I just wanted to humbly celebrate the 5th year anniversary of Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society (Lantern Books 2010).
In the photo below, it was my first talk I gave about the book at Farm Sanctuary in Orland, CA. I talked about whiteness. I cannot believe it’s been 5 years since it was published. I was doing a book signing with my son on my lap. He was 13 months old in 2010.
And my Sun isn’t a baby anymore. He’s 6, but still sits on my lap.
Take time to watch the video from Farm Sanctuary and let me know if you think there has been progress or not over the past 5 years when it comes the mainstream AR and vegan spaces actively trying to dismantle systems of racism, whiteness, and speciesism at the same time.
And I have been thinking a lot about Sandra Bland. Though not the same thing, when I was invited to speak in Orland CA I immediately checked and worried about if I would be entering sundown town territory (actually, I should called it terror-tory). And ’til this day, I still worry about where I will be speaking and have shared this many times with my fans– particularly when I go out to speak in predominantly white areas of the USA. Did you know my mom and dad worry like hell when I go out speaking about racism and whiteness as a Black woman in the USA? The other month when I was doing my Scars book tour talk, I lost my phone. A man found it and called my mom (she was on the contacts list as “Mom”). My dad emailed me immediately, saying someone had found my phone and that he was worried that someone had hurt or even killed me and the baby (I was traveling with her). Why? Because of the anger and rage the content of my talks illicit in many white people in the USA.
When I started talking to white fans of my work about my fears of sundown towns or why I wouldn’t go to certain places to discuss AR and race/whiteness, though “well-meaning”, they told me they didn’t understand why I would have that worry….
Well, over the past few years that more and more whites have learned about Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, the SC Charleston shootings, and now Sandra Bland– because of great organizing by mostly Black folk using many tools– especially social media…. DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHY I HAD THESE WORRIES?
And overall, those like Vegan Revolution who Tweeted their disgust about Black Lives Matter [more than cows and chickens], do you finally understand why I have been doing this work for years? I write this and have always written from a place of compassion, honesty, and love but I need to honestly know…
…Would it take me being killed by a racist cop (or non cop) while traveling to a vegan oriented event for you to make the connection and start doing something about it? Remember, apology and pity are not enough.
I certainly hope not…and I certainly hope it doesn’t take one more killing for you, who still doubt this reality, to do something about it.
Here is a quick cheat sheet on understanding what it is that I do when I talk about being a critical race feminist navigating through the supposed ‘post-racial’ ethical foodscape in the USA. It will explain, once again, the importance of ‘critical race’ analysis in terms of systems and even why the law (i.e., “but isn’t racism illegal?”) doesn’t work for us.
Like what the Sistah Vegan Project Does? Donate and/or Find out about our upcoming projects and books. Also, download the Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matters spring 2015 conference recordings by clicking on the image below :