The Sistah Vegan Project

Archive for the category “Animal Rights”

Watching Slaughterhouse vs. Strawberry Harvest Videos: How Plant Harvesting is Often Romanticized as Cruelty-Free

I was on one of my FB sites dedicated to anti-speciesism. Someone posted this photo below.

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Source: Facebook

I do understand why they posted this.  But…

…I felt compelled to mention that strawberry harvesting, though not nearly as visually ‘gruesome’ and as directly ‘cruel’ as slaughtering non-human animals, does not mean that the harvesting of strawberries is cruelty-free (as applied to those of us who buy strawberries vs. those of us who have the ‘privilege’ of growing our own to pick). Thousands of human laborers, mostly brown people from what is considered Latin America, harvest strawberries (and many other vegetables and fruits) in cruel conditions. Being sprayed with pesticides, not having access to clean water and toilets, working for poverty level wages, etc are what a significant number of what these folk must go through. I don’t mean to throw a wrench in this image and text’s meanings, but I really think this is something I often see being elided within talks about how one’s conscious is more ‘clean’ by eating vegan diets of fruits and veggies in North America. Once again, I am not saying or equating the slaughter of non-human animals as the SAME as exploited and abused human farm laborers; both practices are disgusting and cause a lot of pain and suffering. However, I just want to point out that the former (non human animal slaughter) is always made visible amongst the vegan mainstream in the USA, while the latter (harvesting strawberries or other plants for human consumption under horrible and insufferable conditions) is painted as something one need not think deeply about [since non-human animals weren't directly harmed].

Here is a book that can help us think more about not getting swept up in what looks like an ‘easy’ binary to make. The cover has a laborer picking strawberries. Click on the title to learn more:

The Food Empowerment Project, a pro-vegan organization, also advocates more awareness around the human cruelty endured by farm laborers.   Lauren Ornelas, ED of the Food Empowerment Project,  discusses these issues in this video below:

Enjoy this article? See what Dr. Harper is doing for her next book project and how you help fund it. Click below.

gofundme

[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!

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On ‘traumatizing’ your children by telling them the truth about speciesism and other systems of oppression.

When Ruby Roth’s vegan oriented book,  Vegan Is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action was published for children, I remember reading how an expert psychiatrist (or maybe it was a child development specialist) made the claim that her book is damaging to children. Many other folk thought it was harmful to children (see here as well).  I was taken aback, disappointed, but certainly not surprised, as of course this “expert’s” view echoes a society in which systemic violence across species (humans and non-human animal species) is normalized and rationalized. I think it is traumatizing to lie to children and even punish them for not subscribing to the violences that they KNOW is wrong. There are countless stories of young children finding out about the food they eat (i.e., “You mean my burger is a cow! Like a real cow!?), confronting their families about it, and instead of it opening up ways to think differently about the world– more compassionately about their world, they are verbally or even physically punished for pointing out ‘the obvious’ contradictions they see. You can listen more below by clicking on the video I did for this blog piece:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1y_g0RDvxg

Enjoy!

Sistah Vegan Conference: Updated Speaker Schedule and Early Bird Registration

 

 Click on Book to purchase a signed copy

1st Annual Sistah Vegan Web Conference

“Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies”

Date: September 14, 2013

Time: 10:00am-6:00pm PST (USA)

Location: Web Conference Using Anymeeting.com. This means the location is on the Internet, accessible by computer or telephone. 

Please go here to the official Sistah Vegan Conference Page to See Speaker Line-up and to Register

 

Extended Call for Papers for Sistah Vegan Conference: LGBTQ Analysis in Veganism

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We are having our first annual Sistah Vegan Conference this fall, on September 14, 2013. Registration is available now Anyone can register as an audience member . One need not identify as a girl/woman/womyn/trans vegan of color to participate. This is open to all.  It will be an online interactive conference (view tentative speaker line-up here), through the service of Anymeeting.com.  This means presenters can use webcams, audio, and PowerPoint which will be fully experienced by the audience. At the end of each talk, audience members will be able to engage in Q&A with the presenter. The entire conference talks will be video recorded and accessible after the event, to ensure that this valuable information will not be lost; it also ensures that those with internet access who could not attend will be able to access this information.

