Leadership, Diversity, and the “Cruelty-Free” Conundrum

Date: September 10, 2019

Time:  10am-2pm PST

Description
Animal-free food alternatives are on the rise in the USA, ranging from veggie burgers, to cashew milk yogurts, to vegan D3 supplements. These products have been marketed as “cruelty-free”, conveying the narrative that non-human animals have not suffered, been harmed, or killed. However, underneath this narrative is often this uncomfortable reality: Company/organization leadership can be dedicated to alleviating animal suffering through “cruelty-free” products within a workplace climate in which marginalized human employees suffer from a lack of inclusive practices for racial and gender equity. This is a common conundrum that can have consequences on employee retention, recruitment, growth, and broader market outreach to name a few.

Join national speaker, strategic consultant, and groundbreaking author Dr. A. Breeze Harper for a leadership training to upgrade your professional diversity toolkit within the plant-based food world. Some questions to be addressed:

  1. How do racial power dynamics affect plant-based food businesses and organizations?
  2. How do race, gender, and socio-economic class affect marketing and outreach?
  3. How can plant-based food businesses and organizations recruit and retain an inclusive employee base with racial equity in mind?
  4. Why is labeling a product “cruelty-free” not enough to ensure workplace diversity, inclusion, equity and better social impact for animals and human beings?

Record Breaking News: Youngest Person to Summit Mt. Shasta is 7 year old Eva Luna Harper-Zahn #BlackGirlMagic #GirlPower

Record Breaking News:

My daughter, Eva Luna Harper-Zahn (age 7) is the youngest girl in history to make it to the summit of 14,180′ tall Mount Shasta, together with her brother Sun (age 10). Shasta is not an easy feat for even the fittest of adults. Our daughter and son are amazing!

Last year Eva Luna became the youngest girl to summit Mt. Whitney – the highest mountain in the contiguous US – at the age of 6. She wanted to set out for another goal for 2019 that would be more challenging, so…

This year (2019), her goal was to break the age record for summiting Mt. Shasta, previously held by a 9-year old boy. Shasta is more challenging than Mt. Whitney because its steeper slopes are covered in ice and snow. With her older brother Sun (10 years of age) and papa, Dr. Oliver Zahn, this past 4th of July weekend (2019) at the age of 7, she achieved her dream of reaching the summit.

A sport dominated by mostly men, Eva Luna is determined to carve out space for girls and kids of color within extreme outdoor sports like mountaineering (she is a rock climber as well).

It took them 3 attempts over the last 6 weeks to get to the summit of Mt. Shasta. I (her mama) went with Luna, Sun and my husband as the lead (and one who planned everything for months) the first time in June 2019. We made it to Horse Camp, pitched a tent, but then realized the next morning that the conditions and timing were not good enough to continue to Helen Lake and then summit (photo of me with her is below) so we didn’t do it.

Eva Luna Harper-Zahn and Dr. Amie “Breeze” Harper

The second attempt was with my husband (her papa) and her big brother. They made it to Helen Lake camp, started the ascent, but turned back due to 50 mph winds.

But on July 4, number three was the sweet number to achieve the goal.

After 7 hours of backpacking up, on July 3, they got to base camp of Lake Helen before 8pm, set up, ate dinner, went to sleep, and woke up at 2am, July 4, to start the ascent with headlamps, crampons, helmets and ice axes for emergency self arrest.

I think I need to emphasize that they first had to hike up the mountain to base camp for 7 hours. You can’t drive there! That means you hike up your camping gear, food, etc for 7 hours in very thin air. 7 hours just to make it to base camp and STILL, once you get there, set up, and rest, you have about 6-9 hours of technical steep ascent on ice ahead of you to the summit. This is not hiking but mountaineering – you need crampons for proper traction, a helmet for rock fall, and know how to use an ice axe to self arrest.

And she persisted…

Becoming tired, about 4 hours into their ascent to the summit, Eva Luna needed a break. After taking an hour long nap on her papa’s lap, Eva Luna was re-energized to make it to the summit and finally made it, late in the morning with her brother and father.

Congrats Eva Luna, Sun, and my husband Oliver for making it to the top (photos of the journey below). Oliver planned everything for months. An expert mountaineer, he knew exactly what to do and how to train the children. He is the epitome of super duper Dad who inspires the children to go for their dreams and passion…but with caution and non-arrogance. The key is to not think one can conquer anything (which is the common rhetoric in extreme outdoor sports) , but to learn more about yourself, the journey, and humility within the power and beauty of nature.

