Sustainable Action Now is ‘Worthy of Attention’ in South Jersey Magazine List of Nonprofit Stars for 2023

Worthy of Attention
South Jersey is blessed with a variety of impactful organizations, including the 22 that make up our list of Nonprofit Stars for 2023.
Original Article by Matt Cosentino

In a diverse region like South Jersey filled with warm-hearted people from all kinds of backgrounds, it makes perfect sense that the area would be home to a wide range of nonprofits that are willing to help with just about any challenge imaginable. Every year, South Jersey Biz likes to highlight the efforts and the noble causes of a select group of organizations, and this year’s honorees assist with everything from financial education and economic development to animal protection, preservation of the environment, support of cancer patients and pro bono legal representation. We are proud to recognize their inspirational teams and to present our Nonprofit Stars for 2023.

Alice Paul Institute
One of the most vocal and influential leaders of the women’s suffrage movement, Alice Paul played a key role in helping secure women the right to vote through the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1919. This nonprofit, founded in 1984 to commemorate the centennial of her birth the following year, honors the Mount Laurel native’s legacy and continues her life’s work of fighting for gender equality and justice, both under the law and in everyday practice. Consisting of both paid staff and volunteers, the Alice Paul Institute seeks to educate and empower girls and young women; bring recognition to the achievements of women of all ages; preserve Paulsdale, the childhood home of Alice Paul; and advocate for important initiatives like the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Center for Family Services
This provider of social services has a rich history of responding to community needs and adapting to meet current demands across the state. With a dedicated team of compassionate employees, its goal is to help every person reach their full potential through a wide range of individual and family programs. Service areas include addiction and recovery, safe housing, counseling and behavioral health, workforce development, support following traumatic events, early childhood learning programs, and more. CEO Richard Stagliano has been leading Center for Family Services since 2000, and on his watch, it has grown to a staff of over 1,500 and become one of the largest human services organizations in New Jersey.

Comfort Kits for Chemo Care
This nonprofit is proof that it’s never too early to start making a difference in the community. Cherry Hill residents Isabelle Berger and Anjali Soni were just in their early teens when they were inspired to support young cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy in isolation during the pandemic. They sprung into action, raising funds and putting together activity kits to donate to kids being treated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Friends since sixth grade and currently juniors at Cherry Hill East, Berger and Soni eventually formed the nonprofit to continue their efforts, and have partnered with local businesses to raise money while also accepting donations on their website,

This unique organization was started in 2011 by founder and CEO Rusty McCarty to assist other nonprofits, schools, government agencies, businesses of all sizes and outreach programs in developing and implementing impactful educational experiences. Since that time, it has collaborated with a wide variety of partners in furthering their missions and inspiring learners through educational apps, workshop series, curriculum development and enhanced training processes. CustomED also offers customized event coordination, providing services such as agenda design, venue selection and onsite management for everything from an afternoon seminar to a weeklong summit.

Financial Wellness Institute
Since its founding in 2003, Financial Wellness Institute (FWI) has aimed to bolster the economic stability of individuals and families in the Delaware Valley through empowerment and education. Its team, led by current president and CEO Wanda Hardy, meets clients of all ages wherever they may be on their financial journey, providing judgment-free guidance with respect and empathy for their situation. FWI’s programs include financial coaching, assistance with the home-buying process, support in small business development and career counseling. The end goal is to help people make sound financial decisions and build wealth for the future.

Forgotten Angels Equine Rescue
When Darlene Supnick and Lisa Draharod learned about the inhumane practice of horse slaughtering in foreign plants and the number of horses from New Jersey and elsewhere in the United States that were being brutally killed for their meat, they knew they could not sit by and do nothing. They were inspired to start Forgotten Angels Equine Rescue in 2012 to save horses from slaughter auctions and negligent situations, providing any necessary medical care and placing the animals in forever homes. Located in Medford, it is the only horse rescue in Burlington County, is staffed entirely by volunteers and is 100% donation based. The nonprofit has rescued hundreds of horses and advocated for legislative action to better protect animals in danger.

Friends of the Mansion at Smithville
The home of Hezekiah B. Smith, who owned a woodworking machine company and helped transform Smithville into a model industrial town in the 1800s, is part of Burlington County’s Historic Smithville Park and is listed on the National and New Jersey Registers of Historic Places. The Friends of the Mansion at Smithville, a nonprofit established to preserve the mansion and restore it to the time period in which Smith lived on the property, invites the public in for guided tours from May through October to learn of its rich history and get a peek at what life was like during the Victorian era. The organization also gives Christmas tours of the decorated home in December and holds teas and other special events throughout the year.

Local Acts of Kindness Foundation
The DiPasquale family—Nancy, Henry and their son Colin—was devastated by the impact of Superstorm Sandy on their beloved Jersey Shore in 2012, and they felt they had to do something to help. Little did they know at the time that their simple act of kindness would turn into an entire movement still going strong more than a decade later. The Tractor-Trailer Challenge was their original idea, in which they gathered supplies for those affected by Sandy and asked their community to do the same, leading to a 53-foot truck being filled with much-needed items. That turned out to be the foundation for the family’s nonprofit, Local Acts of Kindness Foundation, which was officially launched on World Kindness Day, Nov. 13, 2019. The organization seeks to encourage similar charitable acts through “Kindness Challenges” and other programs, while building meaningful connections within the communities of South Jersey.

MatchDog Rescue
Founded and run by lifelong animal lovers, this nonprofit strives to save stray or abandoned dogs from high-kill shelters, offer them safety through its volunteer foster program, and ultimately place them in a forever home where they can receive the love and care they need. With education as the foundation for its mission, the MatchDog team gets to know both the adoptees and the potential adopters to arrange the best fit possible. The organization also supports a spay-and-neuter program to reduce the number of unwanted dogs.

NAWBO South Jersey
This has been a special year for the local chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, having been formed in February 2003 and granted chapter status by its parent organization in June of the same year. A self-proclaimed “sisterhood” among women entrepreneurs, business owners and their associates, it serves the region from Burlington to Cape May counties, as well as parts of Mercer County. NAWBO’s calendar is chock-full of a wide variety of events and programs that further its mission of promoting economic development, providing networking opportunities, building strategic alliances, changing the business culture and transforming public policy.

New Jersey Conservation Foundation
Outsiders often underrate The Garden State in terms of its natural beauty, but residents know better. And while many New Jerseyans might be unaware of this nonprofit and the great efforts it has made more than the past 60-plus years to preserve more than 140,000 acres of natural areas and farmland from the Highlands to Cape May, there is no doubt they have benefited from its hard work behind the scenes. Many of those protected lands have become beloved parks, and the organization has also consistently fought against overdevelopment, taking legal action when necessary. Furthermore, its team has advocated for and played important roles in the passage of dozens of landmark environmental laws.

Non Profit Development Center (NPDC) of Southern New Jersey
According to the NPDC, the South Jersey region is home to more than 10,000 nonprofits, and it’s this organization’s mission to support them, recognize their outstanding work, and help them do an even better job of impacting the lives of local residents in a meaningful way. Founded in 2006, the NPDC goes about that objective by providing various educational programs and by hosting events that bring nonprofit leaders together, connect them with potential funders and assist in the forming of new partnerships. Its annual Awards Dinner is a celebration of the area’s influential nonprofits, with winners also receiving a small stipend to enhance their offerings. The NPDC’s own work has not gone unnoticed, as it received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from former President Barack Obama.

