HeartBeat - Volume Six: Summer, 2002


Welcome and Peaceable Kingdom Update

1. 2nd PBS Broadcast to Happen this Fall on KTEH in San Jose, CA

2. The Witness, Eddie Lama, and FaunaVision Van at AR 2002 Conference

3. Heart2Heart Email Discussion List Goes Live

4. German Language Version of The Witness to be Released in Austria

5. TOH Receives NYS Grant to Produce Spanish Version of The Witness

6. “To Tell the Truth” – Science Teaching Guide for The Witness Released

7. John Robbins Joins New Gift of Compassion Initiative with The Food Revolution

8. GOC Participant Gets The Witness into Wilmington Film Festival

9. Activists Bring The Witness to Theaters and Colleges Across North America

10. Tribe of Heart Grassroots Survey

11. Volunteer Reaches Out to Faith-based Communities

12. TOH Hires New Administrative Coordinator

13. TOH Board of Directors Welcomes Two New Members

14. Special Thanks to Patty Finch

15. Broadcast Recap/Oasis Sanctuary Web Site

16. Wolf Sanctuary Distributes The Witness

17. ASPCA Animal Watch Magazine Features Eddie Lama and The Witness

18. Job Opening: Director of Distribution and Grassroots Support

Community Support Opens the Door to Peaceable Kingdom

Hello again! It has been some time since the last HeartBeat, almost eight months. For two years now, keeping up with the response to The Witness has absorbed virtually all our organization’s human and financial resources. This has been wonderful and exciting, albeit a bit overwhelming at times, but it has also made completion of our next film, Peaceable Kingdom, quite a challenge. For the last year we have been engaged in maintaining a delicate balance, supporting outreach and activism around The Witness as strongly as we could, while, in the background, step-by-step putting into place the funding, studio facilities, and human resources needed to allow the new film to be edited. At times this double effort has made it hard for us to promptly return your emails and phone calls, and, more recently, has made it difficult for us to attend as many community events as in the past.

Through this transitional time, it is you, our community, who have made the difference, with your caring, commitment, activism, encouraging words, volunteer efforts, financial contributions, and inspiring faith in the importance of the work we are all doing together.

With your help, as you will read in this newsletter, we have passed a critical point, and are now moving full steam ahead with the editing of Peaceable Kingdom. A story told in the words of those who grew up on farms, those who care daily for rescued farm animals, and those who are seeking community and sanctuary from a world that often seems cruel, Peaceable Kingdom weaves together themes of respect, forgiveness, commitment, healing, and a vision for peace that begins on one’s plate. We are so excited to finally be in the position to dedicate ourselves to finishing this film. Each day, there are so many farm animals enduring such extreme suffering, and each step we take toward releasing the film gives us even more motivation to go further.

Many of you heard from us by snail mail in December, when we asked for your support to finish Peaceable Kingdom. Tribe of Heart’s grassroots supporters, who over the last several months have made donations ranging from $1 to $10,000 (now totaling over $35,000), are playing a critical role in our being able to keep the program moving ahead.

Jenny Stein (and Lucy) work on editing Peaceable Kingdom
We would like to extend a special thanks to each of you who made a contribution during a year when many were short of extra money. We would also like to acknowledge the guidance provided to us in developing our fundraising program by Mark Epstein, Charles Hershey, Gloria Ferguson, and TOH Board members JP Novic and John Paul. Our fundraising advisors have also helped us develop a new program called “Patron of the Heart.” This program seeks the support of funders who are in a position to donate $100,000 or more over the next 4 years toward completion and distribution of the Animal People anthology. Patron of the Heart is intended to complement our existing grassroots funding outreach by developing the level of support required to sustain our programs into the future, and to broadly expand the audience for our films. (If you or someone you know, might be a good match for our new Patron of the Heart program, please feel free to contact me for more information).

When Peaceable Kingdom is released toward the end of this year, it will not be possible to run closing credits long enough to recognize the number of people who have made its movement into the world possible. We are ever more aware that it is a circle of compassion within which we stand, and that every other person standing with us in that circle is a good friend of those vulnerable beings we serve. We are so very honored to be among you.


1. 2nd PBS Broadcast to Happen this Fall on KTEH in San Jose, CA

How much of a difference can one person make? Last fall, Shelly Frost decided to approach her regional PBS station with The Witness. She called us to discuss her idea, wrote a brief letter introducing the film, obtained a press kit from TOH, and sent everything in to KTEH with a copy of The Witness. After calling several times to follow up, with no apparent results, Shelley assumed nothing would come of her efforts. Then, last week, several months after her submission attempt, we received an email from Linda Dennis, Coordinating Producer of “video i,” a KTEH program dedicated to airing independent films. Apparently, no one had looked at The Witness until very recently, when on a whim, Linda decided to pop the video into the VCR. Shortly thereafter, we received her call.