Eva Luna Harper-Zahn and Dr. Oliver Zahn

Missed Eva Luna’s record breaker for 2018 when she was 6 and summited Mt. Whitney Here is the video recap:

Eva Luna and Sun want to inspire others with their story! If news outlets are interested, let us know.

Sun Harper-Zahn and Eva Luna Harper-Zahn (July 2019, Mt. Shasta)

Black Feminist Runner: Tackling Hills With Hemp Seeds and Nursing on Demand

One of my deepest passions are intense hill running. I absolutely love it.

Dr. A. Breeze Harper, Tassajara Zen Center, California 2019

I was thinking of actually writing my next book and titling it, Black Feminist Hill Runner because I literally get my best ideas during my “runner’s high”.
Running hills keeps me “more sane” because of the intensely stressful work I do (antiracism and Black feminism) coupled with the triple work day of raising 4 young children.
My head explodes with ideas as I run up and up for 30 minutes.
One of my favorite things I love to do is to create absolutely superior plant-based nutrition for my specific needs.
I realize that despite a pretty demanding day, I have optimal endurance to run intense workout and I actually don’t get tired while running up the hills. The only reason I have to turn back around after 30 minutes is that I can only be away for about an hour total because I need to get back home to the kids.

Four Silly Harper-Zahn kids.

Some folks have asked me about my muscle tone and glowing skin. I have to admit that it could be genetic or it could be my diet and exercise. I don’t want to say that a plant-based diet will yield glowing skin or optimal performance. But, it’s probably a significant factor. Below is simply what I do and I’m guessing it does impact my exercises and skin health, but I don’t know to what degree genes play into that.

Also, folk ask me how it’s possible for me to have so much energy and endurance, stay fit within what applies to my needs (as everyone’s definition and goals of ‘fitness’ are subjective and tailored to their own needs), while nursing non-stop for the last 10 years and raising/running after 4 kids while doing my professional work. Anyway, here are the habits I engage in, below, that I do for my hill running that have been shown to create better muscle tone and healthier skin:

Phone of Dr. Harper in her home, holding a bag of herbs.
  1. No coffee. No Black tea. I do not and have never consumed hot caffeinated beverages to wake me up in the morning. I realized that what I need is a nutritional regimen that is holistic and will help me with stamina, endurance, and mental acuity without sugar and caffeine. I discovered Siberian Ginseng (aka Eleuthero root) and Ginkgo are excellent!. I take them in the morning and swear by it, either as a hot tea or I put the herbs in my smoothies.
  2. Spirulina and Chlorella. Spirulina is a salt water algae. Chlorella is a fresh water one. I take 1 tsp of each per day, usually mixing it in my plant-based smoothie. Full of vitamins and minerals, combining them is like a builder and a detoxifier together.
  3. Raw hemp seed hearts for protein. I do 3/4cup to 1 cup per day, blended in a smoothie. High in protein and omega 3, 6, 9, this is my pure awesome PROTEIN source that is easily digestible. It is high in magnesium which is great for workouts and recovery, along with plethora of other minerals like Zinc. Great for skin health. I use Manitoba or Nutiva.
  4. Fresh ginger root and turmeric. I throw a lot of fresh ginger into my raw smoothies in the morning as well. Gives me energy and jumpstarts my stomach and intestines. It’s naturally anti-inflammatory and an immune system builder. I take ginger along with fresh or organic turmeric powder, which is highly anti-inflammatory too and great for those who are trying to avoid inflammation in joints when running. I use high Curcumin Turmeric by Anthony’s. I buy the ginger root fresh.
  5. No fast carbs in the morning for breakfast, like white bread, sugary cereals, etc. My breakfasts are usually raw plant-based smoothies, with a little fruit like organic mango or grapefruit added.
  6. Dates. Low glycemic index and a great boost of energy, I put a date in my smoothie , or I will eat one before I go running.
  7. Fresh Peppermint or spearmint. I throw in copious amounts of mint into my smoothies in the morning as well.
  8. Vitamin D3 (vegan). I take 5000 IU of plant based Vitamin D3 per day. Country Life is the company I use. I have been doing this for about 3.5 years now , as before, I had no idea that I wasn’t getting enough—- especially as a Black person with more melanin then lighter skinned folk. Great for bone health and immunity.
  9. Lypospheric Vitamin C, 1000mg a day. Before I put any food or drinks in my tummy in the morning, I take Lypospheric Vitamin C on an empty stomach with about 4 ounces of water. It is highly absorbable and better than standard Vitamin C supplements on the market in which the body hardly absorbd the C. Wait 15 minutes before you eat, after taking it! This form of C rebuilds my body and adds a glow to my skin as well as boosts my body’s ability to repair damage. It is great for skin health and creating that ‘glow’.
  10. Water, water, water, with electrolytes. I rarely drink anything else. I drink at least a 1/2 gallon of water per day mixed with electrolytes. My favorite is TraceMinerals brand. Regular water while running won’t do. This also helps me prevent leg cramping and is high in magnesium. I hydrate a lot since I’ve been nursing for 10 years non-stop. You may not need 1/2 gallon a day.
  11. Castor oil, shea butter, and tea tree oil soap. Though not something I eat, after I go running, I shower and use Dr. Bronner’s Tea tree oil soap for my hair and body. After showering, I apply castor oil mixed with shea butter (I buy both in bulk) on my face and body which help with the glow and making my skin more supple. I notice that this works well AFTER I have workout out that day and SWEATED a lot. I also put the same thing in my hair. People have asked me about my hair “glowing” and looking healthy. Well, even though I do eat herbs and foods that help that, I like to apply castor oil and shea butter for that ‘outer glow’ and hair strength. I have received a lot of compliments on my French braids because of the ‘luster’ it has, along with my skin health. The secret topical cosmetic really is castor oil, which is REALLY cheap.