Right now we are still specifically looking for critical perspectives on veganism, animal compassion work, and self-care from the epistemological standpoint/embodied experiences of  women/womyn, trans, and/or girls of African descent. Thus far, we REALLY need a critical queer theory perspective and/or lgbtq experience and challenges in heteronormative spaces. Thus far, I cannot find anyone to present on this topic. 8 weeks after posting the call for presenters, no one has submitted anything about LGBTQ experiences/analysis within veganism and animal compassion. This call for presenters is open to all transfolk, women/womyn, and girls of African descent or allies, regardless of ‘formal’ education background or writing/artistic style. We encourage academic and non academic presentations. Deadline for this specific proposal topic on queer analysis/theory is August 20.

Please send proposals with your name, institutional affiliation (if you have none, that is fine too), presentation title and a 200 word abstract. Presentations should be about 20 minutes long, with 15 minutes for Q and A. Email to breezeharper at gmail dot com.

As part of the Go fund me campaign to raise money for the Sistah Vegan Project , I ask that those who can help us, donate to see this conference happen.  All are welcomed to register and attend as audience members. Click here to register.  You can click here to view the tentative speaker line-up. I ask for paid registration in order to pay keynote speakers an honorarium, pay for webinar technologies, as well as other costs to make this event possible.

Also, let me know if you would like to transcribe the live talks for hearing impaired people. I am try to locate closed caption options for Anymeeting.com. If you are familiar with such a service, please post this info.

Please contribute what you can by clicking on the GOFUNDME Link below. If you do not want to use this method, but prefer paypal, click on the link on the right upper corner of this blog page to donate via PAYPAL.

logo

My Best
Amie Breeze Harper, PhD
Director and Founder

The Sistah Vegan Project
Www.sistahveganproject.com

Register for the Sistah Vegan Conference: “Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women”

(Tentative Presentation and Discussion Line-Up)

Please note that anyone can register as an audience member to learn about the critical and embodied perspectives of women of color vegans. One need not identify as a woman of color

Click on Book to purchase a signed copy

1st Annual Sistah Vegan Conference

“Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies”

September 14, 2013

Location: Web Conference Using Anymeeting.com. This means the location is on the Internet, accessible by computer or telephone. 

Time: 10:00am-6:00pm PST (USA)

Early Bird Registration Fee: $35.00 until August 15, 2013. After August 15, it will be $45.00

Click here to register

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Introduction: How Veganism is a Critical Entry Point to Discuss Social, Animal, and Environmental Justice Issues for Black Women and Allies.
Speaker: TBD
Length: 10 minutes

In this introduction to kick off the conference, the speaker will introduce how the concept of veganism can shed light on critical issues effecting Black girls and women in the USA. She will explain how veganism, as both method and philosophy, is an often overlooked perspective in a USA society that has normalized the exploitation and abuse of racialized minorities such as Black females, as well as the normalization of violence against the environment and non human animals used for human edification. This talk will be an introductory segue into the scheduled talks and discussions. It should hopefully open up innovative ideas by intersecting veganism, health activism, food politics, animal compassion, and anti racism into the lives of Black women and our allies. In addition, the speaker will introduce what is means to be an “ally” in the context of the Sistah Vegan Project.

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Keynote Talk: How Whiteness and Patriarchy Hurt Animals

Anastasia Yarbrough

Inner Activism Services

Length: 30 minutes (20 minute presentation; 10 minute Q&A)

Abstract: In the animal rights movement, racism and sexism are treated primarily as separate forces comparable to but not wholly relevant to animal protection, with the exception of leftist pockets inspired by ecofeminist animal liberation thought, the Animal Liberation Front and other direct action groups, and the emerging Critical Animal Studies.  As recent as the 2013 Animal Rights Conference, the “mainstream” animal rights movement tends to treat anti-racist, anti-sexist movements as struggles of the past that inform the new frontier social justice movement that is animal rights.  However, the goal of this talk is not to argue how and why this tokenizing is a problem.  Instead, my focus is to spark a dialogue on how white supremacy and patriarchy directly impact the animals we’re striving to help and protect, thus giving further relevance in the animal rights movement to become more conscious of how racism and sexism operate in society.  As a black woman who is also a long-time activist for animal liberation and justice, I have the unique position to see these intersections and notice that human violence towards animals is rarely ever lacking color or gender, nor is it always simple to tease apart from systemic issues like racism and sexism. Therefore, I hope that this talk can serve as a useful and engaging spark that is relevant not just to animal rights activists but also to social justice activists who are just beginning to consider animals.

