Letter From the President: Being Mindful This Election Day

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

It’s no secret that we’ve all had a pretty tough year. Between the pandemic, the spotlight that has been shone on racial injustice, and the extreme political divide in our nation, we have faced a perfect storm of sorts.  As we move rapidly toward Election Day and the culmination of a political season the likes of which I’ve certainly never seen, we see a dramatically increased need for more self-care—and more care for others.  Regardless of where one sits on the political spectrum, there seems to be a degree of anxiety widespread amongst most all of us.  

We all hope that regardless of the outcome of the election, Americans will strive to be gracious in victory or defeat, and that we can come together as a united republic.  We know it is possible to have differences of opinion and still remain friends.  But, we should be mindful and prepared in the event there is violence and unrest.

As usual, the animal welfare profession is facing challenges head-on.  We’ve heard from members whose organizations have shown their characteristic creativity. They’ve come up with ways of helping their employees and volunteers prepare for any contingency.  

Here are just a few of the ideas animal welfare organizations have implemented to help their people participate fully in the political process and remain safe during election week:

  • Floating holiday during the month of November, to be used how and when employees decide it best fits their needs
  • Paid holiday on Election Day to support employees’ ability to safely cast their vote
  • Contigency plan to ensure the safety of staff and continuity of care in the event of unrest and violence in the days or weeks following the election
  • The closing of all locations and suspension of programming for the week of November 2–9, while continuing to pay staff their regularly earned wages with no deductions from PTO or holiday pay

We have much work to do as a profession. Let’s move past the election and the political divide, and work hard together. We are ONE! We are an industry of problem solvers, and we’ve proven time and again that we have the ability and the resolve to change the world.  

In the weeks, months and years ahead, let’s join hands and celebrate our differences. Let’s unite to support one another in our important mission to make the world better and safer for animals and people.


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Jim Tedford, CAWA, is President and CEO of The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement.

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