I also cannot emphasize enough that I have been nursing nonstop for 10+ years which can put a lot of stress on the body if you aren’t putting in what is coming out. Doing hill running while still nursing is a lot and so far, my bone density and health are excellent. Many nursing people can lose valuable minerals and vitamins while nursing and don’t know how to replace them. It is vital you know how to exercise and eat in a way that replenishes your body while creating optimal breastmilk for your baby/toddler.

So, that is my hill running hack recipe/regimen. With it, I notice that I repair and recover quicker when I abide by these 11 rules above. I’m never constipated, I rarely feel bloated or my system “sluggish”. I did a similar regimen for my last few pregnancies and all my babies were 9-10lb, vaginal births, full term. I know each body is different and you can plan as well as you can, nutritionally, and it may not guarantee these particular outcomes.

Photo of Dr. Harper with french braids, wearing a halter dress for her 43rd birthday in 2019.
Dr. Harper celebrating her 43rd birthday in 2019

However, I just wanted to share this with you since I get a lot of people asking me this, mainly because of the misconception that one cannot have given birth to 4 children, be over 40, and continue to engage in intense workouts without being ‘exhausted’. For me, it has been possible and I think I personally owe it to this personal journey I have had with nutrition and the fitness program that is right for me.

Pregnant? Check out this webinar below:

Take me to the pregnancy webinar! (Click here)

Have fun discovering what fitness programs and plant-based nutrition work best for your needs.


ABOUT DR. A. BREEZE HARPER

Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a senior diversity and inclusion strategist for Critical Diversity Solutionsa seasoned speaker, and author of books and articles related to critical race feminism, intersectional anti-racism, and ethical consumption. As a writer, she is best know for as the creator and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men use hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies. In 2016, she collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the backgrounder Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked off FoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system

Dr. Harper is the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project which has put on several ground-breaking conferences with emphasis on intersection of racialized consciousness, anti-racism, and ethical consumption (i.e., veganism, animal rights, Fair Trade). Last year she organized the highly successful conference The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter which can be downloaded.

Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. Her current 2016 lecture circuit focuses on excerpts from her latest book in progress, Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist’s Journey Through ‘Post-Racial’ Ethical Foodscape which will be released in 2017, along with the second Sistah Vegan project anthology The Praxis of Justice in an Era of Black Lives MatterIn tandem with these book projects, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”

In the spring of 2016, Dr. Harper was nominated as the Vice Presidential nominee for the Humane Party— the only vegan political party in the USA with focus on human and non-human animals.

How Systemic Racism and Anti-Blackness Affect Vegan Commodity Culture (Webinar 2)

This is a pre-recorded webinar you can download.





