In June 2014, professionals from thirteen organizations, including those in adult protective services, domestic violence, animal protection, veterinary medicine, public health, social work, mental health, substance abuse, academia, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, met in Oklahoma City to form the first Link Coalition in Oklahoma. The Link refers to the connection between animal cruelty, domestic violence, elder abuse, child abuse, and other forms of interpersonal violence. Once viewed by law enforcement as a tangential concern better left to animal welfare organization, animal cruelty is now becoming recognized as part of a larger network of violence and crime including domestic violence, child abuse, drug trafficking, gambling, illegal firearms possession, rape, and murder. Based on the galvanizing mission of the National Link Coalition, the Oklahoma Link Coalition was founded to provide a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to these issues. Since that initial meeting, the Coalition has grown and evolved. Membership now includes representatives from over 70 organizations, united in the goal of making Oklahoma safer for both humans and animals. The Coalition meets quarterly, typically in Oklahoma City, although outreach to other parts of the state is a major goal.
From June 2014 to June 2020, Kirkpatrick Foundation was the financial supporter of the Oklahoma Link Coalition. During that time, the organization grew dramatically in number of members, saw the appointment of its first coordinator, Kathleen Romero, and held the first Oklahoma Link Coalition conference, Intersection, on November 7, 2017. As part of its thirty-year Safe and Humane initiative to make Oklahoma the most safe and humane place to be an animal, Kirkpatrick Foundation believes in the Oklahoma Link Coalition’s mission created by the early members of the group to promote “collaboration, cooperation, public awareness, and education to end violence against people and animals by recognizing the link between humans and animal abuse.” The foundation is proud to have formed the Oklahoma Link Coalition and supported it through the first years.
JOIN the COALITION
Does this mission speak strongly to you? Do you see evidence of The Link every day in your work and want to spread awareness so these issues can be addressed before they escalate? Join the Coalition today! It's completely free, and the only commitment required is to receive a newsletter with information about The Link, upcoming events and meetings, and opportunities to get more involved. Learn more about joining and its benefits here!
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Mahatma Gandhi