Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Putting my English degree to good use.

Since the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation is holding a press conference today here in Baltimore to announce the recipients of this year's Courage Award, I thought I'd post the letter I sent to their CEO and manager.

Dear _______:

As an animal-rights activist and caretaker of a rescued pit bull, I’m writing to express my dismay at the decision of the Philadelphia Eagles to honor Michael Vick with the Ed Block Courage Award. While I understand that the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation has nothing to do with the selection of recipients, I urge you to question Mr. Vick’s merit for this honor.

I don’t need to remind you of Mr. Vick’s history of dogfighting and subsequent incarceration. I acknowledge that he has served his time and complied with the terms of his parole, yet I have seen no indication that he regrets his past cruelty and truly wishes to make a difference. During his appearances with the Humane Society of the United States, he has expressed remorse, but for getting caught, not for mistreating and murdering the dogs in his care. His hubris in suggesting that he has “overcome a lot, more than probably one single individual can handle or bear,” and that “nobody had to endure what [he has] been through” bespeaks someone who has not yet taken responsibility for his actions, let alone shown the courage befitting a Courage Award recipient. If, as your website states, a deserving player “symbolizes professionalism, great strength and dedication” and “is also a community role model,” then Mr. Vick is a staggeringly poor choice. How can he be “an Ambassador of Courage for victims of abuse, violence and neglect,” when he committed these same crimes against similarly vulnerable beings, the only difference being that they weren’t human? His selection cheapens the Ed Block Courage Award and makes a mockery of the virtues extolled by your organization.

I applaud the work of the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation and will be following the award process with interest. As Ed Block himself said, “Compassion is the noble way of life, a great guide for the truly noble of heart.” I encourage you to continue your compassionate work on behalf of victims of child abuse, but also to extend that compassion to other abused beings and to realize that we are all interconnected.

Vegan Burnout
Make no mistake, the Block Foundation has already gotten an earful and is trying to distance itself from the clusterfuck. At a meeting called to discuss the outcry that the Eagles’ selection of Vick generated, a board member admitted to being “surprised” and “taken aback,” adding that “[w]e are innocent in all of this.” I know that, but I expect the Block Foundation to step up and do something about it. They may have never had reason to reconsider a team’s chosen recipient before, but there’s a first time for everything. They hold the purse strings, so if they decide that Vick isn’t deserving of their award, they don’t have to give it to him. As Red would say (oh! He's blogging again!), it’s a basic application of the Golden Rule: Those who have the gold make the rules.

1 comment:

  1. WHOA. This was incredibly well written! I love how it definitely gets the point across but still sounds reasonable and logical. All too often we vegans are derided as being hysterical/crazy/etc so having you write out your position so clearly and eloquently is AMAZING. I'm really happy you did this and I'm so proud of you! Well done!!!