Dignitaries call for bipartisan unity to save endangered species from extinction
WASHINGTON DC — Dignitaries of the Embassy of the Republic of Gabon are leading the third annual International March for Elephants on October 24 alongside New Jersey and Pennsylvania lawmakers united with bipartisan fellowship to save keystone species from extinction.
Species are disappearing. 35,000 wild elephants are slaughtered annually for their tusks, and elephants could face impending extinction in at least 10 years. Recent reports have shown that Tanzania has lost more than 60 percent of its elephant population in 5 years due to poaching, with many other nations struggling to protect elephants as well.
The march to unequivocally ban the commercial trade of ivory and protect endangered species worldwide kicks off at noon before the Lincoln Memorial and will proceed to Lafayette Park for a peaceful rally before the White House. Washington DC will join dozens of cities worldwide that are marching for endangered species this month as part of the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos.
His Excellency Michael Moussa-Adamo says, “There is no Africa or Gabon without elephants.”
Lawmakers will call for passing complete bans of ivory sales at the state level, as New Jersey did in 2014. New Jersey’s ban on ivory and rhino horn commerce was authored by freshman lawmaker Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), who will be delivering keynote and inspirational remarks at the White House rally. Governor Chris Christie signed the complete ban into law only 3 months after it was introduced by Senator Raymond Lesniak of Elizabeth. The moment marked this galvanizing movement to save elephants from extinction as a bipartisan one.
“In New Jersey we are proud to have played a role in ensuring the future prosperity of these keystone species, while contributing to strengthening national security and cutting into terrorist organizations’ profits,” explains Assemblyman Mukherji.
Also speaking at the rally will be Pennsylvania State Representative Madeleine Dean, who, along with State Representative Mike Vereb, is spearheading ongoing bipartisan efforts to ban ivory sales in Pennsylvania.
“The sale of ivory is an environmental problem that is not going to be solved by one person, or one party, or one country; it is an issue that we as a global community must come together to fix,” states Representative Dean, who serves the 153rd Legislative District of Pennsylvania.
The rally will feature additional inspirational speeches from artists and citizens calling for elephant protections and a musical performance by Pennsylvania-based singersongwriter John Beacher of his original song, “Elephant Call.”
“There is a citizen movement to ban ivory sales across this great nation, with action underway in 25 states to date,” says Jen Samuel, president and founder of Elephants DC. “On Saturday in Washington DC, we will show the nation’s capital and the world that Americans want to save elephants. One elephant dies every 15 minutes for a meaningless ivory trinket. Ivory is not art, and we must ban its sale unequivocally to protect this vital species from extinction.”
After gathering at the Lincoln Memorial at noon, the procession will proceed at approximately 12 p.m. from the Lincoln Memorial over the following route: north on Constitution Avenue to 15th Street; north on 15th Street to H Street; and then west on Pennsylvania Avenue to Lafayette Park for the 1 p.m. rally.
Following the march and rally, Elephants DC will celebrate at its reception and silent auction, WILD for Elephants, to be held at the Embassy of the Gabonese Republic in Washington, DC. At the event, Elephants DC will announce the details of its new partnership with a Gabonese field organization to protect the nation’s critically endangered forest elephants. The event is open to the public; tickets are $60 at the door.
FULL SPEAKER LINEUP
– Jen Samuel, Elephants DC president
– Billy Dodson, photographer
– Arizona student – Abigail Smith
– Professor Andrew Dobson, Princeton
– Poet Charles Ward
– Navy veteran Lucas Bean
– Virginia citizen – Don Lawrence
– Ohio citizen – Christina LaMonica
– Pennsylvania citizen – Ann Lewis
– Pennsylvania Representative Madeleine Dean
– Musician John Beacher: “The Elephant Call”
– Elephants DC end remarks
– Republic of Gabon – Rod Rembendambya; His Excellency Michael Moussa-Adamo
– New Jersey Assemblyman Raj Mukherji
His Excellency Michael Moussa-Adamo was appointed by the President of Gabon, His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba and presented his credentials as the new Ambassador of the Gabonese Republic to United States President Barack Obama on September 9, 2011. Ambassador Moussa-Adamo’s dedication to public service is evident following a two-decade career, including five years as a Congressman (Deputy) in the Gabonese National Assembly Parliament, where he served as Spokesman for the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense. Ambassador Moussa-Adamo is married and the father of six children, including three attending colleges in the United States. He is an avid reader and academic, maintaining a personal library of books on foreign affairs and cultures around the world.
Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, a prolific freshman New Jersey lawmaker, has brought a vibrant energy and keen intelligence to the New Jersey State Legislature and the plight to save elephants from extinction. Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, who is a 31-year-old lawyer who was previously a software CEO, Deputy Mayor of Jersey City, and Sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve, authored the ivory ban in the Assembly and campaigned eloquently for its passage until the end. For that and his other animal welfare legislation, he was named the Assembly’s sole “Humane Legislator of the Year” for 2015 by the Humane Society. His advocacy in championing ivory commerce prohibitions and wildlife conservation issues have taken him from the halls of Trenton to Washington, DC, and from Beijing to Nairobi. He returns to the International March for Elephants to advocate for a nationwide ban on ivory sales to protect our world’s remaining elephants.
State Representative Madeleine Dean was elected in 2012 to represent Pennsylvania’s 153rd Legislative District. She brings with her nearly three decades of experience as a lawyer, writer and teacher. Within her role as state representative, Madeleine sits on several important committees, including Appropriations, Judiciary, Policy, Ethics, and Finance, of which she is Vice-Chair. Before becoming a member of the General Assembly Madeleine served as Abington Township Commissioner, Ward 7. Madeleine and her husband, PJ Cunnane, live in Jenkintown, Abington Township and have three grown sons and one granddaughter. Representative Dean is the lead co-sponsor for bipartisan legislation banning all ivory sales in the state.
ABOUT ELEPHANTS DC
Elephants DC is dedicated to ending the ivory trade while advancing elephant wellbeing around the world. As an all-volunteer nonprofit, we support elephant conservation through advocacy, education, and field organization support to protect critical species from extinction. In 2016 Elephants DC is heading to Gabon to support the earth’s largest remaining population of forest elephants. For more information, visit http://www.elephantsdc.org and follow Elephants DC on Facebook.
For additional details on the March for Elephants, visit: www.facebook.com/events/1027323147283302/ and www.elephantsdc.org/thirdannual-international-march-for-elephants.html.
For information on the reception at the Embassy of Gabon visit: www.eventbrite.com/e/wild-for-elephants-tickets-17679481806.
For information on the global marches from San Francisco to Rome, visit: www.march4elephantsandrhinos.org.
For the National Geographic’s feature on the 2014 march in DC, visit: newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2014/10/05/on-the-march-in-washington-d-cfor-elephants-and-rhinos.
For last year’s press release on the 2014 march, visit: www.elephantsdc.org/2014- march-press-release.html.
For more on the spark that became a movement for elephants, visit: www.iWorry.org.