Working hard to overcome the many challenges of growing up in a poor and violent Brooklyn neighborhood, Eddie Lama developed a deep sense of identification with the vulnerable and voiceless beings of our world. In one of the most moving sections of The Witness, he describes the harrowing experience of being beaten and left for dead, crying out for help and no one responding. Eddie then shares how this trauma helped him understand the plight of animals, who so often endure violence with no one to even witness their tragic fate, much less advocate on their behalf.
In 2001, the Peace Abbey gave Eddie their Courage of Conscience Award. Upon accepting it, he said, "In my lifetime I have been both the oppressor and the oppressed, both the fomenter of discord and the advocate for peace, both the perpetrator and the victim. But most significantly, I have been both the silence and the voice. It is the human voice that is the primary tool for change."
Eddie’s willingness to so openly share both the dark and the light of his own life has inspired many of those who have seen The Witness to follow his example, making a conscious decision to do all they can not to participate in the exploitation of others, be they “two-legged” or “four-legged.”