Jessica Johnson Shelton ’11
Chief Legislative Officer, Animal Protection of New Mexico
Our nation has long wrestled with acknowledging and holding ourselves accountable for all the ways in which the powerful abuse the vulnerable. Through my work, I can tackle a small piece of an enormous task: fighting for the rights of ALL living beings—all humans, and all nonhumans—to simply “be okay”… to live on their own terms, be treated fairly, and be free from cruelty and exploitation. It is a ubiquitous and unwieldy challenge, but that greater goal is what drives me—and the fulfillment that comes with the ability to strategically apply my legal and analytical skills to the focused area in which I work (animal protection policy in the state of New Mexico) is what refuels me every day. Small victories change lives. People in positions of power are morally responsible for advocating for the victims of injustice, and that’s never felt truer to me than today.