years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
Moving events and enthusiastic supporters combine for a successful tour
Jill, Alice, Kathy Schiller, Morgan.
Jill, Susan Hechinger, Marie Feldman.
Laura Godwin, Alice, Jill, Ed Young.
Last year, the tragic Sichuan earthquake kept Jill from her scheduled Roadshow across the US. Compelled to stay and help the earthquake victims, Jill ached with the knowledge that she would miss the opportunity to meet with supporters across the states. What she didn't foresee was their unyielding support, evident as they came out in droves when US Director Alice Ng went to present on her behalf.
This year, Alice happily joined Jill on a coast to coast tour and supporters welcomed Jill back with great enthusiasm. Reporting back on the event in Alice's words:
As I flew into Washington, DC on Halloween night, my stomach was filled with wild anticipation for our first event. Our 10-day tour across the US began with high tea at the Four Seasons Hotel! Hosted by our long-time supporter Susan Hechinger, with ABC News correspondent Ann Compton as the mistress of ceremonies, the afternoon tea far exceeded our expectations and launched the Roadshow on an unbelievable high that would sustain us throughout the rest of the tour.
After heartfelt farewells to Susan and her family, we hopped along the northeast, first to Boston for a talk at Tufts University and then on to New York City for meetings at Henry Holt Publishing. Laura Godwin, Vice President and Publisher at Henry Holt, had initiated the production of a very special children's book on Moon bears and recruited award winning artist, Ed Young, to create the artwork. Moved by the plight of the moon bears, Ed used his childhood toy, a small wooden carving of a bear, to see him through this project. This bear is over 100 years old and was a gift from his mother when they lived in Shanghai. At the end of the meeting, gentle Ed presented the bear carving as a gift to Animals Asia with hopes that it would find its way back to China. The gesture left us quite emotional, and Jill immediately invited him to the sanctuary to visit his bear.
We left the following morning on a flight to Los Angeles where Sofia Meyen organized our first west-coast event. Sofia had heard there weren't any public events for Jill in the LA area and put her personal life on hold and quickly pulled together a wonderful dinner for Jill at the fabulous Automobile Driving Museum! Following that event, Kathy and Larry Schiller held a private event at their lovely home and recruited popular artist, Mr. Brainwash, to paint a special piece to benefit Animals Asia.
We then traveled up to San Francisco for a three-day conference on bears hosted by BIERZS (Bear Information Exchange for Rehabilitators, Zoos and Sanctuaries). Each evening, after a day at the conference, Jill would travel to various corners of the Bay Area for exciting special events. The first was "Dancing for the Bears", hosted by sassy Doree Clark of Stagedor Studios in Sausalito. She, along with the Animals Asia supporters from our Marin Chapter, pulled together an incredible evening of live music, performances, dancing lessons and a silent auction! Animals Asia's Veterinary Director, Heather and Senior Bear Manager, Nic, also in town for the conference, also joined the festivities.
Our own Laura Hoover organized a lovely gathering in Sausalito, where we honored our major donors in a private setting with Jill. Other supporters joined us for a dinner presentation at the Shangri-La in San Francisco hosted by the San Francisco Vegetarian Society and organized by Nancy Loewen. This completely sold-out event saw some of our most dedicated supporters who have been with Animals Asia for years. Nancy not only organized this dinner, but also came to Jill's last talk in San Francisco at the Northern California Asia Society called “Healing without Harm”. This groundbreaking event was a joint lecture with Jill and the President of the American College of Traditional Medicine, Mrs. Lixin Huang. The lively talk covered how the use of endangered species products, particularly bear bile, was not wanted or needed in traditional medicine today.
For our final event, Jill, Morgan and I traveled back to Los Angeles for a private dinner hosted by Lord Alexander Rufus-Isaacs and his lovely wife Monica Ludlow. Moved by Jill’s talk, guests immediately began to brainstorm on how to help Animals Asia in the LA area. And before I knew it, the 10 days had come to an end. Soon after this presentation, Morgan and I dropped Jill off at the LAX airport and bid her safe travels back to China.
I must admit, I was a bit weepy when Jill walked through those airport doors. The Roadshow was the culmination of months of work for us and our supporters. The 10 days of travel had us meeting some of the most selfless people I’ve ever known, individuals who sacrificed their personal time and resources to give so generously to us. For this to come to a sudden end had me feeling a little forlorn.
This year's Roadshow was blessed with guardian angels. Wonderful supporters who pour their hearts into making our work a little easier. Every day, our angles watch over us. They give life to our bears at the sanctuaries and offer hope to the cats and dogs that continue to wait for change. Jill touches people, and they are stirred into action because of her. To have witnessed this was incredible and I feel honored to have been a part of it.