THE NINTH TRUST
Lift Up All Who Care
“Praise and Help those Who Work With Animals and the Natural World.”
Monday, November 22nd at 7:00 – 8:30 pm EST
Hosted by animal advocate and humane educator Marla Andrews, this multi-presenter program will look at ways we can support people who help animals; how we can help animals ourselves either directly in our own lives in the choices we make; and how we can understand ways to help prevent Compassion Fatigue in the work for animals, as well as having greater awareness about Compassion Fatigue and trauma in the ways that we work with others and in how we care for ourselves. The event will feature a pre-recorded panel discussion, stories, live interviews, and videos from River’s Wish Sanctuary, photographer and animal advocate Isa Leshko author of “Allowed To Grow Old,” Lisa Levinson of In Defense of Animals Sustainable Activism Campaign, and artist Cyrus Mejia co-founder of Best Friends Society. A follow-up Part 2 to this program will be presented in our upcoming podcast “CompassionSpeaks” and will feature animal advocate Gwenna Hunter (creator of Vegans for Black Lives Matter) as our special guest.
MARLA ANDREWS is a devoted animal advocate, humane educator, animal caregiver and consultant, who brings her extensive background and personal experience working in veterinary hospitals, animal rescues and shelters, aquariums, academic research, farm sanctuaries, and animal advocacy groups, to her work in Humane Hearts, helping people to help animals and encouraging a deeper understanding of the human/animal bond. Marla worked with the MSPCA for 17 years helping to build Humane Education Programs, for which she and her beloved rescue pit bull and Education Dog, Comet, received the 2009 MSPCA Animal Hero of the Year Award. She holds an M.Ed. in Humane Education and Animal Welfare from Lesley University with coursework from the Institute for Humane Education and the University of Edinburgh, and a B.S. in Biology from Northeastern University. She is also a certified Pet-Loss Grief Support Specialist (American Institute of Health Care Professionals).
The founder of Humane Hearts LLC, Marla’s work focuses on four areas of support for helping people who care about animals: Humane Education, Pet Loss Grief Support, Compassion Fatigue, and Vegan Coaching. Programs are available to individuals, groups, and organizations virtually (everywhere) and in-person (throughout New England), and can be designed to meet individual needs. Marla was a presenter and guest speaker at last year’s 2020 Compassion Arts Festival, and is working with Compassion Arts programs for 2022. www.humanehearts.com
RIVER’S WISH SANCTUARY is a 100% volunteer-run refuge for animals who have been neglected, abused or forgotten. Located on 65 acres in Northwest Spokane, Washington, the sanctuary cares for rabbits, horses, cows, donkeys, goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, pigs, dogs, cats, and sometimes other animals who find their way to the sanctuary.
The sanctuary’s founder/directors, KIT & PETE JAGODA, are both artists and educators for over 30 years. Together they collaborate on artwork and integrate the visual arts and writing into the sanctuary’s Humane Education programs - offering art workshops and retreats to provide the tools, skills and inspiration for helping people find creative expression as a voice for other animals. Through providing face to face experiences for people to meet and learn about the animals at the sanctuary, while also using the arts as a tool for cultivating empathy, it is their hope that River’s Wish will help serve in inspiring people to expand their circle of compassion.
River’s Wish Sanctuary was founded in tribute to and in spirit of the Jagoda’s inspiring dog River, once a shelter dog, whose love encouraged them to do more. After joining a local pet rescue group, their eyes were opened to the plight of animals in need. Since then, they’ve rescued, fostered, and placed hundreds of dogs, cats and rabbits, goats, horses and other animals, as well as also providing for those who cannot be adopted, a safe and forever home of love and care. www.riverswishsanctuary.org
ISA LESHKO is an artist and writer whose work examines themes relating to animal rights, aging, and mortality. She is the author of Allowed to Grow Old — a photography collection of portraits of elderly farm animals at sanctuaries. This heartfelt tribute in stunning images is accompanied by the animals’ stories and essays about the systems they were rescued from. She writes:
“For each image, I strive to reveal the unique personality of the animal I photograph. Rescued farm animals are often wary of strangers, and it can take several days to develop a comfortable rapport with the animals I photograph. I often spend a few hours lying on the ground next to an animal before taking a single picture. This helps the animal acclimate to my presence and allows me to be fully present as I get to know her. In order to be as unobtrusive as possible, I do not bring any studio lighting into the animal enclosures and instead work only with natural light.
