Animal Advocacy Club Attends Conference in Washington D.C.


Cleveland’s Animal Advocacy Club members Melissa Patterson (Second left), Jayne Frost (Third left), and Macy Jenks (Second Right) pose for a photo at the conference. Photo provided by Macy Jenks.

By Kira Chan, Copy Editor

Three Cleveland students ventured to Washington D.C. over the summer to attend the Animal Rights National Conference 2017, the “world’s largest and longest-running animal rights gathering.”

The event was held from Aug. 3 to Aug. 6. According to the conference’s website, nearly 2,000 animal rights activists and supporters, and 90 organizations were in attendance. They came from all over the world, representing several countries including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Mexico, and the United States.

Junior Macy Jenks, Senior Jayne Frost, and alumnus Melissa Patterson, all members of Cleveland’s animal advocacy club, attended the conference. Alongside three girls from Franklin High School, they represented an organization called Youth for the Voiceless, and afterwards held a booth at the conference to share their mission with everyone. This organization was founded by these same girls, after they attended the conference in 2016 and noticed its lack of youth representation for animal advocacy.

“Our mission is to give youth more of a platform in the animal rights movement and to amplify their voices and so we do that through having them storytelling whether that be writing or art or anything,” said Jenks.

The conference was generous with opportunities for networking. There were exhibitions, video premieres, educational sessions, guest speakers, and presenters. The Cleveland students were able to meet and interview Kat Von D, a renowned tattoo artist, entrepreneur, and TV personality. She created a high-end makeup company called Kat Von D Beauty, which contains makeup that “does not contain any animal products or by-products, and has not been tested on animals.”

“This year we mostly wanted to make connections with people and that was really successful. We were able to interview [and meet] a lot of cool people. My favorite part was getting to interview Kat Von D because she was so nice, and she gave us free lipstick,” said Jenks.

The conference provided them the ability to learn more animal advocacy and connect with a network of people from around to world. Jenks said, “One of the biggest takeaways I got was that people are really willing to support you if you reach out or if you have a common goal.”

Events like this are what Cleveland’s animal advocacy club was created for; it’s a place for students to come and discuss current animal rights issues in an environment with like-minded people. The club meets every Wednesday during lunch in Carolyn Hintz’s room 329.

Members of Youth For The Voiceless take a photo with renowned activist Kat Von D. Photo provided by Macy Jenks.