5 Tips & Tools for Interacting with Increasingly Diverse Communities

We’ve been reviewing your feedback about The Spring Conference for Animal Welfare, and response to “Interacting with Increasingly Diverse Communities” was off the charts! Jace Huggins, Chief ACO at Front Street Animal Shelter, and Sergeant Michele Gigante of the Sacramento Police Department packed a wealth of info into their session, including tips and tools with an emphasis on the LGBTQI+ community. In full disclosure, we’re sharing just a few of the juiciest highlights here so you’ll be inspired to listen to the recording and share the many important learnings with staff. Take a look and let us know if you have utilized—or plan to try—any of the following resources.

Understand Implicit Bias

Huggins and Gigante kicked off the presentation with the idea of implicit bias, which occurs “when someone consciously rejects stereotypes and supports antidiscrimination efforts, but also holds negative associations in their mind unconsciously.”  To demonstrate how we are constantly exposed to ideas and images that contribute to bias, they suggest a simple exercise: 

  • Visit your preferred search engine.
  • Type in “rich” and do a search of images. Note what comes up.
  • Now type in “poor.” Note what comes up.

Cleanse Implicit Bias

Like it or not, we all carry implicit biases. To work on changing these unconscious associations about race and gender, try this seven-day bias cleanse.

Meet the Gender Unicorn

Huggins and Gigante shared this visual often used to help folks reframe how they think about gender and sexuality and better understand the diversity within gender expression.


14 Minutes of Bias-Busting

“Raising Ryland” is a great teaching tool to help explain what it means to be transgender—and bust some implicit biases along the way. Watch the video here.

What Do Your Shelter Forms and Software Have to Say?

Do some simple investigating and take a closer look at forms and applications you are using internally and externally. Do they only offer two options—Male or Female—for gender? What about forms that are filled out electronically?

Learn More

These tips and takeaways are just a small sample of the resources and information shared by Huggins and Gigante in their session. Conference registrants can access the recording anytime.

If you missed the conference, this session is part of a set of free resources designed to further the eradication of systemic racism and discrimination in animal welfare. Register to access the recording here.


The Association

The Association is the only international society of leaders actively leading and managing community animal shelters/animal control agencies.


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