Description of Webinar

In January 2019, Dr. A. Breeze Harper gave a sold-out micro-workshop online titled, Lulu and the Lobster: How Systemic Racism and Anti-Blackness Affect Animal Advocacy Culture in the USA. Dr. Harper introduced concepts such as diversity & inclusion, racially hostile work climate, and systemic racism. She showed how such phenomenon operates in real life, exploring the dog sanctuary and veterinary work of a Black family living in California. Attendees left with introductory ways to create inclusive and equitable animal advocacy practices beyond cosmetic diversity.

In part 2 of this series, Corner Store Cigars and Artisanal Vegan Cheese, Dr. Harper tackled racial justice, anti-Blackness, diversity and inclusion through anti-racism pedagogies and vegan commodity culture (i.e., tofu, kale, vegan cookbooks, dairy-free cheese). Dr. Harper will help you upgrade your:

  • diversity and inclusion framework within vegan commodity culture.
  • engagement with vegan commodity culture for racial equity, non-human animal rights, and social impact.

Webinar Topics Covered Below in Mp4

  1. What is Anti-Black Racism? Individual, Institutional, and Cultural Levels
  2. Trayvon Martin, Commodities, and “Never Be Silent”: Uses and Misuses of Systemic Racism and Black Suffering For a Vegan Shopping Guide
  3. A Tale of Two Thugs: Thug Kitchen and What Tupac Can Teach Us About the Commodification of ‘Thug’ Life Through the White Vegan Imagination
  4. Michael Brown and What If it Had Been Kale and Not Cigars? How Certain [Vegan] Commodities Narrate Race and Justice
  5. Diane’s Story: Vegan Commodity Culture, Racial Power Dynamics, and Vegan Cheese (Workplace culture, diversity, and inclusion).
  6. CurlMix: Black Liberation, Vegan Cosmetics, and The Faith of a Flax Seed

Attendees need not have taken the first webinar to benefit from this event. 

Never taken a workshop or heard Dr. Harper speak? Check out one of her most powerful anti-racism and intersectional justice lectures, given at Whidbey Institute in 2016 (below). Check out her groundbreaking book Sistah Vegan: Black Females Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society.

ABOUT DR. A. BREEZE HARPER

Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a senior diversity and inclusion strategist for Critical Diversity Solutionsa seasoned speaker, and author of books and articles related to critical race feminism, intersectional anti-racism, and ethical consumption. As a writer, she is best know for as the creator and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men use hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies. In 2016, she collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the backgrounder Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked off FoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system

Dr. Harper is the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project which has put on several ground-breaking conferences with emphasis on intersection of racialized consciousness, anti-racism, and ethical consumption (i.e., veganism, animal rights, Fair Trade). Last year she organized the highly successful conference The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter which can be downloaded.

Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. Her current 2016 lecture circuit focuses on excerpts from her latest book in progress, Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist’s Journey Through ‘Post-Racial’ Ethical Foodscape which will be released in 2017, along with the second Sistah Vegan project anthology The Praxis of Justice in an Era of Black Lives MatterIn tandem with these book projects, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”

In the spring of 2016, Dr. Harper was nominated as the Vice Presidential nominee for the Humane Party— the only vegan political party in the USA with focus on human and non-human animals.

Black motherhood, vegan birthday cake, and nursing for over 10 years

Today (May 30) is my birthday. I have a birthday request for those who support my work…

I have been working on the book Black. Mama. Scholar. On Black Feminist Geography, [Vegan] Food Ethics, and Toddler Tantrums.

Dr. A. Breeze Harper on her birthday, May 30 2019. Vegan cakes made by her husband and kids.

Central to the book isn’t just my black feminist scholarship or even the work I have done with The Sistah Vegan Project. Central to the book is motherhood. Black motherhood and all its aspects *while* I engage in Black feminist scholarship, critical food studies, and ethical vegan philosophy.
I have written and spoken about about how much of struggle it is to do this work over the past 15 years– but, also over the past 10 years since bringing 4 lovely Harper-Zahn babies into this world, in a USA society in which women are the primary caretakers of children and work a double work day (though I argue TRIPLE because I have not slept well in about 10 years because children this young and close in ages mean you don’t really sleep through the night). LOL, for those of you with young kids you KNOW what I mean! You think my writing and lectures are badas* now? Wait until this sistah starts sleeping again and can function on more than 3 hours of sleep per day while a baby isn’t sucking 1000 calories out of her boobs each day! I’ll be on fi-yah! (And yes, I’ve been nursing nonstop for 10 years!)

