Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
—Martin Luther King Jr.
Countless prominent African Americans throughout history have used their influence to stand up for animals, and this month we celebrate their inspiring efforts. Civil rights leader Coretta Scott King extended her kindness toward humans to animals by going vegan. The late comedian Richard Pryor, who won our Humanitarian Award in 1999, tirelessly urged KFC and McDonald’s to treat chickens humanely and spoke out on behalf of the elephants abused by Ringling and other circuses.
Today, fur-free First Lady Michelle Obama and awareness-raising media mogul (not to mention PETA’s 2008 Person of the Year) Oprah Winfrey continue the historic trend of African Americans defending animals. Author and social thinker Cornel West, record producer Russell Simmons, and community leader Rev. Al Sharpton are among the many who have ensured that Richard Pryor’s legacy lives on by asking KFC to stop abusing chickens. And many more—including Tyra Banks, Tony and October Gonzalez, John Salley, Nia Long, Gilbert Arenas and Amar’e Stoudamaire—have worked with PETA in campaigns to stop the exploitation of animals. Join us this month in honoring these generous and compassionate black men and women.
Written by Logan Scherer