The Sistah Vegan Project

Author Archive

What Would Jesus Do? Easter Dinner and Lamb as Sites to Understand One’s Jesus, Compassion, and Consumption

Several things happened today, while I was walking with Kira Satya today, my five month old daughter. We were walking down Euclid St. in Berkeley, towards University of California, Berkeley. In the window of the convenience store at the corner of Ridge and Euclid, there was a poster up. I decided to take a photo of it:

image

I thought it would have been more effective to type in ‘them’ instead of ‘him’, if the poster is implying that Christ or Buddha have reincarnated and are alive amongst us today. I wondered what the question assumed. I wondered what most people assumed the answer to be. Would Christ or Buddha reincarnate into a human? If so, would the human be a ‘him’/man/male? What if they reincarnated into a non-human being, like a blade of grass or the lamb taken away from his or her mama to be eaten by some humans who are celebrating Jesus for Easter dinner?

Then again, I am asking these questions as someone who is not a practitioner of Christianity, but have been born and raised in a culture in which Christianity is the national norm. Since I can remember, I have been bombarded with images of “Easter”, which have included chicken eggs, chocolate treats (usually via child slavery from wonderful corporations like Hershey and Nestle), and lamb dinners. It wasn’t until I encountered the scholarship of critical animal studies and critical consumption studies that I stopped accepting these traditions as non-problematic.

While walking down Cedar street, at the intersection of Shattuck Ave, I passed by the new butcher shoppe, which teaches those who can afford it, how to butcher the non-human animals. It really seems to be a trendy practice amongst ‘hip’ Easy Basy/SF people, tauted as ‘sustainable’, ‘local’ and ‘more humane’ than non-human animals raised for consumption in standard industrial agricultural space. The shoppe had this sign up:

image

I am intrigued by the phenomenon of eating lamb for Easter dinner as a way to celebrate Jesus. I think of how in Christianity, the image of mother Mary holding baby Jesus is very sacred for millions. I also think of how that same type of sacredness is not afforded to the lamb and mother sheep who are torn apart to celebrate Easter. I invite people to discuss this with me, as well as my perception of what I find very contradictory to the construction of a Jesus that was supposedly all-loving and wanted to teach people how to alleviate and avoid perpetuating suffering and pain.

I also thought about Kira Satya and me and how it would be ‘insane’ for her to be taken from me to be eaten in order to celebrate the life of someone’s deity who supposedly embodied love and compassion.

The same can be said for the hundreds of thousands of Easter eggs that come out of the mass exploitation of chickens, whose babies are taken away from them. It’s amazing how here in the USA, these realities are made invisible to the plethora of children (and adults) who eagerly await celebrating Easter through the consumption of Easter eggs, lamb, as well as chocolate treats sourced from child slavery in the Ivory Coast.

What would Jesus do if they saw this sign hanging in front of the Butcher Shoppe? What would Buddha do?

These are hypothetical questions, as I know they are not going to have a ‘universal’ answer, but I’d like to start the conversation.

When ‘All you need is a good fuck’ doesn’t get you fired.

WARNING: May be triggering for those who are survivors of sexual assault and harassment.

This is a short message, but it’s been something on my mind this week and I’m not really sure why.

When I was attending Harvard as a grad student, my friend told me that at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard, there was a faculty and staff meeting. One of the few women in the department attended this meeting. She expressed her concern and complaints about something. One of the white male professors responded to her, “Maybe all you need is a good fuck.” He didn’t get in trouble. He didn’t lose his job. All though this happened about 8 years ago, I think about this story often and wonder why he did not get in trouble; I wonder how it made this woman feel. How unsafe she may have felt. It’s disgusting, but not surprising that this man did not get in serious trouble. I wonder if anyone in that room– any men– said anything to that sexually harassing man.

Just a quick post and thought.

(sigh)

Pineapple Mint Sorbetto: What is Your Favorite Vegan Ice Cream or Sorbet Place in East Bay/SF Bay California?

image

This morning we went to Almare Gelato in downtown Berkeley, CA on Shattuck Ave. They have freshly made gelato and sorbetto every day using natural ingredients. Today Luna (above in the photo, 2.5 years old), Kira (5 months), and Sun (5 years) had Pineapple Mint sorbetto and it was fantastic. They also had kiwi as well as strawberry sorbetto, but our favorite was the pineapple mint combination. There were even fresh mint leaves in the sorbetto, not the fake crap.

Almare Gelato’s sorbetto flavors are very rich and creamy. I have never experienced such creamy soft sorbetto in the USA. We had this type of sorbetto when we were in Italy (of course), so I’m pleasantly surprised that we have

image

                                (Sun and Luna)

access to similar experiences here in the East Bay area of California.

Do you live in the SF Bay/East Bay area? If so, what are your favorite vegan frozen dessert places?

Happy Kale Kids: How My Preschoolers Enjoy Their Greens

Luna and Sun devour kale in every form. Today they devoured a bag of Alive and Radiant Foods Quite Cheezy kale flavored snacks. Raw, organic, and yummy snacks at the playground. They were on sale for $3.50 as opposed to $6. I usually like making my own kale chips because of such high cost, but today I treated them. I recommend trying this on finicky little eaters.

image

image

A Vegan Driving a Hummer vs. Omnivore driving a Prius: The Writing’s on the Wall

image

Check out the photo above. I took this photo on March 15, 2014, just before I gave a talk at UC Berkeley for their Activists at the Table conference. This was on the stall wall of a bathroom. Perfect timing. I won’t analyze too much. Instead , I will leave it up to you to read and comment.