The Sistah Vegan Project is a one woman show. I don’t have a salary or benefits. All I have is a passion and commitment to continue the legacy of Black radical thought leaders and activists, the legacy of those committed to ending suffering of human and non-human animals.

My birthday request? To gain continued support. You can see the list of options on how to support me here on this page: http://sistahvegan.com/supporting-the-sistah-vegan-project/

Thanks. I appreciate everyone’s support!

ABOUT DR. A. BREEZE HARPER

Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a senior diversity and inclusion strategist for Critical Diversity Solutionsa seasoned speaker, and author of books and articles related to critical race feminism, intersectional anti-racism, and ethical consumption. As a writer, she is best know for as the creator and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men use hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies. In 2016, she collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the backgrounder Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked off FoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system

Dr. Harper is the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project which has put on several ground-breaking conferences with emphasis on intersection of racialized consciousness, anti-racism, and ethical consumption (i.e., veganism, animal rights, Fair Trade). In 2015 year she organized the highly successful conference The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter which can be downloaded.

Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. In tandem with these book projects, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”

In the spring of 2016, Dr. Harper was nominated as the Vice Presidential nominee for the Humane Party— the only vegan political party in the USA with focus on human and non-human animals.

Dear “Woke” White People…

Dear “Woke” White Middle Class People in the SF Bay Area,

Stop sharing videos and photos with me (and other POCS) of Black and brown people being brutalized by the police without asking if it’s okay or even necessary to ‘share’ or tag us. Ask us first. Why? For many, it’s triggering and traumatizing. I don’t need to see Sandra Bland’s cell phone video. Sharing these moments with me is more like a performance of wokeness than anything else. This is not ‘woke’ Olympics, but you seem to be using these social media moments as a way to prove how awful systemic racism and anti Blackness are….

…. while you then collectively go right back to the lives you are living that have been built by 500+ years of systemic racism, white supremacy, and anti-Blackness without actually dismantling it. As a matter of fact, it appears that even if 10,000 new videos of Beckies calling the police on us or the police beating or shooting us showed up on Twitter one day, it would not change anything because fundamentally, white people from the entire spectrum (from left to right) collectively don’t want that change to happen. You’d collectively lose out on these privileges below since they are the gains from the white supremacist [neoliberal capitalist] system that you are covertly invested in it.

These have been a few of your returns so far if you’re living in the SF Bay area:

  1. Gentrification. Being able to live in your informal white gated community with those silly “Black Lives Matter, Love is Love, No human is illegal…” signs all over the place to show that diversity lip service…yet y’all keep on posting on Nextdoor about some ‘suspicious’ Black or brown teen walking around the neighborhood while that group of white boys hooting and hollering aren’t suspicious at all…just, ‘boys being boys’.
  2. High Rated Public K-12 Schools. Having your children attend a public school system that is rated an 8 or higher.
  3. Local Beer. Having 5 micro-breweries within a .25 mile of you.
  4. Stop Signs are Just a Suggestion. Rolling through stop signs without getting more than a warning from cops.
  5. Banning Living in a Vehicle. Passing city ordinances that ask that no one park vehicles over the length of 20′ (i.e., the homeless people made homeless due to gentrification and can only live in their vans or motorhomes on the side of the road).
  6. Hoodie Fashion. Putting a hoodie on because it’s too cold to go outside without one…and not getting shot or killed for ‘looking like a thug’
  7. Home Buying. ‘Easily’ getting that mortgage to buy that home in that 10 rated school system over the Black family with the same , if not better, financial situation than you, who was rejected for the 28th time.
  8. Happier Healthier Pregnancy. When you get pregnant and then give birth, you don’t have to worry about higher rates of maternal or infant mortality, because, unlike Black women, your health and pain are taken ‘seriously’.
  9. Feminism 3.0. Neoliberal feminism for ‘woke’ white women whose careers have been supported by the disposable use of brown and black nannies and housecleaners so they can “lean in.”
  10. Racial Wealth Gap and Capital. The racial wealth gap which can be collectively attributed to capital gained from a majority of your ancestors being ALLOWED to be landowning white men with enslaved Black people that built that wealth that accumulated over the last 500 years– or, if they came over as an immigrant (voluntarily), they were eventually allowed into the whiteness club to build that capital.

