Honoring Juneteenth Reminds Us How Far We Still Have to Go
Although not recognized as a federal holiday until 2021, the meaning of Juneteenth has been important to millions of Black Americans for much longer, and should be valued as such by all of us.
Like many fields, animal welfare is run by predominantly white individuals. As a whole, nonprofits are certainly no exception. In 2019, 87% of US nonprofit CEOs were white (with 75% of nonprofit CEOs being women) along with 78% of board members.
This lack of diversity impacts all areas of our work and makes us less inclusive as advocates and organizations. The International Foundation of Employee Benefits found that only 8% of US companies give their employees off for Juneteenth. Conversely, 92% of US employees are given off for July 4. It is clear whose independence is treated as more worthy of celebration by the leaders of many of our workforces, and this needs to change.
But Juneteenth is more than just a day off. As declared stewards of equality and justice for animals, it is our responsibility to extend this same compassion and advocacy toward humans who are still having to fight for their rights and respect—especially because our industry is so white. This Juneteenth, and each day thereafter, World Animal Protection will continue to learn how we can better support and uplift the Black community. Below are some resources we’ll be using to assist our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Belonging (DEIB) work.
- Recognizing and fighting against white supremacy in the workplace
- Expanding our understanding of racism and race-related vocabulary
- Learning how racial justice and animal advocacy intersect
- Continually referencing a racial equity toolkit
While having access to these resources is nothing short of necessary, such accessibility has not always been the case in our country. In fact, books about race were among the books most flagged as ‘inappropriate’ in 2020. This year, we’ll be adding these banned books by Black authors to our reading lists and recommending them to family, friends, and members of our communities.
The Centre for Global Inclusion Benchmarks
The Center for Global Inclusion has outlined a set of benchmarks that organizations can reference while in the process of transforming their workforces into equitable and diverse communities.
In 2021, World Animal Protection staff participated in a training hosted by Encompass, an organization striving to create and maintain racial equity in the animal welfare industry. We learned how people of color are tokenized in nonprofits, how our predominantly white industry can learn from receiving feedback on racism, resources for incorporating equity goals into our organizational planning, and more.
This year, World Animal Protection is embarking on an updated DEIAB journey as we undergo monthly trainings to learn how to make our organization more inclusive and equitable for all. Tweet us @MovetheWorldUS to tell us how you’ll be supporting the Black community and amplifying Black voices on Juneteenth and beyond, in your community and your workforce.