The Opportunity League
What started as a charity basketball game in 2009 has evolved into a multi-faceted nonprofit that encourages and supports positive growth in individuals of all ages, families and communities throughout the Greater Burlington area. Through programs like youth sports, S.T.E.A.M. learning, speech and language therapy, youth entrepreneurship, college prep, adult learning and skills development/job placement, “The O League” provides meaningful learning opportunities to put participants on the path to success. It is quite common for those who have been part of the organization to move on and form their own nonprofits, or to return as mentors and teachers themselves.

Pinelands Preservation Alliance
Stretching across seven counties, the Pinelands consists of 800,000 acres of forest and is home to a variety of rare plant species and animals, in addition to the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer, which contains some of the purest water in the country. Since 1989, this group has been committed to preserving those natural resources and protecting the Pinelands from abuses of land and water, including overdevelopment. The Pinelands Preservation Alliance also runs two unique initiatives: Pinelands Adventures, an outdoor recreation program that promotes enjoyment of the area through kayaking, hiking and history tours; and Rancocas Creek Farm, a project launched in 2020 in which fresh, chemical-free food is grown on a 72-acre sustainable farm.

Rancocas Woods Business Association
A sense of community clearly means the world to the team behind this nonprofit, which was formed in 2018 to revitalize the Rancocas Woods business district in Mount Laurel. The once-bustling shopping destination lined with historic log cabins had fallen on hard times, but with the backing of the Rancocas Woods Business Association, significant improvements have been made, including the addition of new businesses, increased foot traffic and a full schedule of entertaining, family-friendly events. What’s more, business owners and residents have been brought together to share their experiences and concerns and collaborate on overcoming any challenges that arise.

The six co-founders of Re-Youth banded together over their passion for acting as stewards of the Earth and their shared vision for passing on their support for environmental issues to others in the community. The nonprofit seeks to make a positive impact on the environment by hosting local cleanup events, from urban areas to the woods and the beaches of the Jersey Shore. It also partners with organizations like the Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge on seasonal events, and encourages South Jersey residents to start their own cleanups.

Southern New Jersey Development Council (SNJDC)
With a devoted staff led by Marlene Asselta—who has served as president for more than 30 years—the SNJDC represents a broad range of business types in striving to create a better economic environment in the region. Its membership includes influential leaders in both the public and private sectors in fields such as health care, the casino/gaming industry, education, engineering and more. The SNJDC connects its members with elected officials, tracks bills in the state legislature, promotes and shares information about its organizations, hosts a robust event schedule and works hand in hand with county economic directors to push South Jersey forward.

Sustainable Action Now
This ambitious nonprofit might be based in Cherry Hill, but its reach extends all over the globe. With a dogged commitment to the preservation of the Earth and protection of all of its inhabitants, from people to animals to wildlife, the organization contributes to a long list of worthy causes. Whether pushing for gun safety laws, raising concerns about the private prison system and the death penalty, condemning trophy hunting of wild animals, or advocating for endangered species such as dolphins, whales, lions and elephants, its team is relentless in standing up for what it believes in and bringing about significant change.

Affiliated with UrbanPromise—a long-serving nonprofit in Camden that aims to give children and young adults the necessary tools to succeed academically and to develop socially and spiritually—Urban-Trekkers complements that mission with a focus on experiential learning. Each grade in its program participates in a class-specific expedition outside of their everyday lives, and the travel opportunity allows them to enjoy hands-on experiences while learning more about themselves and the world around them in addition to growing their leadership and team-building skills. These trips help to raise the children’s awareness about the environment, to gain historical perspectives and to understand the value of community service.

Volunteer UP Legal Clinic
Dealing with legal matters is difficult enough under any circumstances, but for individuals without the means to afford an attorney, the challenge becomes just about insurmountable. That’s where Volunteer UP Legal Clinic, headquartered in Camden, steps in. Primarily serving residents of Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties, the nonprofit meets with clients facing issues in the areas of bankruptcy, immigration, family law, civil rights, landlord-tenant matters, wills and estates, municipal court fines and more. Once their specific needs are determined, they are connected with an appropriate South Jersey lawyer affiliated with the organization, who provides pro bono representation.

WCRE Foundation
While Wolf Commercial Real Estate (WCRE) has established itself as one of the leading brokerage and proprty management firms of its kind in the South Jersey region, giving back to the communities it serves has always been important to the company as well. To that end, the WCRE Foundation was formed in 2016 to spearhead its philanthropic efforts, and in the ensuing years the nonprofit has raised over half a million dollars to be dispersed to organizations like the Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey, Bancroft, the American Cancer Society, I AM ALS, Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice and the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey. The WCRE Foundation hosts a number of enjoyable fundraising events throughout the year, from golf outings to annual food and toy drives.

Yes She Can Campaign
Zaniya Lewis has accomplished quite a bit in her young life, from interviewing Michelle Obama and appearing on the cover of Seventeen with the First Lady, to being chosen by the NBA to attend a service trip to South Africa. But the biggest achievement of all for the 2020 graduate of George Washington University is arguably this nonprofit she founded, which aims to empower and inspire young people to build an equitable world. Education is a primary focus of the award-winning organization, and one of its major initiatives is DISSCHOLARED, which spreads awareness about scholarship award displacement while protecting the scholarships of more than 17 million students. Yes She Can Campaign also exposes students to different career pathways, offers internship opportunities and promotes entrepreneurship.


Prisons Modeled After a Slave Plantation, Slavery is legally banned in the U.S. but the practice continues in the form of prison labor for convicted felons.

Since the abolition of slavery in the United States, many people have become more aware of the lingering presence of this institution in our society. While it is true that slavery is officially illegal, many have pointed out that the practice continues, albeit in different forms.

One such form is the use of prison labor for convicted felons. While this is technically legal, it has raised concerns among many people, who wonder whether the prisoners are being exploited in a way that parallels slavery. The argument is that these people, who are often marginalized and powerless, may be forced to work under harsh conditions, with no protections for their rights or safety.

In short, while it is clear that slavery is no longer acceptable in the modern world, it is important to remain vigilant against practices that may resemble it in form and function. Only through continued dialogue and action can we ensure that all people are protected from exploitation and abuse in any form.

The Cummins Unit, located in Lincoln County, Arkansas, is one of the largest cotton production prisons in the state. The prison is situated on over 16,000 acres of farmland, which is used to grow and harvest cotton. Inmates at Cummins Unit work in various capacities, including planting, cultivating, and harvesting the cotton. The prison has been cited for its agricultural programs and the opportunities they provide for inmates to learn new skills and gain work experience. However, some have raised concerns about the use of prison labor for commercial purposes and the potential for exploitation. Additionally, the harsh conditions of cotton fields and exposure to pesticides can be detrimental to inmates’ health. Despite these concerns, the Cummins Unit remains a significant contributor to Arkansas’s cotton industry, producing hundreds of bales of cotton each year.

