In light of recent events, Multnomah County Animal Services (MCAS) acknowledges the pain and grief that Black, Indigenous, and people of color are experiencing as a result of the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others. We know these tragic events are only the most recent manifestations of longstanding systemic racism, inequities, and implicit bias present in our culture and institutions. These events spur an opportunity for MCAS to reflect on our own practices and actions, both as individuals and as an animal welfare agency serving our community. We are committed to equity and inclusion in all of our operations and services to the public.
Multnomah County Animal Services has a responsibility to lead with race for the benefit of all of us. It is our responsibility and obligation to respond with cultural humility to the Black, Indigenous and other communities of color we serve.
We recognize that racial disparities are rooted in systemic problems that have to be acknowledged. In order to address these systemic inequities, MCAS is taking a lead role in this process to bring about positive change, and will be working collaboratively with impacted communities to identify issues that disproportionately impact them.
The Multnomah County Department of Community Services, of which Animal Services is a division, formed an Equity Committee in 2019. The Equity Committee is supported by consultants from the Portland-based Center for Equity and Inclusion, in order to address inequities and bring about cultural change as an organization. We are working to identify ways in which our approaches have perpetuated systematic oppression. The goal of our efforts is to bring about personal, cultural, and institutional change for the good of our agency and the communities we serve.
Additionally, MCAS Is in the process of forming a partnership with the Pets for Life (PFL) program with the Humane Society of the United States. PFL is a program driven by social justice and recognizes that pet ownership transcends racial and socio-economic boundaries, and provides access to resources and support to pet owners who have historically been under-served by animal welfare organizations.
We are leaning into our values of leading with race, which means that all of us are striving to be racially just and to promote equity. We are embarking on a new process that is focused on building community relationships and addressing the gaps to ensure that all within our community have access to our services.
Multnomah County Animal Services