Linda told us that they will likely show The Witness four times over the course of the year, and that their audiences for video i average 30,000 to 60,000. Through KTEH’s broadcasts, well over 100,000 people should see The Witness, and we estimate that with a concerted publicity collaboration between video i, TOH and Northern California animal organizations, we might be able to reach much larger numbers even than that. Simply said, because of Shelly’s efforts, we will in one stroke double the number of people who have ever seen The Witness.

When I asked Linda how she got a copy of The Witness, she had a vague memory of the video coming in several months ago, but she had no idea who sent it. Hearing this, I was reminded of the old saying, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do, provided you don’t care who gets the credit.” Our deepest thanks go out to Shelly, both as an individual and as a representative of all the caring people of this world who do what it takes, one day at a time, to make things better for those most in need. (We are still waiting to learn the air date for the broadcast, which will be sometime this Fall).

ACTION OPPORTUNITY: If you would like to submit The Witness to your PBS regional station, visit our new PBS page for a guide to the process. Let’s make it happen!

2. The Witness, Eddie Lama, and FaunaVision Van at
     AR 2002 Conference

While Jenny and I are limiting our travel this summer in order to focus on completing Peaceable Kingdom, we are delighted to announce that Susan Weingartner, Director of EarthSave Los Angeles, will conduct two Witness screenings at the AR 2002 conference, happening at the conference hotel theater on Saturday June 29 at 6 PM and Sunday June 30 at 10 PM. Susan has done a terrific job of energizing EarthSave LA, and has held numerous screenings of The Witness over the last year, which she has presented in combination with reading selections from John Robbins book, The Food Revolution. Susan has also had success in building effective coalitions between animal rights and environmental activist groups in her area.

Attending both AR2002 screenings will be Eddie Lama and Eric Weiss of FaunaVision, who will answer questions with Susan after the film. Immediately thereafter, Eddie will debut his latest and greatest FaunaVision Van, “The H.M.S. Bagel,” in the hotel parking lot. The new van is named in honor of Bagel, the cat featured in The Witness who helped Eddie make the bridge from his new-found love of cats to compassion for all animals used for human food. Sadly, Bagel succumbed to complications from a long-term illness and died earlier this year, but his spirit lives on, helping all his animal friends through The Witness, and now, with the new FaunaVision van.

ACTION OPPORTUNITY: Please spread the word about these special AR2002 events, and if you are attending the conference, take this opportunity to meet Eddie, Susan, and Eric. Note that Eddie and Eric may also be demonstrating the Faunette, a small, portable kiosk-based implementation of the FaunaVision concept.


3. Heart2Heart Email Discussion List Goes Live

Over the last months, one thing has become clear to us: Tribe of Heart really is becoming a Tribe. More and more people are getting involved, and as a growing community, we need a more robust way to communicate with each other. As the TOH staff is presently focused on finishing Peaceable Kingdom and planning its release and distribution, we are not able to provide full support to all those contacting us directly for guidance on various forms of activism, nor all of those who write to share and discuss their viewing experiences after seeing The Witness. We have therefore established a new email list to connect those of you with experience with those of you who are new to compassion issues, animal activism, or the use of The Witness as a tool for change. The Heart2Heart email list will hopefully become a vehicle for us all to connect and support each other’s personal journey as well as increase the effectiveness of our work for education and social change.

John with Emma and Sparky
Heart2Heart is being moderated by John Calabria, a longtime Tribe of Heart volunteer and Gift of Compassion participant who has gotten The Witness into the hands of college professors, libraries, peace activists, meditation centers, student animal rights groups, and was responsible for getting the video reviewed by Spirituality & Health magazine. John has also participated in several screenings of The Witness and has helped us respond to TOH correspondence on an ongoing basis. We’re delighted John has volunteered to moderate our new discussion list, as he is not only knowledgeable about Tribe of Heart’s programs and history, but he has spent years studying the issues around vegetarianism and animal advocacy. If he can’t answer your questions, then you can be sure he’ll be able to direct you to someone who can!

ACTION OPPORTUNITY: Join the heart2heart email discussion list!