Louisiana State Penitentiary, commonly known as Angola, has been criticized for perpetuating the legacy of “plantation slavery.” Under the guise of rehabilitation, inmates are subject to forced labor without pay for long hours in fields, ranches, and factories. This system disproportionately affects Black individuals, who make up the majority of the inmate population. Inmates are punished with solitary confinement or transferred to more dangerous facilities if they refuse to work. Many argue that this system perpetuates racial inequality as inmates are performing labor that generates profits for the state while being denied basic human rights and fair wages. Despite efforts to reform the system, including providing inmates with education and vocational training, concerns about the continuation of “plantation slavery” at Angola persist.

It is important to note that of more than 6,000 men currently imprisoned at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, three-quarters are there for life and nearly 80 percent are African American. 

Parchman Farm was a Mississippi state prison founded in 1901, modeled after a slave plantation. The prison was known for its brutal conditions and history of racism, and became a major site for civil rights protests during the 1960s. The legacy of Parchman Farm lives on in the disproportionate incarceration rates of Black Americans, a result of the systemic racism inherent in the criminal justice system. Activists and lawmakers continue to work towards criminal justice reform and ending the school-to-prison pipeline, which funnels Black and other marginalized children into the criminal justice system at disproportionately high rates. The lasting legacy of Parchman Farm serves as a stark reminder of the far-reaching impact of slavery and institutional racism in America, and the ongoing struggle for equality and justice.

Mississippi State Penitentiary, also known as Parchman Farm, is a correctional facility in Mississippi that has a long history of using prisoners as a labor force for various purposes. One of these purposes was cotton picking. In the early to mid-20th century, Parchman Farm had a large cotton operation that relied extensively on prisoner labor to pick the cotton. This was a highly controversial practice, as many prisoners were essentially forced to work for free and were subject to harsh conditions and treatment. The legacy of Parchman Farm and other prison labor operations is still felt today, as many people point to them as examples of the ongoing systemic racism and injustice in the United States.


On The Road with Ashley Beard to help Bentley & 37 Dogs!

Helping Neglected Dogs in Need

Ashley Beard, Senior Field Outreach Worker at the PETA Foundation, vividly remembers the day she first laid eyes on Bentley. Huddled in a plastic shelter, shivering in the cold rain, Bentley’s desperate eyes met Ashley’s, and she knew she had to help.

Today, Ashley and her fellow fieldworkers are on the road, delivering vital necessities to neglected dogs just like Bentley. Their mission is to provide urgent care and support to these innocent animals who are suffering due to neglect and abandonment.

However, the number of dogs they can reach and help depends on the support from compassionate individuals like you. That’s why they have set an urgent goal to raise enough funds to care for at least 37 dogs in need.

Rescuing Dogs from Desperate Situations

Ashley and her colleagues have encountered countless heart-wrenching situations while rescuing neglected dogs. They have come across dogs who were so cold, sick, and emaciated that their lives were hanging by a thread.

Without timely intervention, these dogs would not have survived. Many of them were severely dehydrated after their water bowls froze over, leaving them without access to clean water.

Unfortunately, there are still many dogs out there who are currently suffering in similar conditions, desperately in need of help.

Your Support Can Make a Difference

By supporting the PETA Foundation’s urgent fundraising campaign, you can make a tangible difference in the lives of neglected dogs. Your generous donations will provide crucial resources such as food, clean water, medical care, and shelter for these innocent animals.

Every dollar counts and brings us one step closer to reaching our goal of caring for 37 dogs in need. With your help, we can ensure that no dog is left out in the cold, hungry, or without the care they deserve.

Join the Cause

Together, we have the power to change the lives of neglected dogs. Join us in our mission to provide urgent care and support to these innocent animals.

Donate today and help us reach our goal of caring for at least 37 dogs in desperate need. Your compassion and generosity can give these dogs a second chance at life.

It is a widely accepted fact that dogs are not just pets, but an integral part of the family. However, some unfortunate canines, such as the backyard dogs like Bentley, are subjected to a life of isolation and suffering in the outdoors. With the mercury plummeting during the winter months, these hapless creatures often shiver with cold and endure the piercing winds. They huddle in cramped spaces to conserve body heat, making their existence a miserable one.

Although Bentley’s owner stubbornly refuses to bring him indoors, we have made every effort to improve the dog’s living conditions. We have taken the initiative to remove the heavy metal chain around his neck and built him a roomy pen. Moreover, we’ve neutered him free of cost, greatly reducing the possibility of future neglect and cruelty.

PETA continues to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of abandoned dogs, like Bentley, so that they can look forward to a better tomorrow despite the dreadfully long, dark, and lonely nights.

Every dog deserves protection, care, and respect. Please help in anyway today, and share this link with your friends to encourage them to do the same.


Celebrities React to the Sounds of Animal Experimentation

A group of celebrities, including Theo Rossi, Emilio Rivera, and Kate del Castillo, were left horrified after witnessing the cruel practices of animal experimentation on film. The footage they watched documented the conditions of animals being tested on in research facilities, highlighting the brutality of the process. The celebrities were reportedly moved by what they saw, and expressed their disgust at the lack of compassion shown towards these innocent animals. Often, they are subjected to painful procedures, kept in cramped cages and denied access to basic needs. As public figures, they hope to use their platform to raise awareness about animal experimentation and encourage people to support cruelty-free research methods. They call for lawmakers and researchers to prioritize the welfare of animals in the medical field and for alternatives like computer modeling and cell cultures to be employed.

16 Celebs Taking Action Against Experiments on Animals | PETA


Experiments on Animals and Wildlife Do Not Lead to Treatments and Cures for Humans!

PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is a well-known animal rights organization that has been fighting against animal cruelty and exploitation for decades. The organization has been actively investigating and addressing the killing of animals in universities across the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shockingly, it has been reported that at least 25,000 animals have been killed at 22 different universities around the country, causing outrage and concern among animal lovers and PETA advocates.

New Deal in Research Promotes Good Science, Eliminates Animal Experiments | PETA

In a letter addressed to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate, PETA has requested a thorough investigation into this matter. This follows prior complaints made by the organization regarding the killing sprees at 14 other universities. The letter specifically concerns eight schools, and PETA is calling on the NIH to hold these universities accountable for their actions. It is clear that PETA will continue fighting for the rights of animals and ensure that they are treated with compassion and respect, even during the pandemic.

Recently, PETA has disclosed new information suggesting that several universities across the country, including the University of Georgia, the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, and West Virginia, Pennsylvania State, Tulane, Montana State, and Ferris State universities, have been disregarding the sensitive nature of various animals used in experiments. According to the evidence uncovered by PETA, these experimenters have been labeling these animals as nonessential, noncritical, and other similar terms, effectively deeming them unnecessary or unimportant in their research. Sadly, as a result of this labeling practice, these animals, in mass amounts, have been sent to their untimely deaths. The findings of this investigation are both shocking and concerning, and have raised questions about the ethics of animal testing practices in some scientific institutions.

PETA, has recently made a request to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct an investigation in order to determine why these 22 institutions had deemed the animals as nonessential, yet still wasted a whopping sum of $9 million in taxpayer funds to detain them in laboratory environments. PETA is hoping to not only find answers to their inquiries, but also to start discussions and awareness around the issues of animal rights and ethical treatment in research. It is their belief that every living creature deserves to be treated with kindness and respect, and that animal lives and welfare should not be taken for granted or considered expendable.