Nearly all of the animals I met for this project endured horrific abuse and neglect prior to their rescue. Yet it is a massive understatement to say that they are the lucky ones. Roughly fifty billion land animals are factory farmed globally each year. It is nothing short of a miracle to be in the presence of a farm animal who has managed to reach old age. Most of their kin die before they are six months old. By depicting the beauty and dignity of elderly farm animals, I invite reflection upon what is lost when these animals are not allowed to grow old.” Isa Leshko has exhibited her work widely in the United States and her prints are in numerous private and public collections, including the Boston Public Library and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others. Her images have been published in The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, and The New ork Times, to name a few. www.isaleshko.com
CYRUS MEJIA is an artist, animal advocate and co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society. Born in 1947 in New Orleans, Louisiana, he spent his youth in the South, growing up in a richly cross-cultural household. His mother was from Mississippi; his father was a native of Colombia, South America. Mejia studied painting, drawing and ceramics in Mississippi before traveling abroad, spending several years in Europe. A chance encounter with dogs caged in a London research laboratory turned his sights in a new direction. No longer could Mejia practice his art without incorporating this indelible experience. He says, “I was so shocked and moved by what I saw that I had no choice but to try and help animals in any way that I could.” His way would incorporate art and, subsequently, much more. In 1984, Mejia and his wife Anne were among a dedicated group of animal-loving friends who founded Best Friends Animal Society.
Mejia’s artwork reflects his passion for animals and the Earth and can be found in both private and public collections. He is also the co-founder of Raven’s Heart Gallery, a gallery dedicated to presenting artwork that expresses compassion, kindness, and respect for all life. To learn more visit www.cyrusmejia.com.
Best Friends Animal Society is a leading national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of animals in America's shelters. A leader in the no-kill movement, Best Friends runs the nation's largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals, as well as lifesaving programs in collaboration with its nationwide network of members and partners working to Save Them All. For more on Best Friends visit www.bestfriends.org.
GWENNA HUNTER is the founder of Vegans of LA, Los Angeles’ largest community of vegans and plant-based eaters, and founder of Vegans for Black Lives Matter, which she created to show solidarity and drive solution-oriented conversations that inspire new thoughts. Vegans for Black Lives Matter aims to show that vegans care deeply for the plight of humans just as we do animals, and that we are capable of both simultaneously, demonstrating compassion to one another, and allowing each other’s voices to be heard. As a Black Lives-centered group, vegans on every walk of their journey are welcome, whether they choose their path for health, the environment, the animals, spirituality and/or science.
Gwenna is also the Los Angeles Vegan Food Aid Coordinator for Vegan Outreach, and manages Los Angeles Health Save, a local chapter of the worldwide Save Movement that promotes a healthy vegan diet as a powerful tool for individual and systemic change. She also provides mutual food aid via Animal Save Movement. Her work for animals is documented in the recently released book of collected essays Vegan Voices by Joanne Kong editor (Lantern Publishing) and featured in the Unbound Project, an initiative of We Animals Media, celebrating contemporary and historic women at the forefront of animal advocacy worldwide.
LISA LEVINSON is the director of In Defense of Animals' Sustainable Activism Campaign, which offers emotional and spiritual support for animal activists via a helpline, support groups, and online events. She has worked extensively developing and coordinating programs that offer information and support for understanding and preventing Compassion Fatigue for people working with animals in rescue and caregiving, as well as for people in animal advocacy and vegan outreach who are working to raise awareness about animals and veganism for creating positive peaceful change. Lisa is a co-founder of Vegan Spirituality and organizes groups and retreats to explore veganism as a spiritual practice. She also facilitates workshops, webinars, and co-partners with other projects and organizations to help support the work of other groups, including presenting programs with Compassion Arts in past festivals such as the Narrative Healing Arts retreat with April Lang at Woodstock Sanctuary and Catskill Animal Sanctuary in 2018. In addition, Lisa is an artist and co-founder of Public Eye: Artists for Animals which works to teach compassion for animals through the arts. She also founded the Toad Detour to help migrating toads safely cross the road in Philadelphia.
Lisa is the host of this year’s Compassion Arts Festival speakers roundtable program on the Third Trust, LEARNING FROM ANIMALS.