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Kinship Circle executive director Brenda Shoss (lt) introduces Grassroots Activist recipient Kate Danaher before hundreds at AR2011. In 2006, Brenda won the prestigious Grassroots Activist of the Year award. Photo: (c) Kinship Circle

(lt to rt) Kinship Circle's Kate Danaher, Social Media Director, Cheri Deatsch, Disaster Field Response Manager, and Brenda Shoss, Executive Director, kneel with Brenda's puppy mill rescues Ethel, Mandy (lhasa apsos) and Liberty (beagle). They are in front of Kinship Circle's AR2011 exhibit. Photo: (c) Kinship Circle

JULY 23, 2011
Living vegan brings me my greatest joy because what we do to animals brings me my greatest sorrow. — Kate's first statement when accepting her award.

Kinship Circle director Brenda Shoss introduced Grassroots Activist of the Year Kate Danaher at National Animal Rights Conference AR2011 in Los Angeles. Here are notes from her speech.

HOW KATE AND I MET: It's 2005. Hurricane Katrina has smashed New Orleans, along with more of Louisiana, Mississippi. Tens to hundreds of thousands of animals are stranded. CHAOS.

A large national organization is about to leave Louisiana's state designated shelter, Lamar Dixon in Gonzales. Animals are still trapped inside homes. People search for their lost companions. I am on the phone with Jane Garrison. ANIMAL RESCUE NEW ORLEANS (ARNO) will soon form — a group that helped Katrina animals through 2006 — and then organized a local chapter that still operates today.

But then I can't find Jane, who was last heard from inside a command trailer outside Lamar Dixon! This woman calls me. I vaguely recognize her name as another founding coordinator for ARNO… She calls from a Florida hotel. We talk for maybe 3 hours? I immediately like her because she seriously laughs at all of my jokes.

For the next couple years we speak daily…to coordinate the most complex animal response in modern history. She is resourceful and driven. Incapable of ignoring any animal's pain.

So, I could tell you that in 1989 she volunteered for The Fund For Animals, went spontaneously vegetarian, and organized a poetry reading for animals.

Or that from 1989-1992 she rescued cats and pigeons from San Francisco streets to spay-neuter-release or adopt as possible.

Or that she's a regular at AR protests, writes innumerable letters to fight cruelty, and uses her professional event skills to fundraise for animal causes.

And that she keeps yearly vigil with two primates in NIH laboratories, to hold universities accountable for their primate experiments.

But that wouldn't really give you the full intensity of this woman's commitment to animals. You have to see her action to believe it, which I've had the privilege to do in the trenches of Hurricane Katrina. Kate and I served as National Volunteer Co-Coordinators for ARNO, recruiting and processing hundreds of rescuers from the U.S. and Canada. She went to New Orleans herself, to do food/water drops and trap lost and abandoned animals.

In recent years, she joined my organization KINSHIP CIRCLE as a board member and took on the volunteer role of directing all Kinship Circle social media.

In 2002 she traveled to Entebbe, Uganda to volunteer at C.S.W.C.T. Chimpanzee Rescue Center — caring for baby chimps orphaned by the bush meat trade. Her compassion extends to humans too. She helped a Ugandan native get a U.S. visa, so he could intern at Jungle Friends primate sanctuary in Florida.

(2004-2005) She's submitted monthly animal rights videos for broadcast on Marin's Cable Access television station.

(2005) She's proposed an Animal Rights Radio Show with Karen Dawn, along with another to Working Assets President and Board of Directors that asked for animal rights organizations to be included as donation recipients.

(2004) She started an animal rights committee with Marin Peace & Justice Coalition — working cooperatively with human, animal and environmental groups to produce humane literature and exhibit at the Green Festival.

Along the way, she evolved from vegetarian to vegan, bringing a couple others from the Marin Peace and Justice Coalition with her. She can be very convincing.

Kate is gutsy. She crosses boundaries between causes. Even if other groups say "No" to her ideas, she has more brewing in the background.

She was the Marin County Coordinator for Prop 2, the California Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty ballot initiative to ban battery cages, veal and gestation crates. Personally, she gathered nearly 2,000 signatures. Collectively, she helped Marin County get over 21,000 signatures. As everyone knows, Prop 2 passed in the state of California.

In 2009 she created "SOMEONE, not something" tee shirts with the image of a cow. She organized Slaughterhouse Candlelight Vigils in Petaluma and Fulton, CA for World Farmed Animals Day.

(2010) She was a Cove Captain for Save Japan Dolphins Coalition — coordinating volunteers in her hometown of San Rafael, CA.

Most recently, she researched and coordinated information for Kinship Circle Disaster Animal Response Team, deployed in Japan for animal victims of the earthquake-tsunami-radiation crisis. This woman tracked down key people in Japan that even the Japanese could not find. She helped located some of 2,500 no-pet evacuation centers so we could bring supplies for evacuees' animals there. And she has never given up on the animals trapped and dying inside Fukushima's 20km radiation exclusion zone.

When she works, she cries. Japan's animals are not 6,000 miles away. They are starving in nuclear ghost towns, right in front of her.

Like the others in factory farms and research labs — they inhabit her office, her thoughts, her sleep and her prayers.

She is Kate Danaher. She is my friend, my colleague and an outstanding animal rights activist.

She doesn't think she deserves this award. Sorry Kate…now don't get mad at me, but this time: YOU ARE WRONG…Come up here and get your award!

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