oriented: Isla Roona.
Photo by John Whipple.
of the Spirit
activist Isla Roona was awarded the Go On And Live! award
Oct. 24 at a luncheon ceremony in New York City. Roona was
just one of 10 recipients nationally to receive the honor.
The G.O.A.L.! award is bestowed on those who have demonstrated
their ability to succeed, through volunteer work and community
service, despite the crippling effects of depression.
am 36 years of age and this is the first time that I have
been willing to speak about such issues publicly,” said Roona.
“I am doing this because I am committed to serving the needs
of others that have been victims of crime and abuse, particularly
sexual abuse, which remains a hidden problem in many communities.”
Roona said she began suffering from depression as a teenager
after she was the victim of repeated sexual abuse that started
at the age of 11. At 18, her misery began to interfere with
her ability to function, and she soon found it hard to remain
in school. She dropped out of college and moved to New York
City to start anew, only to face a severe traumatic setback
when she was attacked and raped at gunpoint. For years thereafter,
she struggled to overcome her painful symptoms. She had trouble
holding jobs, and became temporarily homeless.
When Roona met her husband-to-be in 1991, her life began to
take a turn for the better. With his support, she said she
was able to go back to school, complete her degree in social
work, and graduate with honors.
Roona has since been trying to use her experience to help
others and has poured her energy into Albany Restorative Justice,
a program where the victim and offender sit down face-to-face
and work out an alternative sentence to repair the damage
done by the crime. In addition, Restorative Justice has organized
healing circles for communities of victims and their families
after a violent crime has been committed. Roona has also supported
communal projects in the inner city, such as creating gardens
and painting large murals that depict personal and communal
work and finding a strong spiritual foundation has been what
has helped me get through my depression,” said Roona. “Most
important is the spiritual component. I now feel that I am
at a point where I really have that. I am honored to have
won the G.O.A.L.! Award because it represents how far I’ve
come since my depression and how my recovery has benefited
The G.O.A.L.! Award is given by the Points of Light Foundation.
It is an extension of a national depression awareness campaign
that was launched last April by actress Delta Burke.
it possible that the state Department of Environmental Conservation
recommends that people drown pesky wildlife as a way of getting
rid of the unwanted visitors? According to a recorded telephone
conversation between an undercover investigator for the People
for the Ethical Treatment for Animals and a state wildlife
official, the answer is yes.
At a press conference held last Thursday, PETA released a
taped conversation in which Doug Little, a biologist working
for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
at Stony Brook, Long Island, told a PETA representative, who
was posing as a concerned citizen having trouble with a stray
cat, to capture the animal in a garbage bag and hold it under
water for several minutes.
Stephanie Boyles, a wildlife biologist for PETA, said that
the practice is illegal under the New York state anti-cruelty
terror experienced by animals—whether cats or raccoons—trapped
and submerged in water is unimaginable,” said Boyles, “No
government agency should be endorsing such needless cruelty
in this, the 21st century. We are asking the DEC and Gov.
George Pataki to act immediately to stop this barbaric behavior.”
Jennifer Post, spokeswoman for the DEC, said that her organization
does not oversee cats but rather wildlife, which include mice,
rats, raccoons and rabbits. Therefore, she said, Little was
wrong to suggest such a method to dispose of the animal. She
explained that at the DEC’s regional office there is a brochure
that makes suggestions, including drowning, for disposing
of animals caught in live traps. However, she adds that the
DEC is in the process of rewriting these guidelines to exclude
such a method.
person who suggested this has been reprimanded.” said Post.
“We do not advocate the drowning of cats.”
The DEC admitted it was wrong and has agreed to draft a policy
that forbids NYDEC representatives from promoting drowning
and other lethal methods for controlling wildlife. Boyles
said that a new policy, which will be distributed to environmental
agency staffers throughout New York once it’s completed, will
encourage people to keep garbage containers covered and seal
crevices in houses to deter wildlife. If these methods fail,
the policy will suggest that people contact animal control
to handle the problem.
DEC can’t give back the lives that ended in panic and horror,”
said Boyles. “But we are very pleased that the agency is taking
steps to prevent future cruelty.”