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Presentation Title: PETA and the Trope of “Activism”: Naturalizing Postfeminism and Postrace Attitudes through Sexualized Bodied Protests

Aphrodite Kocięda

University of South Florida

Length: 30 minutes (20 minute presentation; 10 minute Q&A)

Abstract: For this presentation, I will explore PETA’s marketing campaigns that use the trope of “activism”, couched in vegan and anti-animal cruelty rhetoric, to naturalize postfeminist ideas and postrace attitudes about women’s bodies. In this postfeminist space, attaining a white sexy body becomes activist work. For PETA, the ethical aims of the vegan diet (is purported to) coincide with attaining a particular type of femininity that excludes women of color. Women of color are only strategically used in their campaigns as authentic signifiers of “diversity”  where the white framework remains undisturbed. PETA uses “activist” rhetoric in their ads to bolster and naturalize the postfeminist and postrace ideas inherent in their logic.

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Presentation Title: An Embodied Perspective on Redefining Healthy in a Cultural Context and Examining the Role of Sizeism in the Black Vegan Woman Paradigm

Nicola Norman, B.S. Nutritional Science

Baltimore, MD

Length: 20 minutes; 10 minute Q&A

This presentation takes a look at sizeism and how it affects attitudes in the Black community and the mainstream towards Black Vegan Women. Body Mass Indexes calibrated to white norms contribute to producing stigmas and increasing challenges to women whose bodies seem to exist at the intersection of social and cultural pressures/expectations. How big our hips, buttocks, and thighs are, are constantly being put under a microscope by family, friends, community, and the bigger society that we live in. This may be affecting Black women on the fence about trying veganism for its health benefits or deter them already due to these pressurized standards. Black vegan women of all sizes are often chastised for not meeting those standards. Black female bodies are very commonly exoticized in society.  I will give examples of this and look at how sizeism is many times at the crux of this. Lastly, I will offer suggestions on how to combat the challenges of sizeism within mainstream vegan rhetoric in the USA.


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Presentation Title: Cosmetic Marginalization: Status, Access and Vegan Beauty Lessons from our Foremothers

Pilar Harris

Pilar in Motion (pilarinmotion.com)

Length: 30 minutes (20 minute presentation; 10 minute Q&A)

Abstract: The terms ‘Vegan’ and ‘Cruelty Free’ are labels that help lend integrity to commercially produced cosmetics. Yet these labels may also be used for marketing purposes, particularly in campaigns not created with black identified women as the intended target consumer. Although the internet has largely transformed access to cosmetic products labeled ‘Vegan’, there exists a degree of status and exclusivity in terms of the price point and distribution of these products, so that many black identified women remain marginalized. These products include body care, makeup and feminine hygiene items, the things we use daily and that are closer to our bodies than the clothing we wear. One option in taking a stance against cosmetic marginalization is to extract from our histories (personal, cultural and otherwise) the beauty lessons that were intended to nourish, protect and cleanse our bodies long before they could be known as ‘Vegan’.

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Open Discussion: “Why I Relinquished the Gospel Bird and Became a Vegan”: Girls and Women of African Descent Share Their Reasons for Choosing Veganism

Length: 45 minutes

 During this hour long moderated and open discussion, Black girls and women will share their reasons for choosing veganism. If you would like to participate, email sistahvegan (at) gmail (dot) com to secure your space to speak. Space is limited to about 8 storytellers. You will have about 5-7 minutes to share your journey.

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Keynote Talk : “Midwifery, Medicine and Baby Food Politics: Underground Feminisms and Indigenous Plant-based Foodways and Nutrition”

Length: 35 minutes (25 minute talk, 15 minute Q and A)

Claudia Serrato

University of Washington

Doctoral Student of Sociocultural Anthropology

http://www.claudiaserrato.info

During this decolonial era, Indigenous midwifery in East Los Angeles despite the several attempts to dismantle this ancestral practice along with their Indigenous plant based nutritional advice thrives as the alterNative to biomedicine. The Indigenous foodways and nutritional ways of knowing guided by these midwives is critical in restoring or decolonizing pregnancy, birthing, feeding experiences and most importantly health. In placing the decolonial present into perspective, a herstoricalfeminist narrative of early Los Angeles, midwifery, medicine, law, and the baby food industry discloses a critical dimension of the colonial matrix of power, which has neglectedly been overlooked in determining changes in diet, health, and birthing. In recovering Indigenous foodways and nutrition, underground feminist practices in the urban ethnoscape of Los Angeles restores womb and taste healing memories.