4. German Language Version of The Witness to be Released in Austria

The theme of this newsletter is the difference one person can make. In this case it is two people, Thomas Winger and Klaus Unterberger, who have worked together to complete the first foreign language version of The Witness. "Der Zeuge: Eine Dokumentation von Tribe of Heart," will be released later this summer.

From left: Klaus, Thomas, Bovi
Thomas, a management consultant and international animal activist, lives in Vienna with his wife Beatrice and Bovi, a 70 lb mutt he brought home from the animal shelter. Thomas saw The Witness at the AR 2001 conference, and proposed at that time to work with Tribe of Heart on producing a version of the film for Austria. He then proceeded to create a beautiful German translation of Eddie Lama’s words, raised the funds to cover studio costs, and partnered with Klaus Unterberger, a good friend from Austria’s public broadcasting network, who provided a professional voiceover for the German version of the film. Klaus shares his home with the magnificent “Polar Bear,” a stray cat Thomas rescued 15 years ago.

Once production on Der Zeuge was complete, Thomas went on to forge a distribution partnership with Verein Gegen Tierfabriken (VgT), an Austrian group working to end factory farming. Together, they will announce a program called “United Creatures” at this year’s annual Austrian animal conference, which will kickoff release of the film in their country. Thomas and his team are going to make a special effort to bring The Witness to young people, and we hope that their efforts will inspire activists in other countries to make use of The Witness. In the coming months, we will add a page to the TOH web site to keep you up to date on their work in Austria and other German-speaking countries.

ACTION OPPORTUNITY: If you have contacts in a German-speaking country and would like to help Thomas and his team publicize and distribute Der Zeuge, please email Thomas


5. TOH receives NYS Grant to Produce Spanish Version of The Witness

Tribe of Heart has received a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts to create and release "El Testigo," the Spanish-language version of The Witness. Shortly after receiving this grant, Adriana Cristina Hernandez, a professional interpreter, contacted us from Texas. She had seen The Witness and wanted to share it with her Spanish-speaking family, so she graciously volunteered to make a translation of the film for us. In August, we plan to go into the studio with Eddie Lama, and using Adriana’s translation, will create a Spanish language soundtrack for The Witness. El Testigo will premiere in New York City, and will eventually be available as an alternate soundtrack on the DVD version of The Witness coming out later this year. Given the audience response we have seen when showing The Witness in Latino communities, we are thrilled at the prospect of being able to distribute a Spanish-language version worldwide.

ACTION OPPORTUNITY: If you have contacts in a Spanish-speaking community and would like to help us publicize and distribute the Spanish version of The Witness, please send us an email with your contact information, and we will get in touch when El Testigo is ready for release later this year.

6. “To Tell the Truth” – Science Teaching Guide for The Witness Released

Tribe of Heart’s second teaching guide, “To Tell the Truth: Science, Society, and Controversy,” was designed to stimulate critical thinking amongst science students. Exploring the age old scientific debate over the nature of animal consciousness, this new teaching guide invites students to consider some of the ways prevailing social, political, and religious influences have shaped the results of animal study and research, from medieval times into the present. It also shows how the new science of cognitive ethology is mounting a challenge to centuries-old scientific attitudes and beliefs. The readings for this lesson provide lively food for thought, not just for science students, but for anyone who is interested in the role science has played in our conception of the human-animal relationship. Science and English teaching guides are both downloadable for printing as well. Click here for details.

ACTION OPPORTUNITY: If you know a high school teacher, community college instructor or college professor who teaches science, ethics, writing, or philosophy, consider supplying them with a copy of The Witness along with our teaching guides. Though the guides are designed specifically to meet national education standards for high school students, much of the material and references, as well as the general approach to teaching the material, can easily be adapted for college classes.


7. John Robbins Joins New Gift of Compassion Initiative
    with The Food Revolution

John Robbins’ groundbreaking book, Diet for a New America, had a major influence on our work at Tribe of Heart. Specifically, John’s unique blend of personal storytelling and clear exposition of the many ways we are unnecessarily harming ourselves, our planet and the animals, touched us deeply.

Given the inspiration John’s work has offered to us and so many others, it is with particular joy that we announce our collaboration with him in an extension of Tribe of Heart’s Gift of Compassion program. From this point forward, each person who purchases a Gift of Compassion (24 half-priced videos plus outreach materials) will receive a complimentary copy of The Food Revolution which has been donated by John Robbins. In turn, each person who purchases a case of The Food Revolution under John Robbins’ special discount program for activists will receive a complimentary copy of The Witness donated by Tribe of Heart. John’s book is a perfect addition to our Gift of Compassion activism kit, as The Food Revolution supplies, in a single work, an engaging and meticulously researched overview of all the major reasons that a plant-based diet is best for our health and our hearts, and why it is also the greatest single gift we can give to those of the future.