Animal experimentation has been a long-standing practice in the field of medical research, and has been a source of much controversy and debate over the years. While some argue that it is necessary in order to develop safe and effective treatments and medications for humans, others counter that the practice is cruel and often unproductive. In fact, studies have shown that animal experimentation largely fails to produce the desired results, as animal physiology differs significantly from that of humans. As such, the search for alternative methods for conducting medical research has intensified in recent years, and organizations like PETA have taken up the mantle in this regard. PETA has been at the forefront of the movement to find better, safer, and more ethically sound alternatives to animal experimentation, and has invested significant time and resources in developing and promoting these approaches. So, if you’re passionate about advancing science and medicine in a more humane and effective way, then PETA may be the organization for you!

We cordially request and urge your support in our mission to bring about a positive change in the field of medical research. Our Research Modernization Deal is a groundbreaking effort that seeks to revolutionize the way research is conducted by prioritizing human-relevant research methods and eliminating animal experimentation from laboratories.

We understand the significance of animal welfare and the ethical concerns associated with animal testing. With that in mind, our Research Modernization Deal is an initiative that aligns scientific progress with moral responsibility. We are steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that medical advances are achieved through methods that are ethical, sustainable, and fair.

By supporting this effort, you will not only stand with us in our vision but also contribute to the welfare of animals while providing cutting-edge breakthroughs in medical research that will benefit humanity. We thank you in advance for your support and understanding of our critical mission.

NIH has failed to take effective steps to address the following problems:

  • Ninety-five percent of all new drugs that test safe and effective in animal tests fail or cause harm in human clinical trials.
  • The failure rate of new drugs developed using animals in specific disease research areas exceeds 95%. Here are a few examples.
    • HIV vaccine—100%
    • Strokes—100% (based on 1,000 new agents tested in animals in 100 clinical trials)
    • Alzheimer’s disease—99.6%
    • Cancer—96.6%
  • Eighty-nine percent of preclinical studies, which are largely experiments on animals, can’t be reproduced, even though reproducibility is a critical component of scientific research.

Consider this: 5.8 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease. But treatments that have appeared promising in mice simply haven’t worked in humans. The U.S. is expected to spend $1.1 trillion on research for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia by 2050—but if we stick with our current path, most of that money will be wasted on cruel and pointless animal experiments. No cure for humans is in sight.

This disastrous boondoggle throws good money after bad. Reliance on animal models is diverting funds from more promising areas of research and delaying the development of effective drugs and treatments.

The majority of Americans oppose animal experiments. A 2018 Pew Research Center poll found that most Americans (52%) oppose the use of animals in experimentation. People who continue to support it—who are in the minority—assume that the harm to animals is outweighed by the benefits to humans. But now we know that animal experiments don’t actually help humans.


It’s Election Day, Vote America, Leaders We Deserve, Averie Bishop, Tsion AmareIt’s, Nadarius Clark

As citizens of a democratic society, it is our right and responsibility to participate in the election process. This year, as we head to the polls to vote for local politicians and initiatives that impact our communities, we have the opportunity to make a significant impact on the future of our towns, cities, and states. While the upcoming election may not be a presidential one, it is just as crucial to make our voices heard.

We must not underestimate the power of local elections and the role they play in shaping our communities. From electing city council members and state legislators to choosing governors, these positions have a direct impact on the policies and decisions that directly affect the everyday lives of residents. Additionally, ballot initiatives allow us to vote on important issues such as education funding, environmental policies, and civil rights protections.

It is election day.

VoteAmerica: Everything You Need to Vote

Please take the time to research the candidates and issues, and make an informed decision about who you believe should lead your community and represent your values. Every vote counts and can make a difference. Remember, the election is happening in your very own district, so be sure to exercise your right to vote and make your voice heard.

It is highly crucial to exercise your right to vote. It is important to cast your vote and make your voice heard in deciding the future of your community. However, finding a voting place may seem daunting and overwhelming. Thanks to the innovative technology and user-friendly platform provided by VoteAmerica, this process can be a stress-free one. With a simple click of a button and by entering your address, you can conveniently and efficiently locate your nearest polling place with ease. There is no need to stress about the inconvenience and struggle of long waiting times and confusion when you can utilize the powerful resource that is VoteAmerica. So, what are you waiting for? Check out VoteAmerica and find your polling place in a few simple steps.


Are you feeling unsure about your voter registration status?

Double check your voter registration

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people may have overlooked or forgotten to register to vote. But hey, the good news is that you don’t have to navigate the registration process alone. We’re here to support you in every step of the way. Our team is more than happy to offer assistance to help you check your registration status and ensure all your details are up-to-date. And, if by any chance, you realized that you’re not registered to vote, fret not. We’ll make sure to guide through the process and find out whether same-day registration is available in your area. So, you can cast your vote and have your voice heard loud and clear.

Check to see if same day registration is available in your area.

Climate change is an issue that poses a critical threat to the future of our planet. The devastating consequences of this global phenomenon have put our natural habitats in a perilous state by altering weather patterns, raising sea levels and causing unexpected natural disasters.

The effects of climate change are not limited to the physical environment alone – it’s apparent that young people have been significantly impacted in terms of their mental health. The distress caused by the implications of climate change, such as anxiety, fear, and uncertainty, can be overwhelming for those who are most vulnerable in society – our young people.

Climate change is a widespread phenomenon that is changing the face of our planet as we know it. As we continue to grapple with the resulting issues, such as natural disasters, disrupted ecosystems and dwindling resources, it is essential to keep in mind the psychological consequences of such changes, particularly in regard to the younger generation. Their mental wellbeing must be prioritized, so they can be empowered to handle this significant global challenge.

As individuals living on this planet, it is important that we pay attention to the state of the environment and take actions to protect it. Climate change is a critical issue that continues to threaten our Earth’s delicate balance. From rising sea levels, increasing atmospheric temperatures, to extreme weather events, the effects of climate change are widespread and concerning. Current data suggests that we are headed down a dangerous path, and it is crucial that we act now to make a difference. It can be overwhelming to think about the magnitude of the problem, but taking small steps towards sustainability, such as reducing waste and car use, can have a significant impact. Educating ourselves and others on the issue and advocating for policy changes can also help mitigate the damage. Let us work together to protect our planet and preserve it for future generations.

Climate change has emerged as a critical issue that young voters care deeply about. The voices of Gen Z are becoming more powerful and mobilized, as they continue to voice their concerns about the impacts of climate change on our planet’s future. The impending threat of environmental catastrophe, with rising temperatures, shrinking ice caps, and extreme weather, is a problem that has a profound impact on the lives of young people around the globe. As a result, they are taking action, with a growing number of activists, organizations, and movements advocating for climate solutions. The energy and passion of these young voters are inspiring, as they highlight the importance of sustainability, environmental conservation, and protecting our planet for future generations. Their voices are a testament to the growing awareness of climate change and its impact, and a call to action for governments and societies to take significant steps towards a more sustainable future.