I talk about the above all the time in my workshops and lectures throughout the USA. So, here’s the thing….

…There is no ‘end’ to being ‘woke’. It is more like you continue to wake up into the next coma, and then you realize you are in a coma of cognitive dissonance and try to wake up out of that one, only to find yourself in another one that you don’t realize you are in until later…it is and endless continuum but many of you don’t understand that. You think you’re done. End of story. And that’s the challenge/problem.

You pat each other on the backs and affirm each other that you are indeed ‘woke’. You drive a Tesla. You don’t use plastic bags anymore. You are Buddhist. You eat organic. You own a Black Lives Matter t-shirt. You’ve created your own little ‘woke’ white bubbles of affirmations. You’ve even begun to white-splain to each other and non-white people why you are ‘woke’ (in comparison to MAGA supporters)….

….All while Rome (SF Bay area) continues to burn for the rest of us.

I dive more into the collateral damages of neoliberal whiteness and commodity culture on June 11, 2019, here (click on photo) :

ABOUT DR. A. BREEZE HARPER

Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a senior diversity and inclusion strategist for Critical Diversity Solutionsa seasoned speaker, and author of books and articles related to critical race feminism, intersectional anti-racism, and ethical consumption. As a writer, she is best know for as the creator and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men use hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies. In 2016, she collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the backgrounder Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked off FoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system

Dr. Harper is the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project which has put on several ground-breaking conferences with emphasis on intersection of racialized consciousness, anti-racism, and ethical consumption (i.e., veganism, animal rights, Fair Trade). Last year she organized the highly successful conference The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter which can be downloaded.

Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. Her current 2016 lecture circuit focuses on excerpts from her latest book in progress, Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist’s Journey Through ‘Post-Racial’ Ethical Foodscape which will be released in 2017, along with the second Sistah Vegan project anthology The Praxis of Justice in an Era of Black Lives MatterIn tandem with these book projects, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”

In the spring of 2016, Dr. Harper was nominated as the Vice Presidential nominee for the Humane Party— the only vegan political party in the USA with focus on human and non-human animals.

The N*gger Breaker Strategy: The Vegan Edition (2019)

(This statement is within the context of living in white settler nations because I know this won’t apply to all): For a significant number of white vegans, giving up speciesist privilege is FAR MORE EASIER than giving up possessive investment in whiteness. Ethical veganism becomes a sort of ‘spiritual bypass’ masking new forms of white supremacist racist ‘logic’ that is then labeled as ‘post-human’ or ‘beyond the human’ condition (meaning humans need to only focus on the suffering of non-human animals and not human ‘identity politics’.). 

After the past few years of witnessing certain amazing vegans of color doing their anti-racism and animal rights *thang* and then witnessing them being viciously attacked by white vegans who are clearly using racist words/tactics, I continue to try to give this advice: please my VOCs, ignore them as much as possible and take care of yourselves. What they are doing is a combination of “strategic trolling” and what Ishmael Reed calls the “return of the n*gger-breakers“.  It ranges from DIRECT aggressive attacks to subtle and subversive attacks in order to TEAR YOU DOWN.

Their training grounds have been the white settler nations like the USA that have completely normalized the “n*gger-breaking” play-book since the inception of this racial caste system; or places like “progressive” Switzerland or Germany that don’t think they could ever be like the USA’s ‘low brow’ racial bigots (after all, Europe is the center of ‘civilized’ and ‘moral’ [white] human beings!).

I have been the target of trying to be “broken” since I began the Sistah Vegan Project and dared to delve into social science inquiries of how race and gender shape the vegan consciousness of ethical vegans in the USA. From snarky white male professors who have tried to tear down my scholarship as unviable or ridiculous to social media trolls who have rallied together to ‘prove’ that my engagement with anti-racism equals “white genocide,” I have experienced ’n*gger breaking’ first-hand on way too many accounts.  I have had passive-aggressive comments made by white people who have attended my critical lectures about veganism and race that seek to strip me of my voice and put me back into that place [when America was ‘great’— but oh no, they would never align themselves with Trump publicly, at least].   During these lectures, I simply articulate how being racialized in the USA means that veganism will be practiced in a way that reflects this. I then provide evidence that shows how systemic racism has material and psychic consequences that operates “even in ethical veganism and animal rights spaces”; it’s a reality.

