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The Best Friends Podcast Episode 16

Leaning in and Listening - Diversity and Inclusion in Animal Welfare
June 4th, 2020

The nation is gripped by racial tensions and division exacerbated by the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man in Minneapolis. Days of protests and demonstrations in all fifty states are demanding an end to police brutality, and have underscored conversations about institutionalized racism and the treatment of people of color in American society.

Animal welfare and animal services lack diversity and inclusion, both in our staffing and how we relate to the communities we serve. The number of pet-loving people of color is into the tens of millions and addressing this is not only crucial to ending the killing of pets in our nation's shelters it is a moral imperative for all of us.


This episode we take the time to listen and try to understand how we can do better and be better moving forward in our lifesaving work.

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Guests this week
James Evans

James Evans

President, CARE

James is a multi-awarding winning creative strategist and leader with 25+ years of experience developing relationships between organizations and their constituents. His expertise has been utilized across a diverse group of brands, both non for profit, and for profit. Specific brand experience includes: Timberland, Disney, The Mills Corporation, NAACP, Baltimore Health Department, Maryland Health Department, Kennedy Krieger Institute, CVS Caremark’s Project Health, Safe Streets Baltimore and many other brands.

James and his team have initiated several programs, including the ground breaking Gulf Spay/Neuter Campaign and HSUS’ Pets for Life, which helped reshape animal welfare, while simultaneously advocating for more diversity and inclusion throughout the field.

He has also played an integral part in AWO organization’s projects, including HSUS’ Adopters Welcome, Outdoor Cats Research, Stop Puppy Mills and Spayathon, as well as Best Friends Animal Society’s Outreach Action Team, Maddie’s Fund, and SPCA of Texas’ Let’s Fix This Campaign.

Marc Peralta

Marc Peralta

Senior Director of National Mission Advancement, Best Friends Animal Society

Marc brings together Best Friends’ newest initiatives and aligns all things related to developing the knowledge and capabilities of individuals and organizations involved in lifesaving in order to empower them to achieve no-kill in their own backyard. These initiatives include shelter outreach, mentorship, staff-embedding programs, community cat programs, no-kill leadership training, and emergency response training and operations.

Before coming to Best Friends, Marc served as vice president, chief operating officer and interim CEO at Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.