ACTION OPPORTUNITY: If you haven’t yet, read The Food Revolution, and consider distributing The Witness and the Food Revolution together as complementary tools for change.

8. GOC Participant Gets The Witness into Wilmington Film Festival

Annette Swartz of Wilmington, Delaware, joined our Gift of Compassion program in November of last year. Since then, she has organized a screening of The Witness at the University of Delaware, donated the video to local libraries, designed library window displays highlighting The Witness and animal issues, and approached local philosophy professors about including the film in their curricula. She is also currently working on getting The Witness shown in area churches, as well as a correctional facility for adolescents.

Annette holds up her library's newest arrival: The Witness
Most recently, Annette submitted The Witness to the selection committee for the Wilmington Film Festival. After their viewing, we were contacted by a member of the Mayor of Wilmington’s staff, who kindly shared the committee’s heartfelt reaction to the film. We will be attending the screening of The Witness at the festival (Sept. 25-29, details TBA), along with Eddie Lama, and look forward to meeting Annette in person. Annette’s success in bringing The Witness to a mainstream municipal film festival shows once again what is possible when just a single person steps forward to carry the message of compassion into their community.

ACTION OPPORTUNITY: If your community or region has a film festival or an alternative movie theatre, you may well be able to submit The Witness for consideration. Feel free to contact film festival organizers or theatre programmers, who often appreciate suggestions from the community about interesting films to consider. The Witness can be screened in 35-mm film, Beta-SP, DVD, and mini-DV formats. You may find that your submission of the film will be strengthened if you include a complete Witness Press Kit, which is now available at the Tribe Shop. You can also download many of the same resources for free here on our web site. Once you have developed an opportunity in your community, contact us and we can offer advice about how to follow up.


9. Activists Bring The Witness to Theatres and Colleges
     Across North America

Once again we return to our theme of individual activists facilitating events that have widespread and lasting impact. In 2002, there have been a series of superbly orchestrated screenings, each led by one or two activists who then assembled a whole team to plan, publicize, and host larger scale screenings of The Witness. Here are some highlights:

VANCOUVER, BC PREMIERE: Pacific Cinematheque Theatre
In January, Tony Levin organized a screening of The Witness at Vancouver’s Pacific Cinematheque, and enlisted the help of EarthSave Canada and the Vancouver Humane Society. Tony and his team publicized the event widely, and arranged a radio interview for Jenny and me with Karl Losken, who hosts Animal Voices on 102.7 FM in Vancouver (Great program! Check it out). Their hard work paid off with a well-attended event, and an audience that was clearly moved by the film’s message. After the screening, Tony led a discussion, and literature was made available on vegetarianism and animal protection issues. After seeing how his efforts impacted this group of people, Tony decided to organize another screening at the Pacific Cinematheque, which just happened on Tuesday, June 25th.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: The Red Vic Movie House

In February, activist Diane Delonzor orchestrated 4 evening screenings of The Witness and one matinee over the course of two days. It was a real community undertaking, inspired by Diane’s creative leadership and passion to make a difference. Diane recruited a team of volunteers in the advertising and publicity profession who launched a grassroots publicity campaign. She also enlisted the help of Ed Sayres, President of the San Francisco SPCA, and Camilla Fox, fur expert at the Animal Protection Institute, who joined us for a discussion with the audience after the screenings. Both the SF/SPCA and API publicized the screening to their members.

The Red Vic Movie House, a worker-owned and operated cooperative on Haight Street, graciously hosted the events on Feb. 19 & 20 and provided a flawless projection of our 35mm film print. The audience response was enthusiastic, and many people gathered in the lobby after each screening to collect literature about animal protection issues and to discuss how they could get more involved in helping animals.

STANFORD Welcomes The Witness and John Robbins

John Robbins and James LaVeck answer questions at screening
Following the Red Vic screenings, we went to Stanford University for a screening of The Witness hosted by the student group Stanford Vegan Action. With the support of Dr. Tom Raffin of the Stanford Medical Ethics Committee, Courtney Dahlke of Vegan Action orchestrated a community-wide publicity campaign. John Robbins then joined the effort and kindly agreed to introduce the film and participate in the post-screening discussion, which helped draw an even larger crowd for the event. ToH Board member JP Novic enlisted the help of several members of her Santa Cruz organization CAPE (Center for Animal Protection and Education), who set up a Tribe of Heart table at the event, selling videos, distributing literature and answering questions.