There are numerous reasons why Leaders We Deserve is passionate about electing young people. The primary reason is that the youth demographic is often overlooked and underrepresented, even though they are amongst the most impacted by decision-making and policy changes. Young people, being the most recent generation on earth, have an acute sense of the impact of policy decisions made today on their future. They comprehend that their generation will inherit a planet grappling with climate change. Therefore, they are more prone to take climate change seriously and advocate for drastic measures to tackle it than their elder counterparts. By electing young people to positions of leadership, there are opportunities to bring experiences, skills, and energy to representation, policies, and strategies, leading to a more equitable and fair society for everyone.

It is imperative for us to support the next generation of progressive leaders who will champion policies that prioritize the well-being and empowerment of all Americans. We wholeheartedly endorse exceptional candidates who embody the values and principles we believe in. In Texas, Averie Bishop and Tsion Amare are passionate advocates for social justice and equality. Their fresh perspectives and commitment to inclusivity make them ideal representatives for their constituencies. Furthermore, in Virginia, Nadarius Clark’s dedication to education and community engagement has earned him the trust and respect of his peers and constituents. These dynamic young leaders have proven that they have the vision, passion, and skills to lead us forward, towards a better and more equitable future. By supporting Averie, Tsion, and Nadarius, we are investing in a brighter tomorrow for all Americans.

Join the fight to elect young leaders who will take real action on climate change and other issues affecting young people. Please add your name to our petition today!

And, do NOT forget to Vote today!


PETA has come up with an incredible plan to save 1,000 illegally trafficked macaques!

Animal rights organization PETA has recently made a generous pledge of $1 million to aid in the rescue and relocation of approximately 1,000 endangered long-tailed macaques that are currently being held in steel cages by Charles River Laboratories, a medical research company in the United States. It has been suggested that the macaques may have been kept illegally by the laboratory, prompting investigations into the transportation of the animals from Cambodia, their country of origin. As a result, Charles River Labs is under scrutiny for their legal and ethical practices, particularly with regard to the treatment and welfare of these vulnerable species. The macaques are currently in a state of legal limbo, confined to steel cages and unable to access appropriate living conditions for their well-being. In response, PETA is urging Charles River Labs to take responsibility for the lifetime care of the macaques.

It’s a heartbreaking scenario. One thousand long-tailed macaques, a species already categorized as endangered, have found themselves in a purgatory-like existence. These creatures are not just a statistic: they are individuals with distinct personalities, families, and friends. They experience a range of emotions, from joy to anger to fear, just like we do. However, their lives have been marked by a pervasive sense of isolation and loneliness since they were purportedly taken from their natural habitats in Cambodia. Despite the best efforts of organizations committed to primate welfare, the fate of these macaques remains uncertain. We cannot imagine what it must be like for them, but what we do know is that every animal deserves to live in a safe and nurturing environment, surrounded by those who care for them.

Charles River is an organization that has established itself among the leading breeders and importers of monkeys within the United States. The organization plays a significant role in facilitating the importation of monkeys from various countries, which are subsequently used for experimentation purposes. Owing to its vast resources, cutting-edge technological advancements, and profound expertise in the field, Charles River has emerged as a significant player, and presently supplies up to an impressive 50% of all the monkeys used as experimentation victims. The organization is committed to ensuring that the process of importing and breeding these extraordinary creatures is carried out in the most humane way possible, while simultaneously enabling the advancement of science and medication in the United States, thereby contributing significantly to the well-being of countless Americans.

FOR GLOBAL ONLYThe US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has blocked Charles River from selling monkeys for use in experiments. This move comes amid an investigation into the company for illegally importing the primates. Currently, the facility holding the monkeys has come under scrutiny as the animals remain held in harsh and inhospitable conditions. The monkeys are being kept in unfurnished and cramped steel cages without any access to fresh air and sunlight. They have no space to move around or stretch their long limbs, and are unable to partake in activities that bring joy to their social and intelligent nature. This inhumane treatment must come to an end, and with determination, PETA has taken the reins in fighting for the well-being and freedom of these mistreated primates.

Recently, reports have surfaced that Charles River, an animal testing facility, had made preparations to ship approximately 1,000 monkeys back to Cambodia. However, this alarming information has stirred concerns among animal welfare organizations and activists because such a move would have put these innocent primates at the risk of being sold back to the smugglers, who could subject them to further sufferings and painful laboratory tests. It is worth noting that the journey from one laboratory to another is as burdensome as the lab tests themselves – the animals are forced to endure the hardships of being transported in small, cramped cages, and a lack of food and water, which often leads to physical injuries and sickness. Unfortunately, the only motivation behind this proposed decision was most likely financial gain, as the corporation would have profited from the sale of these primates. Therefore, we must remain vigilant and stand up for the protection and rights of voiceless animals like these monkeys to avoid these illegal and brutal practices in the future.

On the day of the planned transport back to Cambodia, it was a remarkable sight to witness numerous supporters from PETA who gathered at Charles River’s Houston facility to register their strong opposition against the export of monkeys back to Cambodia. The air was filled with emotions and passion as the supporters were resolute in ensuring that the innocent creatures weren’t subjected to any move that would infringe on their rights. Additionally, many people across the United States pitched in their voices through calls and e-mails to governmental agencies, opposing the movement of the primates. It was a great win for animal lovers and enthusiasts as their collective effort was able to influence the decision making of those in charge. As a result, none of the monkeys were transferred from their current location. It showcased the power of the people’s voice in advocating for a better world and a more humane treatment of animals.

As we think about the situation of the monkeys, it is quite a sad reality. They find themselves in limbo, unsure of where to go and what to do. This is not because of anything they have done, but rather because they were stolen from their natural habitat. It is heartbreaking that even after the authorities managed to recover them, there is still uncertainty about where they belong. The truth of the matter is that they have been stripped of the social stability and structure that they desperately need to survive.

Thankfully, there is some hope. PETA has teamed up with Born Free USA to brainstorm a permanent refuge for these animals. Born Free USA’s lush, 175-acre haven in Texas seems to be the most viable option. However, as much as everyone would like for this process to be quick, it seems like we will have to wait just a bit longer. The anticipation is high, but we know that the best possible solution will be reached soon.

Recently, PETA has pledged an impressive sum of 1 million dollars towards the driving force behind freeing monkeys who have been subject to years of miserable torture and endless experimentation.

Not only has PETA stepped up to the table in a big way, but over 65,000 people have joined in the effort to lobby for these monkeys’ much-needed release. Despite these tireless and passionate efforts to right the wrongs that have been inflicted upon these helpless animals, the corporation responsible for their mistreatment, Charles River, has refused to take any responsibility for their actions or allocate any funding to help mitigate the damage they have done.

It is a sad reality that even with this minor financial blow, life-changing for the monkeys, Charles River would not feel even a slight dent in their overall financial status, making their unwillingness to help even more distressing.

PETA is working hard to make a difference for the animal kingdom. PETA is taking a stance against serial animal abusers and is demanding that NIH cancels its contractual obligations with them. Additionally, the FWS needs to take action on Charles River, a company that has been importing monkeys that have been repeatedly subject to abuse. PETA strongly believes that this practice is inhumane and is causing harm to animals that do not deserve such treatment. PETA wants to see Charles River release the 1,000 monkeys to a sanctuary. At a sanctuary, these monkeys can enjoy their natural habitat and live their lives in the way they were intended. By speaking up and advocating against animal cruelty, PETA hopes to protect animals and make the world a better place for all creatures big and small.


