marginalized identities better represented at every level in animal advocacy and effective altruist organizations.

Promoting diversity and inclusion is the right thing to do. We should be supporting other social movements for their own sake, whether or not we stand to benefit from doing so. That said, we do think that supporting other social justice movements will benefit the animal advocacy and effective altruism movements. Relatively diverse charities may develop more accurate world-views than less diverse charities by integrating a wide range of perspectives and experiences. On a practical level, as our movements become more diverse and inclusive, they will expand their reach, and thus, their impact.

However, we know that—even though promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion is the right thing to do—we may not be the right people to do it on our own. We are also cognizant of the fact that there are long-standing problems in this area that will not be fixed with a simple initiative. We are incredibly happy to be working with Critical Diversity Solutions to ensure that we are taking responsible measures to improve as efficiently as possible.

If people have questions about ACE and these new opportunities as well as your new diversity and inclusion initiatives, how can they reach you?

We would love to hear from you! You can find each of our emails on our team page, or you can contact Jon or Toni at their respective email addresses:

“Bridging the [cis]gender gap in the workplace”: Outdated Cissexist Rhetoric

Dr. A.Breeze Harper (Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)

I find it interesting that there is a lot of talk about “bridging the gender gap” in terms of problems with diversity in the USAmerican workplace– particularly here in the SF Bay area’s tech region. I have observed that most people who offer services and tools for organizational development/hiring/retention and “diversity”, continue to pose the “Gender gap” question within a cis-sexist framework. What I mean is that the “gender gap” question keeps on focusing on cisgender women and how they compare to cisgender men.

What about people who do not identify as cisgender? In addition, the cisgender assumption is quite one dimensional and assumes factors such as race have nothing to do with the “[cis]-gender gap.” I am bringing this up because I keep on receiving emails or tweet notifications about businesses that create services and tools to “Tackle the gender gap” but are within a white cisgender framing of this “diversity” problem. It’s almost as if most people offering business solutions who are working on the “gender gap” do not have a degree or deep experience in critical race feminism (or similar). Their conceptualization of “Gender gap” is 2nd wave feminist- outdated. Lastly, many show their reports about gender in the workplace by continuing to use “male” and “female” in describing “gender”. Male and female are not “Genders”; they are biological sexes assigned at birth (and even the ‘biological’ is socially constructed)…. Any thoughts on this?


Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a senior diversity and inclusion strategist for Critical Diversity Solutions, a seasoned speaker, and author of books and articles related to critical race feminism, intersectional anti-racism, and ethical consumption. As a writer, she is best known as the creator and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men use hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies. In 2016, she collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the backgrounder Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked offFoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system.

Dr. Harper is the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project which has put on several ground-breaking conferences with emphasis on intersection of racialized consciousness, anti-racism, and ethical consumption (i.e., veganism, animal rights, Fair Trade). Last year she organized the highly successful conference The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter which can be downloaded.

Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. Her current 2016 lecture circuit focuses on excerpts from her latest book in progress, Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist’s Journey Through ‘Post-Racial’ Ethical Foodscape which will be released in 2017, along with the second Sistah Vegan project anthology The Praxis of Justice in an Era of Black Lives Matter. In tandem with these book projects, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”

In the spring of 2016, Dr. Harper was nominated as the Vice Presidential candidate for the Humane Party— the only vegan political party in the USA with focus on human and non-human animals.

 

[Video]Diversity Rhetoric as Healing or Hurting? Decolonial Politics, Self-Care, and Structural Change in a 'Post-Racial' Era

I gave a talk at Occidental College  Sept 30 2013, 430-6pm. It was called Diversity Rhetoric as Healing or Hurting? Decolonial Politics, Self-Care, and Structural Change in a ‘Post-Racial’ Era. I video recorded it and it’s been uploaded to this blog in 3 segments (see below). There is a suggested reading list at the end of this blog.

Part I

Part II

Part III

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  1. Harper, Amie Breeze. 2011. Veganporn.com & ‘Sistah’: Explorations of Whiteness through Textual Linguistic Cyberminstrelsy on the Internet. In Cultural Identity and New Communication Technologies: Political, Ethnic and Ideological Implications, edited by D. N. Wachanga. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
  2. Sullivan, Shannon, and Nancy Tuana. 2007.Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance (Suny Series, Philosophy and Race) Albany: State University of New York Press.
  3. Lipsitz, George. 2006. The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics, Revised and Expanded Edition Rev. and expanded ed. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
  4. Jealous, Ann Todd, and Caroline T. Haskell. 2013. Combined Destinies: Whites Sharing Grief about Racism 1st ed. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books.
  5. Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. 2006.Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America 2nd ed. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  6. Ahmed, Sara. 2012. On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life. Durham ; London: Duke University Press.
  7. Zuberi, Tukufu, and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva. 2008. White Logic, White Methods: Racism and Methodology. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  8. Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, Second Edition (Critical America (New York University Hardcover))

Diversity Rhetoric as Healing or Hurting? Decolonial Politics, Self-Care, and Structural Change in a Postracial Era

I gave a talk at Occidental College  Sept 30 2013, 430-6pm. It was called Diversity Rhetoric as Healing or Hurting? Decolonial Politics, Self-Care, and Structural Change in a ‘Post-Racial’ Era. I video recorded it and it’s been uploaded to this blog in 3 segments (see below).

Part I

Part II

Part III

 

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Vegans on the Margin: TOFU Magazine Interview with Breeze Harper on Race, Whiteness, and Colonialism in Veganism

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T.O.F.U. ISSUE SIX (CLICK ON IMAGE FOR MAGAZINE DOWNLOAD LINK)

FYI: THE MAGAZINE ASKED FOR DONATIONS (WHATEVER YOU CAN AFFORD) IF YOU WANT TO DOWNLOAD IT, BUT IT LOOKS LIKE YOU CAN STILL ACCESS IT, EVEN IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO DONATE.

The editors of the magazine describe this issues as the following:

In an effort to become more inclusive of the whole vegan community, the magazine is focusing on the diversity within the movement. Hence, Issue six covers the intersection of veganism with forms of oppression such as racism and homophobia, as well as other relatively controversial topics surrounding a plant-based lifestyle.

Highlights include interviews with Breeze Harper and Jasmin Singer, articles from Dan Hanley and Leigh-Chantelle Koch, and recipes from Miss Savvy, Lindsay S. Nixon, Miriam Sorrell, and more.

100+ pages, full colour.