There was a full house, and the discussion that followed the film went on for over an hour, on topics ranging from the inherent cruelty of dairy industry practices to the challenges of getting animal rights oriented programming nationally broadcast, with a lot of time spent on a topic that often comes up in our presentation at colleges: Where do we draw the line in our obligation to treat other living beings with kindness? 


GAINESVILLE, FL: Compassion for Animals Symposium
From the Bay Area, we traveled to Florida on February 23rd. Chas Chiodo of Vegetarian Events had invited us to this regional conference to give a presentation on “Building a Bridge to the Mainstream,” and to hold an evening screening of The Witness. A large group assembled, and a very lively dialogue followed the film, with some people staying for almost 2 hours to share ideas about media activism and the promise of bringing a message of compassion to a broad cross section of the general public. Chas and his crew were masterful at creating community over a 2-day event and provided a rich environment for activism to take root and flourish. The conference is held every February in Gainesville, so if you’re in driving distance, we highly recommend you check out next year’s event.

MIAMI, FL: Speak Out for Animals Symposium
After Gainesville, we headed down to Miami to show The Witness at the Speak Out for Animals Symposium, and to be part of a panel discussion with philosopher Tom Regan and humane educator Susan Hargreaves. Held on the Miami-Dade Community College campus, the audience for this event were mostly students, and their questions following the film were especially thoughtful. One woman spoke with great emotion about how she’d like to change her diet, but knows she would receive no support from her family and community. Interestingly, many of the other questions had to do with animal ethics issues not even covered in the film, such as birds and other wildlife kept in captivity. To us, this was a good sign, as people were examining other parts of their lives and experiences in light of what they had just seen. This symposium was a program of the Animal/Ethics Study Center (AESC) at Miami-Dade Community College, and was organized by AESC’s Coordinator, Joyce DiBenedetto. The AESC, which was visioned and is supported by Donna Litowitz, a longtime friend of animals, houses a library collection of books and videos that explore the ethical issues around our society’s treatment of animals, and also arranges classroom presentations on these topics. We were happy to leave a few copies of The Witness in their collection!

ACTION OPPORTUNITY: We have found that copies of The Witness donated to libraries get very good use. Consider donating a copy to your local libraries, or requesting that they acquire a copy for their collection. This is a great way to get the video into the hands of young people. You can introduce librarians to the film with our handout, "The Witness for Teachers and Librarians," which can be found on our downloadable resources page.

LAWRENCE, KS: Liberty Hall Movie Theatre

The phenomenal AOK team takes a rare break for a photo in front of Liberty Hall
Members of Animal Outreach of Kansas (AOK) are going all out to prove that a small group of people can make a really big difference. After holding 16 well-attended community screenings of The Witness over the last year, they found a way to bring the film to the Liberty Hall movie theatre in Lawrence. Theatre owner Scott Bliss, who was given the video by an AOK member, was so enthusiastic about showing the film that he graciously provided the venue with only a small admission fee charged to cover his overhead. The film was screened in April on a Thursday night, and for a Saturday and Sunday matinee. The audience response was overwhelmingly positive, and since so many people expressed regret that they weren’t able to send friends and co-workers back to see it before it left the theatre, AOK donated a copy of the video to local libraries and the Lawrence high school.

But AOK didn’t stop there. They went on to build a portable video information kiosk modeled after Eddie Lama’s Faunette (a pedestrian version of the FaunaVision van shown in The Witness). So every Friday night, volunteers of AOK are out on the streets educating the public about the sad reality of animal suffering. Special thanks to Megan Fobes, Ann Wilson, Judy Carman and the rest of the AOK A-Team for inspiring all of us here at TOH with your creative and energetic activism!


MANHATTAN: Two Boots Pioneer Theatre

The Witness has now shown at a third Manhattan movie theatre, thanks to TOH Board member Mary Max, who organized two back-to-back Friday night screenings the first weekend in May at the Two Boots Pioneer Theatre. The dedicated team of activists that put this event together with Mary included Linda Nealon, David Baden, Marisa Miller, and Rich Cook. The full house screenings were followed by a lively reception, which we attended along with Eddie Lama and Eric Weiss of Faunavision, artist Peter Max, and surprise guest Rikki Rockett, drummer of the band Poison, who is also known for his animal activism. Manhattan’s famous Candle Café catered the event with sumptuous vegan desserts. Special thanks to Peter Max for his kind support, and to Anna Willis of Peter Max’s studio, who designed the posters and invitations for this event.