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Presentation Title: Constructing a Resource Beyond Parenting as a Black Vegan: Discussing Geography and Theology and Their Contradictions Within

Candace M. Laughinghouse

Regent University, PhD Candidate (Theology of Animals)

 Length: 30 minutes (20 minute presentation; 10 minute Q&A)

Abstract: Surprisingly, I receive more support from non-blacks when it comes to parenting as a black vegan. Within the black community, I am guaranteed heavy doses of skepticism and defensive responses if I choose to reveal that my children have never ingested a hot dog, hamburger, bacon, and chicken!  But beyond parenting as a black vegan are the challenges that relate to geography, theology, and even my own appearance. The Sistah vegan movement (as I like to call it) is inspiring as I pursue a doctoral degree in theology of animals and the effects on black theology. As a parent, my job is to protect my children and teach them the road to fulfillment in life involves education, using their talents, and compassion for all sentient beings.  I want to present the above topics as many black parents have a theological foundation that can be seen as contradictory to being vegan.

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Panel Discussion: Yoga for the Stress Free Soul Sista

And Radical Self-Care Teaching: Exploring Privilege in Yoga & Veganism for Girls of Color

with Sari Leigh

Anacostia Yogi www.anacostiayogi.com

and

Kayla Bitten

Length: 50 minutes (40 minute discussion; 10 minutes Q&A)

 

Abstract: Sari Leigh will give black women,  practical yoga tools to help resolve stressful home situations, past racial traumas, heartbreaks and reconnecting to spirit. Participants will learn the 15 second Mind Cleanse, A Soulful Flow yoga sequence and the revolutionary power of Mantra.  Kayla Bitten will address how, on a daily basis, we people of color continue to reap the oppressive consequences of a society who refuses to see us as part of the movement to a society of innovative development and solidarity. Working with young girls and women, Kayla has witnessed first hand the effects of a society whose racist and misogynistic views has stifled them; stifled them in a way that has them questioning their worth, pushing them to participate in harmful ways of nourishment both physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and their all around position as a young girls of color living in America. Advocating ways to engage in radical self love and care is an important practice that Kayla teaches these promising young girls. She achieves this through eating habits and yoga, but she also continues to realize the lack of representation in an area where engaging in such self care is considered ‘for white people only’ (or westernized to an unnoticeable position), blatantly financially unattainable, not having the access, or being taught by those who do not have an ‘all inclusive’ work ethic. Kayla will discuss how we can began to help young girls learn and unlearn ways to decolonize and resist through acts of self care such as accessibility to spaces where we can learn about vegan/vegetarianism/ healthy eating (and ultimately how to create our own spaces where these resources can be attainable) and yoga.

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Open Discussion: Reflections on the Sistah Vegan Anthology

Moderator: Dr. A. Breeze Harper (tenative)

Length: 45 minutes

In 2010, Lantern Books published Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society. It was the first book of its kind to centralize the Black female vegan experience in the USA. Regardless of racial or ethnic identity, all are invited to openly dialogue about how Sistah Vegan anthology, as well as the Sistah Vegan Blog, affected their lives. How did you end up with the book? What chapters stood out for you? Did you give the book to a friend or family? Do you teach with the book? What would you like to see in the second volume? Email sistahvegan (at) gmail (dot) com if you would like to participate. Space is limited, so please reserve your spot.

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End of Conference Keynote Address:

Is Black Decolonization Possible in a Moral Economy of Neoliberal Whiteness? How USA Black Vegan Liberation Rhetoric Often Perpetuates Tenets of Colonial Whiteness 

Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Research Fellow

Department of Human Ecology, Community and Regional Development

University of California Davis

Length: 60 minutes (45 minute presentation; 15 minute Q&A) 

Abstract:   For this concluding keynote, I analyze the food that a popular Black vegan guru promotes in order to ‘purify’, ‘decolonize,’ and ‘liberate’ Black Americans from legacies of colonialism and racism. First, through an Afrocentric framework, I show how this Afrocentric philosopher resists anti-black conceptualizations of Black women as “unfeminine” and “breeders.” Such a stance is empowering and a declaration of anti-racism against the mainstream USA narrative that Black women and girls are disposable and worthless. After this analysis, I use Black feminist theorizing to explore how the meanings this famous health activist places on particular vegan commodities, unconsciously reproduces heterosexist, ableist, and black middle-class ‘reformist’ conceptualizations of a ‘healthy’ Black nation. Lastly, I explore how USA Black vegan consumer activism may often be at the expense of oppressing other vulnerable communities (i.e. how certain Black liberation empowering super-foods come to us because of economic policies embedded in neoliberal whiteness).  If we engage in vegan consumerism without regard for how our vegan commodities get to us (i.e. sweatshops, child slavery, displacement of indigenous communities) what does this truly mean in terms of liberation, as well at the limits of decolonization within a USA capitalist moral economy?