Why do MLB Teams like the San Diego Padres and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays use Odd Events and Promotions to attract people to their Respective Stadiums? Lawsuit filed to stop San Diego rodeo from happening at Petco Park in January!

Philadelphia Phillies on X: "Still the greatest show on Earth. Karl Wallenda walks across Veterans Stadium (1972). #tbt" / X

From my earliest memories, my love for the game of baseball has been an unwavering constant. I can recall a time when I would sit in awe as the Flying Wallendas would walk atop a tight rope stretched across Veterans Stadium, marveling at their incredible feats of balance and dexterity. But it wasn’t just the daredevil stunts that captured my attention. It was the entire atmosphere of the stadium, the crack of the bat, and the roar of the crowd as our local heroes took to the field.

As I grew older, my passion for the game only intensified. From following the stats of my favorite players to attending games in person, I have developed a deep appreciation for the strategic and athletic aspects of baseball. The history of the sport, from Babe Ruth’s home run record being broken by Hank Aaron to the Negro Leagues to me being abole to see Steve Carlton play, fascinates me. I am proud to call myself a die-hard baseball fan, and I will always cherish the memories and experiences that the sport has given me.

I also grew up loving how Bill Veeck dedicated his life to revolutionizing the game of baseball in that regard because from owning several teams to introducing innovative techniques, he left a lasting impact on the sport.

He believed that the fans were the lifeblood of the game, and went to great lengths to enhance their experience.

Veeck implemented numerous ideas, such as explosive scoreboards, players’ weekend jerseys, and even signed a 3-foot-7-inch tall player to a contract. He believed in fostering an inclusive environment for everyone, including women and minorities, and planting the famous ivy on the outfield walls at Wrigley Field

Veeck saw baseball as a way to bring people together and create unity in communities. His legacy lives on in the many innovations he brought to the game and the joy he brought to the fans.

Today, desperate teams, like the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, try to attract more fans to their games using unusual methods that might not necessarily appeal to traditional baseball enthusiasts. Or, to people that have brains and like to use them.

And, the San Diego Padres in the off season are co producing a rodeo of all things to bring to the Stadium. 

I believe that while these teams are in dire need of support from more fans, relying solely on a rodeo and by using a stingray in captivity for human entertainment is weak beavhior.

Ideally, teams should strive to strike a balance between innovative marketing strategies and preserving the integrity of the game.

Attracting fans through fun and interactive activities is a great way to create a lively atmosphere, but it is equally important to ensure that the sport itself remains the main focus of the event.

In this way, both new and existing fans can enjoy a unique and authentic baseball experience that will foster a deeper love and appreciation for the game.

Using Wildlife and Animals for human entertainment is weak behavior. Taking animals and wildlife from their own natural environment and into captivity for human entertainment is weak behavior.

The San Diego Padres have decided to host a rodeo event in January at Petco Park for the first time in the team’s history. However, rodeos are dangerous and have been known to cause the death of cows and horses. These animals are mistreated and provoked through tactics such as electric prods, spurs, and bucking straps. Calves are brutally slammed to the ground, and horses are spurred into bucking. Considering the inherent cruelty of these spectacles, PETA is urging the Padres to cancel the event and prohibit any future rodeos from being hosted. By taking this step, the team will demonstrate their commitment to animal welfare and avoid contributing to unnecessary animal suffering.

Animal advocate groups have taken legal action to prevent a three-day rodeo that is scheduled to take place at Petco Park in San Diego in January. The Animal Protection and Rescue League, Inc. as well as Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) have filed a lawsuit against the San Diego Padres, C5 Rodeo, and C5 Rodeo Company, Inc. The objective of the legal suit is to stop the rodeo from taking place due to the impact it could have on animals that may be mistreated or harmed during the event. The organizations believe that holding rodeos is a form of animal abuse, and they aim to protect the rights and well-being of animals through their actions. With the lawsuit, the groups hope to come to a resolution with the organizations and protect the welfare of animals that could be impacted by rodeos.

Bulls are fascinating creatures with a remarkable set of skills that have been honed over years of evolution. One of their most impressive abilities is their sharp sense of direction which enables them to navigate across vast, open landscapes in search of food and water. This instinctual drive to survive has been perfected over time and makes them integral parts of the ecosystem they inhabit. Sadly, their magnificent abilities are often exploited for entertainment purposes in rodeos. The current practice of using electric hotshots on bulls to get them to charge out of a chute and “perform” for a paying audience is a cruel and inhumane treatment that causes immense pain and suffering to these majestic animals. As compassionate beings, we should strive to put an end to this barbaric practice and work towards creating a world where animals are treated with dignity and respect.

The San Diego Padres, in partnership with C5 Rodeo Company Inc and Outriders Present will be bringing the first-ever rodeo to Petco Park Friday, Jan 12 – Sunday, Jan 14.

PETA Asks Rays to Get Rid of Fish Tank After Miguel Cabrera's Home Run Landed in It

Further, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Touch Experience is another odd feature that is in a professional sports venue. It’s a fan experience that is supposadly both educational and entertaining, located beyond the right-center field fence at Tropicana Field. Collaborating with The Florida Aquarium, this unique exhibit consists of a stunning 35-foot, 10,000-gallon tank designed to bring fans up close and personal with cownose stingrays.

These beautiful creatures inhabit the same waters of Tampa Bay as their exhibit habitat, and are cared for with a complete wellness program by the experts at The Florida Aquarium. They do claim to give it a healthy and nutritious diet, routine medical check-ups, and behavioral observation, ensuring the best quality of life for these charming and fascinating creatures. 

But then how can you say that is true with it being displayed at a Stadium that even though does not draw huge attendencaes on a regular basis, its alarming for the Stingray to be in that loud and raucus environment. Its quite stupid.

The presence of a Stingray in an environment that is loud and raucous is definitely a matter of concern. The noise and chaos can not only cause immense discomfort to the Stingray, but may also lead to an adverse impact on its health and well-being. It is important to take into consideration that Stingrays are sensitive creatures with a unique biology and a specific set of requirements that need to be met in order for them to thrive. It is therefore crucial to create an environment that is conducive to their needs and ensures their physical and mental health. Thus, it is unwise and unthoughtful to expose these marvelous marine creatures to an environment that is not favorable for their survival.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, more commonly referred to as PETA, have raised concerns about the team’s handling of their touch tank, which is the home to 30 cownose rays and holds a whopping 10,000 gallons of water. Reports suggest that PETA is unhappy with the Rays’ decision to allow fans to touch and interact with the rays in the tank, expressing fears over the safety and well-being of the creatures. The controversy reached a climax when Miguel Cabrera hit a home run that landed in the touch tank, potentially putting the rays in danger. As a helpful assistant, it is important to note that issues like these highlight the importance of ethical concerns and the need to ensure that animals are treated with the utmost care and attention, particularly in the context of public spaces like baseball stadiums.

I urged PETA to resurrect the causes they had at one time spearheaded which worked for a few years, however the team bnrought it back to the Outfield inside the Stadium most likely because they do not get peoiple in the seats.