In addition to these large-scale screening events, we’ve learned of more than 25 other community screenings that were organized in California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and Ontario, Canada, since 2002 began. Since The Witness was released in July, 2000, we have been informed of over 150 screenings that have been held in 40 US states and 6 Canadian provinces. Our goal is to have screenings of The Witness happen in all 50 states. We have not yet heard of screenings organized in Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia or Wyoming. If you know of a screening that happened in one of these states, please send us the details.

ACTION OPPORTUNITY: If you haven’t organized a community screening yet -- or even if you have -- consider showing The Witness at your local library, college, church, community center, health food coop, yoga center, or other public venue where you can invite the public. The TOH web site has a guide to holding a screening and downloadable resources for publicizing your event.

10. Tribe of Heart Grassroots Survey

Our goal is to provide our community with the very best documentaries, outreach programs, and support services we can, and we know that the key to achieving that goal is to carefully listen to your feedback and suggestions. The time has come for us here at TOH to connect in to the collective wisdom and experience you all have, in order to design the new initiatives that will be rolled out along with the release of Peaceable Kingdom later this year.

This summer, our in-house staff is being joined by Susan Wiser. Susan, who works as a therapist at Cornell University during the academic year, is volunteering her skills as a professional researcher and highly skilled listener, and is leading the development and implementation of our grassroots survey. Susan is our most active local volunteer, and, over the last ten months, has assembled by hand many hundreds of copies of The Witness that have gone out into the world. She and her husband Paul have also been active participants in the Gift of Compassion program. Her hard work, warmth and positive energy have been a great gift to Tribe of Heart.

Susan is in the initial stages of designing our survey, which eventually will be administered over the phone and email by a team of volunteers to a cross section of people involved in TOH activities. We will be seeking feedback on various aspects of The Witness, on grassroots screenings, and on the Gift of Compassion program. Your responses to our questions will be crucial to helping our upcoming programs be as effective as they can be.

ACTION OPPORTUNITY: If you receive an email from Susan or one of her fellow volunteers inviting you to participate in the survey, please consider taking the time to do so. The information that has come in from the preliminary interviews Susan conducted has already proven to be very helpful and will better equip us to offer programs that really work. Also, we are trying to do a special segment of the survey focusing on professional educators, so if you are a high school teacher, college professor, humane educator, or librarian, and are willing to participate in the survey, please send an email to Susan. Thanks!


11. Volunteer Reaches Out to Faith-based Communities

Mary Margaret Earl presents Eddie with the Peace Abbey's Courage of Conscience Award
In addition to Susan, we are fortunate to have the help of another professional volunteer for the summer, Mary Margaret Earl. We met Mary Margaret last year, when she presented Eddie Lama with the Courage of Conscience award at the Peace Abbey (you can read the text of her inspiring speech). Mary Margaret is a recent divinity school graduate for whom animal issues are central. This summer she will be researching the use of The Witness to promote compassion for animals in faith-based settings. A trained journalist, she will also be writing some articles for the TOH web site to share what she has learned. As spiritual communities typically have a strong value for ethics, compassion, and the cultivation of kindness, they become a natural setting for sharing a film like The Witness. With Mary Margaret’s initiative, we hope to learn how to better serve those who wish to incorporate the animal compassion message into their faith-based work.

ACTION OPPORTUNITY: If you have used The Witness as an educational vehicle in a spiritual setting of any denomination or tradition, please contact Mary Margaret with your feedback and insights.

12. TOH Hires New Administrative Coordinator

In the first week of May, Lisa Cochran joined TOH as Administrative Coordinator, bringing our in-house staff to three. Lisa spent the last fourteen years of her career in a variety of positions at New York State Electric and Gas, where she developed a wide range of business management, accounting, quality control, and supervisory skills. In joining the TOH staff, Lisa has found a way to combine her professional talents with her lifelong interest in animal protection, which has previously been expressed through her persistent efforts to educate co-workers about animal issues and by caring for animals in need. While attending a college Biology class, Lisa single-handedly convinced the faculty to offer an alternative to dissection, resulting in the department’s purchase of computer physiology software that has since been used by many students who choose not to participate in dissection. Lisa’s job as Administrative Coordinator will bring her into contact with many TOH supporters, and we hope that you will enjoy her professionalism, good humor and spirited commitment as much as we do.