[Video] Scars of Suffering and Healing: A Black Feminist Perspective on Intersections of Oppression

This is the talk I gave at the Activist’s Table Conference, which took place at UC Berkeley on March 15, 2014. It was sponsored by the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition. I talk about Sistah Vegan and also read from and analyze my newest book, Scars, a social fiction that intersects issues of racism, internalized homophobia, and speciesism to name a few. This is my first public presentation of my new book and reading excerpts from the much anticipated novel.

In addition, check out the graffiti on the wall of the bathroom stall that was right down the hall from where I gave my talk. Perfect timing!

image

Angela Davis on a revolutionary perspective

Dr. A. Breeze Harper:

Angela Davis on veganism, nonhuman animal cruelty, and commodities in a capitalist culture

Originally posted on KVARM:

I wonder why Hochschartner didn’t link the transcript from the 27th Empowering Women of Color Conference in his article which is basically a series of quotes from Angela Davis. Oddly he linked the wrong blog when quoting Dr.Davis again from a blogpost with video A. Breeze Harper uploaded . Hochschartner is a rubbish writer and uses ‘blind’ as a slur, but what to do, the existing talk and Q&A are getting more attention just because he writes for money, or something. Is there a bias that perhaps gets put on hold from reading a non-vegan publication or one that has a version that costs money? Here are the quotes (not a rehash of his article) from “On Revolution: A Conversation Between Grace Lee Boggs and Angela Davis”, part of the 27th Empowering Women of Color Conference, ‘A Holistic Approach: Justice, Access and Healing’ .

“I usually don’t mention that I’m…

View original 492 more words

How I Got to the Podium: Ivy League Vegan Conference, Breastfeeding in Public, and Being Professional

This past weekend I gave the keynote talk at the Princeton University hosted Ivy League Vegan Conference. My talk was titled Oppositional Bodies of Knowledge: Black Feminist Perspective on Race, Gender and Embodiment in Vegan Politics. Here are my thoughts and the recorded talk.

and

Below are the notes I wanted to use to start an interactive dialogue around [invisible] whiteness. However, I didn’t get a chance to do that but wanted to share the notes with you anyway. These notes are the vegan oriented version of Peggy McKinstosh’s famous essay about white privilege (Also, for more thoughts on this, look at Emptying the White Knapsack that was just posted.). Let’s use these tools to continue the conversation, okay?

Unpacking

Oppositional Bodies of Knowledge: Race, Gender, and Embodiment in Veganism

I will be giving the keynote address for the Ivy League Vegan Conference this weekend, in Princeton, NJ on Feb. 8, 2014 at Princeton University. My talk is titled: Oppositional Bodies of Knowledge: A Black Feminist Perspective on Race, Gender, and Embodiment in Vegan Politics. it is from 230pm to 4pm.

image

I am very honored to be speaking at this event about these topics. When I first started The Sistah Vegan Project and anthology in 2005, the idea was not well received by the mainstream. I received comments and rants about how race, whiteness, and power had nothing to do with veganism or animal liberation work. My inquiries were seen as pointless and even racist (because apparently interrogating the phenomenon of racial dynamics through social science training is ‘racist’ [shaking my head]). However, I stuck to my scholarly research and got the Deans award for my Masters thesis work at Harvard. Six years later, I graduated summa cum laude from UC Davis with a PhD in intersections of critical race and critical food geographies. My dissertation pushed the envelope further about racial power dynamics and whiteness within the landscape of veganism , during a global era of racial neoliberalism .  I am honored as well as looking forward to returning to my old stomping ground of Princeton, where I lived from 1998 to 1999.

Go here to learn more about the conference, speakers, and more.

Sometimes I feel I’m being punished for daring to have children

Sun (4), Eva Luna (2), and Kira Satya (12 weeks).

Sun (4), Eva Luna (2), and Kira Satya (12 weeks), in the stroller yesterday while we took a snack break, walking to the playground.

Here is a snippet from my journal entry from yesterday. Just a moment of frustration I’d like to share.

After walking up a hill from Totland playground for 75 minutes, I get to the 65 AC Transit bus stop with my stroller [, at Cragmont and Euclid]. My 2 preschoolers are in the double stroller and I have my 2 month old attached to me in the ergo carrier. The bus pulls up 3 minutes later, the door opens, 7 people exit from the bus. The driver looks at me and the stroller and says, “I don’t have room for you. Sorry,” then closes the door and drives away. Am just amazed that the people sitting where the stroller would go can’t move they asses and make room for me and my kids. Yea, the bus had a lot of people in it, but room COULD HAVE BEEN MADE. I would have and do make room for similar situations. But no, just sit on your asses and stare at us from out of the window; don’t stick up for me or tell the bus driver that some of you can MAKE ROOM. Oh Berkeley, if not here, then where?

Once again, feeling punished for daring to have children. 

The next bus wouldn’t come for another 35 minutes. I think that the bus could have fit us. It was not packed; especially since about 7 people had exited the bus. I am sure the bus driver isn’t a horrible or bad person, but I’m wondering how or why this can happen. Maybe he was just having a bad day? Perhaps he felt stressed and needed to ‘be on schedule.’ I jsut don’t know.

In terms of the folk who just ‘stare’ when they could be doing something to remedy a problem….Berkeley is supposed to be this progressive and social-justice oriented region of the USA, but there are many moments like these in which I feel like something is amiss. I have had several challenges with taking public transportation while with my children who were in our double stroller.

Does anyone else have experiences like this with public transportation, or is it really just me?

Post Navigation

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,590 other followers