Dear Councilman Huizar,
I am a professor of Philosophy at East Los Angeles College and a member of the Office of Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. As such, I am an individual who works in your district and serves citizens who also belong to your district. Today however, I write as a person who has been moved to seek higher education and service by the animals who inhabit the Greater Los Angeles Zoo.
When I arrived as a refugee from Cuba at the age of seven, it was my encounter with the animals at the L.A. Zoo that provided a bridge to becoming an engaged participant of our community. My parents, who only had a 3rd and 6th grade education, took low-income custodial jobs at a local hospital. Due to both its proximity and affordable entrance price they often took me to the zoo. Though I lacked mastery of the English language, often receiving failing grades in school, my encounters with the animals, including the elephants, moved me to go to my school and local library to seek out more information on the animals I got to see and interact with. I remember reading about how there were two different species of elephants and could not wait to return to the zoo and see if I could distinguish the African elephants from the Asian. Even though I could not quite fit in this new land or could not do well in school, I was still able to learn and know the world of animals. The more I visited, the more I read. My encounter with animals opened my mind to the world of books, to a world not defined by a new language or customs, and in turn set my mind on the road toward new possibilities, new confidence, and new learning.
Over the years I have brought youth groups, students, and now, my own sons, to the zoo to share with them the sense of awe and wonder that the animals inspired in me when I was young.
I hope that you will consider how important motivation is to the learning process. For many low income and immigrant children such as me, it is often difficult to connect with a new land and its customs. It is with this hope that I encourage you to support the work of the Los Angeles Zoo and the citizens who support it. In providing a safe and healthy place where we can be moved to come to know, love and respect our fellow creatures, the LA Zoo provides a place where education and animal advocacy can blossom. It is with this hope that I request that you specifically support the present work the staff of the zoo is doing in regard to the elephant habitat they have undertaken and the future elephant conservation program they are planning.
In supporting these endeavors you will be providing future opportunities to both our human citizens and our brother elephants.
For an article on the elephant issue go to:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brenda-scott-royce/zoo-is-not-a-dirty-word_b_146226.htmlExplore posts in the same categories: animals, conservation, education, politics