13. TOH Board of Directors Welcomes Two New Members

Drawing of Mary
by Peter Max
Mary Max, board member of Humane USA and wife of the artist Peter Max, joined the TOH Board of Directors at the end of 2001. A deeply committed animal activist, Mary’s work with Tribe of Heart has thus far focused on developing a number of long range opportunities that entail getting The Witness into the hands of people in the world of public affairs and entertainment. Mary also recently worked with a group of dedicated volunteers to hold two well-attended screenings in Manhattan at the Two Boots Pioneer Theatre, and she also recently facilitated The Witness being accepted into a film festival that we will soon announce. Mary has a special talent for introducing new people to the world of animal activism and is responsible for quite a number of people not only deciding to live with greater compassion for animals, but also dedicating themselves to working for change in our society. Mary’s warm heart, dedication and fierce commitment to activism have been a constant inspiration to all of us on the Board. Peter Max has also been active in supporting Mary’s work, offering TOH advice on various aspects of our program and taking time to attend TOH related events in New York. Peter’s longstanding commitment to animal rights and human rights is well known, and we have been honored to receive his help and encouragement.

More recently, our Board of Directors was joined by Alice Baker. Based in Rome, Alice has a distinguished career as an opera singer, and she brings to our board a lifetime of experience in the fine arts. Her career has taken her all over the world, and her travels have helped her develop a sense of both human problems and human potential that transcends national boundaries. Alice’s familiarity with many of the languages and cultures of Europe position her perfectly to lead the movement of TOH documentaries into the European community. She is the Founder of CMI Arts, an non-profit organization dedicated to helping establish mentoring relationships between new opera singers and experienced performers, and has also been involved for several years in efforts to aid some of the nearly 200,000 cats that wander the streets of Rome through her work with Torre Argentina, a remarkable cat sanctuary in Rome. Alice was inspired to get involved with Tribe of Heart through her concern for people, animals, and the environment, as she feels our planet is at a critical turning point, and that the time to make a difference is now.


14. Special Thanks to Patty Finch

After several months of very fruitful work as both a volunteer and an employee, Patty Finch left Tribe of Heart last February to pursue other opportunities in the humane education field. We thank her for her ground-breaking work, both on our teaching guides for The Witness and on our outreach strategy, and we wish her well on her continuing lifetime journey of service to others. Patty has helped us understand our work in a much wider historical context. She has also inspired us to study the words and deeds of people in other eras who dedicated themselves to teaching compassion for those deemed unworthy of full membership in the moral community. Her contribution will have a positive impact long into the organization's future, and for that we will ever be grateful to her.

15. Broadcast Recap/Oasis Sanctuary Web Site

As many of you know, last Fall included some wonderful opportunities for The Witness, including its first television broadcast on Denver’s KBDI PBS station, Eddie Lama’s appearance on the Montel Williams television talk show to an audience numbering in the millions, and an interview with Shelton Walden on New York City’s popular public radio station, WBAI. One of the most positive aspects of Eddie’s appearance on the Montel show was that the viewing audience was able to see how his journey had led him to care for both people and animals in need. Tribe of Heart was honored to work with the Oasis staff and documentary photographer Chris Ramirez on the creation of a web site for Oasis Sanctuary, which launched right before the Montel broadcast.

ACTION OPPORTUNITY: If you haven’t had the chance to do so, please visit the Oasis web site. There are so many wonderful animals there that could use a loving home. Eddie and his staff always appreciate help with placing the many animals that come into their care, many of whom endured abuse and neglect before their arrival. If you or someone you know is in a position to open their home to a new animal companion, consider adopting one from Oasis (located in the Catskills, 2.5 hours north-west from Manhattan).

If you’d like to help animals in need but can’t take one in, consider making a donation to Oasis or another sanctuary that provides care and a safe haven for our animal friends. Oasis can be contacted at info@oasissanctuary.org, (212) 459-4825, or Oasis Sanctuary, 163 Third Avenue, Suite 320, New York, NY 10003. Oasis Sanctuary is a 501c(3) non-profit, so your donations are tax-deductible.


16. Wolf Sanctuary Distributes The Witness

Last year, through a joint program with The Association of Sanctuaries (TAOS), Tribe of Heart mailed a copy of The Witness to each of the sanctuaries that comprise TAOS’s membership. A few months later we were contacted by Frank Wendland, President of WOLF, a Colorado-based sanctuary that rescues wolves and wolf-dogs, and educates the public about the value of wolves and the importance of keeping them in the wild. Recognizing that the bigger picture of the human-animal relationship is important to fulfilling WOLF’s specific mission of defending the needs and rights of wolves and wolf-dogs, Frank enlisted the help of a donor so that WOLF could offer free copies of The Witness to the organization’s membership. Since WOLF is located in a ranching community, this presents an exciting opportunity for members of their organization to reach out to people who may have never considered the ideas expressed in The Witness.