Dear Mr. Higgins,

I’m sure you knew that you would hear from us again, and here we are, urging you to begin the process of removing the stingray touch tank from Tropicana Field.

Last night, for the second time this season alone—and the third recorded time—a baseball was hit into the touch tank in the stands near center field, despite previous assurances from you that it was a “virtual impossibility” that this would happen. In addition to the harassment and pathogen exposure that these sensitive animals are subjected to at the hands of hundreds of fans clamoring to touch them, the cownose rays forced to spend their entire lives swimming in circles in a tiny tank are in danger of being struck and injured or killed by a baseball going nearly 100 miles per hour. Why risk their well-being like that?

Many have commented that the “Trop” could use some sprucing up, and getting rid of this little animal prison and potential death trap would be a great first step in that direction. With all due respect, may we please hear from you that the end of this baseball season will mark the end of the ray tank at Tropicana Field? I would love to share that news with our more than 100,000 members and supporters in Florida alone.

Yours truly,

Delcianna Winders, Esq.
Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement
PETA Foundation

Mayer quoted PETA’s director of captive animals law enforcement, Delcianna Winders, in an official statement about the situation:

“The rays held captive at Tropicana Field not only were traumatically taken from their vast home waters but also are subject to harassment, loud crowds, and even baseballs capable of seriously injuring them.”

Winders also wrote to the team, saying, “as recent events have demonstrated, that threat is all too real.”

Click here to speak up against the San Diego Padres Plan to Host a Violent Rodeo and Click here to speak up to urge the devil Rays Urged Close ‘Touch Tank’.


Death Penalty Focus, New Solitary Confinement Policy, The Louisiana Board of Pardons, Death penalty bill for child rapists in Florida & Scott Panetti unfit to be executed by Texas!

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) released its long-awaited new solitary confinement policy following an order by Gov. Gavin Newsom. But, the new regulations have been criticized as not going far enough. The new policy, which only applies to prisoners in isolation for alleged gang membership or activities, allows for four hours out of their cells a day but does not change the amount of time they can be kept in isolation, which can still be years. Criticism centers mainly on the length of time someone can be placed in solitary and the fact that prisoners are still being placed in isolation for alleged gang affiliations rather than actual offenses. Activists and inmates’ rights groups say the lack of monitoring and accountability within the CDCR means that the new policy could easily be ignored, as was the case with past reforms.

The Racial Justice Act has been a highly debated topic in the California legal system, and its fate was recently decided by a state appeals court. In a split 2-1 ruling, the court upheld the Racial Justice Act, which has been developed to address the issue of systemic racism in the legal system and ensure that racial bias is not a factor in prosecutions and sentencing. This ruling marks a landmark moment in California’s efforts to achieve a fair and impartial justice system for all citizens, regardless of their race or ethnicity. It is a significant step forward in the fight against racial discrimination, and it solidifies California’s commitment to promoting justice and equality. The Racial Justice Act has been praised by many legal experts, civil rights advocates, and marginalized communities, who see it as a critical tool in addressing the systemic biases that have long been present in the justice system.

The Louisiana Board of Pardons has recently made a decision that has caused ripples in the world of justice. The board has denied the clemency hearing of the first five appeals who had applied to be granted mercy. The hearing could have given them a chance to turn their lives around and make amends for the wrongs they had committed. It is a disappointing turn of events that these individuals were denied the opportunity to state their case. The decision is being closely scrutinized by those who support the appeals for clemency while others, perhaps with a different perspective on the matter, seem to be applauding the move. Regardless of where you stand in the matter, it is clear that the Louisiana Board of Pardons’ decision has impacted the lives of the five individuals who were denied the chance to appeal for clemency.

Scott Panetti’s battle with paranoid schizophrenia has spanned over three decades, leading to a heinous crime committed in the year 1992 – the murder of his wife’s parents. Despite being convicted and sentenced to death in Texas in 1995, the severity of his mental illness could not be overlooked. In a recent development, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman blocked Panetti’s execution on the grounds of his debilitating affliction, which renders him unfit for capital punishment. The decision provides a glimmer of hope and renewed faith in the judicial system, showcasing that the court recognizes and respects the need for considering individual health and well-being in rendering verdicts. We hope that this ruling sets a precedent for the betterment of legal aid and the re-evaluation of similar cases to ensure that justice is served even to those struggling with mental illness.

A recent development in Florida has brought about a new law that is designed to significantly increase the consequences of committing a particularly heinous crime. The bill, which was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis back in May, establishes a minimum sentence of life without parole for individuals who are found guilty of the heinous crime of raping a minor. However, what is particularly noteworthy about this law is that it goes even further than this, allowing individuals convicted of this crime to be sentenced to the death penalty. This has been hailed by many as a significant step forward in the fight against child abuse in Florida, and it is hoped that it will send a strong message to would-be offenders that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated in any way.

Indiana Public Media has recently released a gripping and comprehensive 13-part series called “Rush to Kill.” With an intense focus on the six-month killing spree of then-President Donald Trump, this series delves into the events of 2020 where Trump, along with his Attorney General Bill Barr, ordered the execution of 13 individuals – twelve men and one woman – in the final months of Trump’s presidency. The series provides a detailed and exhaustive analysis of these events, and aims to shed light on the political machinations behind them. Additionally, we recommend the review of Stephen B. Bright’s and James Kwak’s thought-provoking book, “The Fear of Too Much Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts.” Together, these two recommended works strive to challenge and interrogate our society’s relationship with justice, and how it intersects with issues of race, poverty, and inequality.

In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey scheduled an execution date for Casey McWhorter for a 30-hour window between midnight November 16, and 6 a.m., November 17, the Montgomery Advertiser reports. McWhorter was sentenced to death for the 1993 murder of Edward Lee Williams. He was 18 when he was sentenced to death by a jury in a 10-2 vote. He had four accomplices, including the 15-year-old son of the victim, but he was the only defendant sentenced to death. 

In Texas, 48-year-old Jedidiah Murphy was killed by lethal injection early this month for the murder of 80-year-old Bertie Lee Cunningham in October 2000, CBS News reported. Murphy was killed after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal judge’s order that had been upheld by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, delaying his execution after his lawyers “filed a lawsuit seeking DNA testing of evidence presented at his 2001 trial,” according to CBS. 

Also in Texas, Will Speer was granted a stay of execution last Thursday, less than 24 hours before he was scheduled to be killed by the state. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay for Speer, whose attorneys alleged that prosecutors withheld evidence and presented false testimony during his 2001 trial. He also alleges that his trial lawyers failed to provide evidence of the severe physical and sexual abuse he was subjected to as a child. Speer, sentenced to death for the killing of another imprisoned individual, was named the first “Inmate Coordinator for the Death Row Faith-Based Program” just a few months ago by corrections officials.

In Idaho, the Commission of Pardons and Parole agreed to a commutation hearing for Thomas Creech, who was scheduled to be executed on November 8. The commission’s decision, announced in a news release from the Federal Defender Services of Idaho,  means his execution date will be postponed. A date for the hearing was not set. “He looks forward to elaborating on the reasons for requesting to have his death sentence commuted to life without parole when the hearing is held,” the statement said. The 73-year-old Creech has garnered broad support for commutation, including from the judge who sentenced him to death 44 years ago. Judge Robert Newhouse said killing Creech now would be “just an act of vengeance” by the state, according to the FDS. Creech has been on the state’s death row longer than anyone else. There are currently eight people on the state’s death row. Idaho’s last execution was in July 2012, when it executed Richard Leavitt by lethal injection.

