Resources for #WeNeedDiverseBooks

by Marsha Rakestraw When I was a child, I read a lot of books. A lot. And other than the occasional title, like The Snowy Day, the people in all those books looked like me. White. Able-bodied. Heterosexual. Despite our growing population of children of color in the US — who now outnumber white students…

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Embracing Compassion Toward All: An Interview With Author Mark Hawthorne

Mark Hawthorne is an activist and the author of three books on animal rights and social justice: A Vegan Ethic: Embracing A Life Of Compassion Toward All; Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering; and Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism, which empowers people around the world to get active…

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protestors

5 Assumptions We Should Try to Make About Everyone

by Marsha Rakestraw The recent US election has highlighted a significant divisiveness. And the media and social media have been awash in hate speech and arguments, calls for healing and moving on, judgments, ideas about next steps, and assumptions. Usually when we make assumptions about others, they’re not positive ones. We tend to make split-second…

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humane holiday

Resources for Humane(r) Holidays

by Marsha Rakestraw Spending on holiday gifts increases nearly every year, and despite the pandemic, the National Retail Federation forecasts overall holiday spending of just under $30 billion for 2020. A lot of that money will be spent on clothing made in sweatshops, treats created with child labor and animal exploitation, and packaging-heavy disposable products full…

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12 Tips for Saving Money and Making Humane Choices

by Marsha Rakestraw Although the economy is growing and poverty has slightly declined, many people still struggle with finances and look for ways to save money. Many people look to “dollar” and discount stores for their purchases, which saves them money, but also means that they’re making choices that harm people, animals, and the earth….

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11 Children’s Books About Nonviolent Protest and Resistance

by Marsha Rakestraw Protests and nonviolent resistance are an integral part of human culture. On any given day, there are protests happening around the world. Protests have helped bring about civil and workers’ rights, environmental protection measures, and better treatment of nonhuman animals. And with so many protests in the news (and in the streets…

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blurry crowd of people walking on the street

5 Minute Changemaker: Pretend You Know (and Care About) Everyone

by Marsha Rakestraw The other day, as I was driving home from the dog park, I was following an SUV that stopped in the midst of a turn to let a pedestrian cross the street. Apparently the pedestrian and the people in the SUV knew each other, as they waved heartily and spoke briefly to…

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kids in classroom

5 Minute Changemaker: Speak the Good in Others

by Marsha Rakestraw My 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Leddy, had us students do something that I have never forgotten. She called it a “car wash.” Every week one of us would be the “car,” and the other students would form two lines in front of the car. Zigzagging from one side to the other, the…

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Ending the Violence With Meaningful Solutions

I am a humane educator, a person dedicated to creating a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world through education. This past week’s killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and five Dallas police officers underscore the necessity of educating a generation of solutionaries who have the capacity and the will to prevent such violence from continuing…

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kindness

14 Children’s Picture Books About Kindness

by Marsha Rakestraw Kindness seems like such a simple quality, but unless we’re taught to be kind to ourselves, other people, nonhuman animals, and the earth, it won’t become an integral part of our humanity. Reading and discussing children’s picture books is a great tool for helping children embrace kindness for others as a daily…

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