I will never forgot the time when I originally posted the call for essays for the Sistah Vegan book in 2004 and the pages of comments that exploded from it from one particular forum. The forum site was called VeganPorn (nothing to do with porn but everything ‘vegan’). White vegans on that forum were completely angered and disgusted that I *dared* to inquire about how Black racial formation impacts Black women’s vegan practices. The pinnacle of their rage culminated with white vegans targeting my use of the word “sistah”; some stated that anyone who sounds like they were ‘born to a crack addicted mom should never complain about not getting a job.’ They then launched a full-out racist minstrel show of pretending to ‘talk Black’ (infused with poor grammar and lots of swearing).

It didn’t matter that the obvious outcome of the Sistah Vegan book would ultimately get more marginalized groups interested in becoming vegan or consider becoming animal rights activists. The mere fact I mentioned race was enough to try to *break* me and prevent me from crossing the epistemological borders of ‘white vegan [post-racial] logic and methods’ that pathologize Blackness without ever pathologizing or problematizing the inherent injustice, violence, and inequities of normative whiteness.

All of the above occurred in 2005 and I can’t say much has really changed as I enter 2018 and I continue giving talks and lectures, writing books, doing ethnographic research that focuses on black feminist theory, critical consumptions studies, and ethical veganism. [*Note: I turned that 2005 fiasco into an opportunity by using those racist rants about the Sistah Vegan call for papers as empirical data to show how covert whiteness operates. I did not reply to one racist vegan; instead, I discursively analyzed what was occurring on the cyberspace forum. I earned the Dean’s award for my Master’s Thesis work at Harvard University in 2007.]

Giving up possessive investment in whiteness is HARDER than giving up speciesist privilege— particularly since going vegan is primarily enacted through objects of consumption. Going vegan replaces cow milk with soy milk and leather jackets with PVC…But giving up possessive investment in whiteness? Oh, I don’t think there are any cute and yummy replacements for that.

Veganism isn’t just about consumption, but I repeat: it is primarily enacted through objects of consumption which comes by way of access, choice, and consumer privileges (which comes out of a racial and classed organizing of resources and power in which the primary beneficiaries are the collectivity of white people living in white settler nations– check out my dissertation work here that explains this  as well as the co-authored report Dismantling Racism in the Food System which also articulates how the resource of (and ‘easier’ access to) food (including vegan food) is raced and classed in the USA.

What is it about bringing up racial violence within a white supremacist racial caste system that gets so many white vegans so damn angry and enraged— ready to attack and “break” us, beat us with words? [Because now that it’s illegal to beat us with whips and other weapons, they really only have just ‘words’ as whips and chains]. 

White “Allies”: If you are in fact an ‘ally’, do not remain silent when other white folk (vegan or not) engage in n*gger breaking in its various forms ( Black racialized subjects are not the only ones who are targets…). I have met so many white folk who tell me they witnessed horrendous racist behavior from white vegans yet did nothing because they didn’t want to get involved, hurt feelings, or burn bridges or ruin friendships. Hell no, are you joking? You cannot remain neutral on a white supremacist high-speed train in which the driver has fallen asleep. “Oh, I don’t want to hurt their feelings and ‘wake’ them up because I might embarrass them for falling asleep on the job [of being fully loving human being],” is going to get us ALL KILLED.   If your physical safety or job security isn’t in jeopardy then speak up and  go beyond ally-theater tactics.

Join our next webinar on May 14, 2019 as part of radical equity and inclusion educational activism for animal rights and veganism. Click on image below to learn more


Dr. A.Breeze Harper (Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)

Dr. A. Breeze Harper has a PhD in Critical Food Geographies. She is the creator of The Sistah Vegan Project and the editor of the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society, is a sought-after speaker, writer, and consultant at Critical Diversity Solutions (www.criticaldiversitysolutions.com).

Her most recently published book is Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014). Scars interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of protagonist 18 year old Savannah Sales, the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. In 2018, her latest book project will be published, tentatively titled Black Mama Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, And Toddler Tantrums .

Overall, Dr. Harper’s work focuses on how systems of oppression- namely racism and normative whiteness- operate within the USA. She uses food and ethical consumptions cultures, within North America, to explore these systems. Her favorite tools of analysis are critical whiteness studies, decolonial world systems theory, Black feminisms, critical race feminism, critical animal studies, and critical food studies. She is known for using engaged Buddhism as the choice method to explain her research and broach these often difficult topics of power, privilege, and liberation.

Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. Her talks explore how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality and physical abilities.

If you are interested in having A. Breeze Harper speak at your college, conference or organization please contact her at breezeharper@gmail.com. Learn more about her on her author and publications page here.

Vegan Cheese, Racial Power Dynamics, and Corner Store Cigars

Click on the image below to learn more about this webinar on May 14, 2019.

“I haven’t slept in 10 years.” Raising 4 kids while being Sistah Vegan.

Dr. A. Breeze Harper with Janelle White
(Photo Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen)

My birthday is coming up next month. I have a birthday wish for those who support my work. I have been working on the book Black. Mama. Scholar. On Black Feminist Geography, [Vegan] Food Ethics, and Toddler Tantrums.

Central to the book isn’t my black feminist scholarship or even the work I have done with The Sistah Vegan Project. Central to the book is motherhood. Black motherhood and all its aspects *while* I engage in Black feminist scholarship, critical food studies, and ethical vegan philosophy.
I have written and spoken about about how much of struggle it is to do this work over the past 15 years– but, also over the past 10 years since bringing 4 lovely Harper-Zahn babies into this world, in a USA society in which women are the primary caretakers of children and work a double work day (though I argue TRIPLE because I have not slept well in about 10 years because children this young and close in ages mean you don’t really sleep through the night). LOL, for those of you with young kids you KNOW what I mean! You think my writing and lectures are badas* now? Wait until this sistah starts sleeping again and can function on more than 3 hours of sleep per day while a baby isn’t sucking 1000 calories out of her boobs each day! I’ll be on fi-yah! (And yes, I’ve been nursing nonstop for 10 years!)

The Sistah Vegan Project is a one woman show. I don’t have a salary or benefits. All I have is a passion and commitment to continue the legacy of Black radical thought leaders and activists, the legacy of those committed to ending suffering of human and non-human animals.

My wish is to gain a Patreon monthly pledge total of at least $1500 a month. Why? Because I work really hard to make sure I can do the work I do so I can PAY for child care. It’s really quite difficult. I’m not the only mom who works so she can work AND pay for childcare. It’s the default reality in the USA.

I’m constantly encouraged to do so many innovative projects and collaborations. I’m invited to travel to conferences. I have to say “No” a majority of the time to opportunities because the childcare costs to do this work would put me under water. I have been asked to collaborate on book projects with incredibly awesome authors and activists. I have had to say “‘No’, I just don’t have enough time.” For example, last summer I traveled to the AR 2018 and Gear conference and needed to have all 4 children with me. For me to attend it cost nearly $500 for me to pay someone childcare. It was covered GEAR organizers, but this is the exception to the rule. 95% of the time must pay for the care in order to attend events in which I am gone for 3 days and the children are at home.

If you cannot do a monthly pledge, please consider supporting the Sistah Vegan Project by purchasing one of my books, a past or future webinar that I have created, or, supporting my new diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting work (focused on racial justice and animal advocacy or ethical consumption). You can see the list of options on how to support me here on this page: http://sistahvegan.com/supporting-the-sistah-vegan-project/

ABOUT DR. A. BREEZE HARPER

Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a senior diversity and inclusion strategist for Critical Diversity Solutionsa seasoned speaker, and author of books and articles related to critical race feminism, intersectional anti-racism, and ethical consumption. As a writer, she is best know for as the creator and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men use hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies. In 2016, she collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the backgrounder Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked off FoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system

Dr. Harper is the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project which has put on several ground-breaking conferences with emphasis on intersection of racialized consciousness, anti-racism, and ethical consumption (i.e., veganism, animal rights, Fair Trade). In 2015 year she organized the highly successful conference The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter which can be downloaded.

Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. In tandem with these book projects, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”

In the spring of 2016, Dr. Harper was nominated as the Vice Presidential nominee for the Humane Party— the only vegan political party in the USA with focus on human and non-human animals.

My New Novel is Available: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England

My newest novel is available for purchase for under $10.

When it first came out it was about $32.00 and monetarily inaccessible for so many people who appreciate my writing and ideas.

It’s now $7.99 on Amazon.com. Click on the image below if you want to learn more about it and how to purchase it.

Also, my upcoming webinar-workshop is around the corner, May 14, 2019. Click on the image below to learn more about this innovative event.