I am a (soon-to-be-finished!) doctoral student studying religion and ethics. I currently live in Chicago but will re-locate to Ontario in the summer of 2014.
This blog is the beginning of a nonprofit I would like to create, called Ontario’s Network for Nonviolence. My thinking is founded on an understanding of violence as all forms of oppression and exploitation (of people, animals, and the environment). This comprehensive definition of violence is informed by the philosophy of humane education.
This is what I would like ONFN to accomplish:
1. Create a LINK Coalition that brings together members of agencies in Toronto related to animal abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse– with the intention of working in unison to reduce violence in these areas. The Toronto LINK coalition would be used as a model for other cities in Ontario.
2. Violence prevention and education efforts directed towards children in high-risk neighbourhoods. This would include, but would not be limited to:
- “humane education” in schools and among religious groups (Toronto already has one humane educator in place, Jo-Anne McArthur: http://www.humaneeducation.ca/why.htm)
- after-school tutoring for children in homeless shelters, DV shelters, and at underfunded public schools
- career counseling for youths and adults in underserved neighbourhoods
- empower youth leaders in high-risk communities (a wonderful example of this is Jane Goodall’s “Roots and Shoots” program: http://rootsandshoots.org/about-us
3. Rehabilitation for those convicted of animal abuse, and for incarcerated youth. This would include, but would not be limited to:
- implementing AniCare (http://www.animalsandsociety.org/pages/anicare) and AniCare Child (http://www.animalsandsociety.org/pages/anicare-child) therapy programs, developed by the Animals & Society Institute, in prisons and as after-care considerations
- Create animal training and animal therapy programs for incarcerated youth that help them learn life skills (such as anger management, time management, cooperation, and empathy). Safe Humane Chicago is currently engaged in this work: http://www.safehumanechicago.org/programs/lifetime-bonds
4. As these initiatives advance, an ultimate goal would be to create legislation that better addresses the link between child abuse, animal abuse, elder abuse, and domestic violence.