In Utah, Ralph Menzies, sentenced to death in 1988 for the 1986 kidnapping and murder of Maurine Hunsaker, has exhausted his appeals and will face a hearing this month where a judge is expected to sign his death warrant, the Utah Attorney General announced in a news release. But according to Fox 13, the Utah Board of Pardons & Parole could commute his sentence. In addition, Menzies is one of four others on death row who have filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s execution protocol. Utah’s primary method of execution is lethal injection, but when the drugs aren’t available, it relies on a firing squad to kill its citizens. It’s believed the state does not have the drugs it would need to kill Menzies. 

In Oklahoma, Philip Hancock, scheduled to be killed November 30, filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking DNA testing on evidence he maintains could establish that he acted in self-defense, the City Sentinel reports. Hancock was convicted and sentenced to death for killing Robert Jett and James Lynch in 2001. He has always maintained that he acted in self-defense. In his lawsuit, Hancock states that DNA testing of Lynch’s fingernail scrapings and his clothing, as well as Jett’s clothing, wallet, and a letter recovered from the scene would “to prove that Jett and Lynch violently assaulted Hancock immediately before, and then while, Hancock shot them in self-defense.” None of the crime scene evidence has ever been tested. Republican Reps. Kevin McDugle and Justin Humphrey and former Pardon and Parole Board member Adam Luck are asking the parole board to recommend clemency for Hancock, and for Gov. Kevin Stitt to commute his sentence, KOSU reported. 

A dolphin demonstrates a performance with a trainer at a dolphin pool in Taiji, southwestern Japan, where visitors can play with the animals Monday, March 8, 2010. The Japanese fishing village featured in "The Cove," which won an Oscar for best documentary, defended Monday its practice of hunting dolphins as a part of its tradition. Residents of this remote village nestled on the rocky coast expressed disgust at the covertly filmed movie, which they said distorted the truth, though few acknowledged seeing it in its entirety. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

The Miami Seaquarium Debacle Continues with more Sanctions, The Taiji Hunting & Capturing Season is What Sells Them to the Hotels, SeaWorld’s, Zoo’s & Seaquarium.

The infamous Miami Seaquarium is unfortunately embroiled in yet another scandal as they face accusations of mistreatment towards their animal residents. According to a recent federal inspection report, the amusement park has been cited for a number of offenses including a patron’s hand being bitten by a dolphin. Additionally, it has been reported that the park endangered one of their dolphins by allowing it to ingest plastic and a chunk of concrete in an outdated tank. The park also came under fire for their treatment of other animals, such as a manatee being held alone in an enclosure with no shade and a dolphin that sustained injuries due to being trapped with incompatible tankmates. Many are now calling on Miami-Dade County, who is the owner and lessor of the land the park is on, to take responsibility for the surviving animals’ welfare by shutting down the problematic facility.

When Miami-Dade County officials provided assurance to the public about bringing a significant change at the Miami Seaquarium, they had reasons to believe that they could deliver on their promise. The facility was riddled with violations of animal welfare regulations. Some of them, such as staff-induced starvation of dolphins, caused emaciation of the animals to the point of performing for food. Others were much more severe, like holding dolphins that are incompatible with each other, leading to significant trauma that resulted in death. The officials pledged to enforce regulations and keep a keen eye on the facility, ensuring that everything goes according to plan. Even the lease transfer to the current owner, The Dolphin Company, was seen as hope for salvaging the park. However, the reality on the ground is much different – animals are undergoing suffering that seems to have no end in sight.

Dolphins are incredibly intelligent and social creatures. In their natural habitat, they exhibit a vast range of dynamic behavior, such as swimming long distances of up to 60 miles in a single day, diving deep into the ocean as far as 3,000 feet, and maintaining complex relationships with their pod members. It is disheartening to see such majestic animals being held captive in tiny tanks and being forced to perform for human entertainment. This is a clear example of speciesism, a belief that promotes human superiority over other forms of life.

Though the recent plan to move the orca Lolita to a seaside sanctuary has come too late, there is still hope for the other dolphins that continue to suffer captivity at the park. It is high time we recognize and understand the importance of treating each living being, regardless of species, with compassion and respect. It is our responsibility to end this practice of keeping marine animals captive and realize that their true home is in the vast open waters where they belong.

There is a growing movement calling upon Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava to use her voice and her powerful position to advocate for the closure of the Miami Seaquarium. This important step would not only have far-reaching positive effects on the wellbeing of dolphins currently in captivity there, but also send a strong message to society about the proper treatment of animals in our care. As many concerned individuals and organizations have pointed out, captive dolphins at the Seaquarium are not only subjected to a life of confinement, but also traumatic living conditions that cause them great distress. A shut-down would demonstrate a clear commitment to animal welfare and be a true reflection of the values that underlie our society. Our hope is that Mayor Levine Cava will listen to this important call for reform and take concrete steps forward towards a better future for these intelligent creatures who share our planet.

The feds cited the Miami Seaquarium for creating a stressful environment for humans and other animals.

The notorious facility was cited for apparently doing the following:

  • Having vacancies in vital staff positions, including veterinarian and vet tech roles, which left a single veterinarian responsible for the care of almost 50 marine mammals and hundreds of birds, fish, and other animals
  • Failing to prevent a dolphin from biting a patron’s hand during an interactive session
  • Allowing a dolphin to ingest plastic, sand, glass filtration materials, and a chunk of cement from a deteriorating tank
  • Failing to provide a manatee kept in isolation with adequate shade from the sun
  • Housing a dolphin with incompatible tankmates, leading to the animal sustaining multiple bilateral rib fractures

PETA is urging Miami-Dade County officials to shut down this abusement park and compel it to send the animals to seaside sanctuaries, where they would finally be able to start recovering from their lifetime of trauma.

Conscientious people should stay far away from the Miami Seaquarium and every other marine park that exploits animals for entertainment.

Not really “aquarium” related but I saw this and something really put it  into perspective for me how terrible sad this situation is. (Lolita, Miami  Seaquarium) : r/AquariumsIf we set aside all other aspects and focus solely on one matter, we will find that the size of the pool wherein these majestic creatures, whales and dolphins, reside, is simply astonishing. It is indeed quite concerning how small the space is when compared to pools that many individuals may have in their personal homes.

One cannot even begin to fathom how these intelligent and social animals manage to survive and thrive in such an enclosed environment.

It is a matter that requires immediate attention and action.

As inhabitants of this planet, it is our responsibility to ensure the well-being of all creatures that coexist with us. We must show empathy and take every necessary measure to ensure that these beings are provided with the appropriate space that nature intended them to have. It is only then that they can truly flourish, and we can work towards a brighter and more sustainable future for all.

And, on the week of and days that are the ‘Day of the Dead,’ Let’s Help Honor Animals Who Died in Marine Park Tanks
Celebrated on November 1 and 2, “The Day of the Dead”—or Día de los Muertos—is an opportunity to remember and honor loved ones who have passed away.