ACTION OPPORTUNITY: Consider providing a copy of The Witness to your local humane society, or even arranging a screening for their staff and board. Introduce them to the film with our handout, “The Witness for Humane Societies and Animal Welfare Groups,” which can be found on our downloadable resources page. Animal welfare organizations and humane societies are filled with people who care about animals and who interact with the public regularly around animal issues. At the present time, the No-Kill movement is making great strides in the world of animal welfare. The Witness provides a powerful introduction to the concept of extending the deep compassion we may feel for one other species -- as Eddie did for cats -- to all other species. A screening held last year at the national No-Kill conference went over very well, and resulted, among other things, in the article that follows.


17. ASPCA Animal Watch Magazine Features Eddie Lama
       and The Witness

The Summer edition of Animal Watch, the magazine of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, opens with an editorial by Editor-in-Chief Marion S. Lane discussing her experience as a first-time viewer of The Witness at a conference, a viewer who has in the past found the visual depiction of animal suffering almost unbearably painful:

“Terrified that I’d be compelled to look at sights that would haunt my dreams, I took deep breaths as the room slowly filled with people. But when the lights were lowered and the film began, my fears fell away. It was just this guy Eddie from Brooklyn, telling his story.”

Lane goes on to observe that part of Eddie’s effectiveness as an animal advocate is that when he “asks the questions a child might ask, we don’t dare to offer our weary, grown-up answers.”

She ended up bringing a copy of The Witness home from the conference, and waited ten months for the right moment to share it with her husband. Finally the day came. Initially, her husband was so concerned about seeing images of animals being hurt that he went into another room. But then, after listening to Eddie’s voice for a few minutes, he came in to watch the rest of the film with her. Lane ends her editorial with a powerful statement: “Ironically, the images that we share don’t haunt our dreams.”

Later in the magazine came a colorful article by writer Tracy Epp called “Eye on the Witness” which provided an overview of Eddie’s journey to compassion, his invention of the FaunaVision van, and his founding of Oasis Sanctuary. “In 1998 Lama founded Oasis Sanctuary,” she writes,” a no-kill shelter situated on 60 acres of land in North Branch, NY. Today, Oasis Sanctuary is home to many species of animals, including cats, dogs, pigs, chickens and rabbits. It also serves as a temporary home for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts who come to the sanctuary to live and work in a non-violent, vegetarian environment. Lama calls Oasis Sanctuary a ‘synthesis of his passions’ because it combines his love for helping animals with his desire to help people.”

Our heartfelt thanks go out to Marion Lane and Tracy Epp for helping create a ground-breaking magazine with a most inspiring motto: “Dedicated to the Protection of All Animals.” In this case, one tiny word, makes ALL the difference.

18. Job Opening: Director of Distribution and Grassroots Support

Tribe of Heart is a small, highly focused non-profit organization that produces and distributes documentaries and other educational tools that empower any motivated person to teach compassion for both people and animals. Ours is a fast paced environment with quickly evolving projects and a high standard of quality in our work. Each of our three staff members perform a variety of roles for the organization and are typically engaged in several projects at once. The hours are long, but the rewards are profound for those who take joy in empowering the best in people and knowing they are creating positive social change.

The Director of Distribution and Grassroots Support will oversee the national and international distribution of Tribe of Heart documentaries, educational guides and publicity materials. This individual will also coordinate and support the efforts of grassroots activists, distributors, and partner organizations.

Interested Applicants: Explore our web site to learn more about Tribe of Heart and our programs. Submit cover letter and resume via email, by fax to (607) 275-0702, or by postal mail to Tribe of Heart, PO Box 149 Ithaca, NY 14851

Thank you for reading HeartBeat, and for all you are doing to make this a more compassionate world. When we gather together to protect the vulnerable, create a just society, and restore the earth, the healing power of community is without measure.

Warm wishes,
James LaVeck

PS: If you have a story to share with us about how you’re using The Witness, we’d love to hear from you on the heart2heart email discussion list.


Copyright © 2002 Tribe of Heart Ltd. All rights reserved.
Ph. (607) 275-0806
. mail@tribeofheart.org



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