Early Bird Registration Fee: $35.00 until August 15, 2013. After August 15, it will be $45.00

Click here to register

I ask for a registration fee to pay speakers, pay for webinar service, and also to fund the Sistah Vegan project to become a non-profit organization. Go here to learn more about that.

Call for Presenters: Sistah Vegan Conference, September 14, 2013

We are having our first annual Sistah Vegan Conference this fall, on September 14, 2013. It will be an online interactive conference, through the service of Anymeeting.com. This means presenters can use webcams, audio, and PowerPoint which will be fully experienced by the audience. At the end of each talk, audience members will be able to engage in Q&A with the presenter. The entire conference talks will be video recorded and accessible after the event, to ensure that this valuable information will not be lost; it also ensures that those with internet access who could not attend will be able to access this information.

We are specifically looking for critical perspectives on veganism, animal compassion work, and self-care from the epistemological standpoint/embodied experiences of  women/womyn, transfolks, and girls of African descent. We seek presentations that address these topics

* sizeism
* ableism
* lgbtq experience and challenges in heteronormative spaces
* intersecting antiracism and animal compassion
* how racist micro aggressions in predominantly white spaces affect our health, and why self care is a needed aspect of ‘social justice’ for Black women and girls
* critical perspectives on Afrocentric or Afrikan holistic health movement
* parenting as a black vegan

Topics need not be limited to these above, however, the above are more of a priority, due to their near invisibility in most vegan and animal compassion spaces. This is open to all women and girls of African descent regardless of ‘formal’ education background or writing/artistic style. We encourage academic and non academic presentations. I am also seeking someone to do real time transcribing of the conference, so people who are hearing impaired can get this much needed knowledge as well. Please let me know if you’d like to volunteer this service!

Should your presentation be accepted, we invite you to submit it to be part of the first Sistah Vegan journal issue, which I hope will come out in January 2014. Please send proposals by July 20, 2013 which should include your name, institutional affiliation (if you have none, that is fine too), presentation title and 150 word abstract. Talks should be about 20 minutes long, with 15 minutes for Q and A. Email to breezeharper at gmail dot com.

Possible keynote speakers have already been sent invitations. Once their participation is confirmed, I will post their presentation titles.

As part of the GoFund me campaign to raise money for the Sistah Vegan Project , I ask that those who can help us, donate to see this conference happen. I will be offering honorariums for keynote speakers and hope to offer scholarships for those who cannot pay registration fees. Why registration fees? Though it is online, I need to pay for the internet conferencing service and a plan that can host one hundred or more people. All are welcomed to register and attend as audience members.

Also, let me know if you would like to transcribe the live talks for hearing impaired people. I am hoping there are closed caption options for WebEx. If not, I will search other services. If you are familiar with such a service, please post this info.

Please contribute what you can by clicking on the GOFUNDME Link below. If you do not want to use this method, but prefer paypal, click on the link on the right upper corner of this blog page to donate via PAYPAL.

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My Best
A. Breeze Harper, PhD
Director and Founder

The Sistah Vegan Project
Www.sistahveganproject.com

On PETA, Trayvon Martin, and Being a Black Critical Race Researcher in White Spaces

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The full title of this talk is actually “‘Never Be Silent’ and the Packaging of Neoliberal Whiteness: On Trayvon Martin, PETA, and Being a Black Critical Race Researcher in White Spaces”. I just could’t fit the entire title in the WordPress title setup box.

I gave this talk on June 4, 2013 at University of California, Davis for the GGG Speaker Series. I critique the ‘cruelty-free’ products that PETA promotes in their Vegan Shopping Guide which is accessible online. I use critical race materialism and decolonial world-systems analysis to question how any commodity sold to us vegans as ‘cruelty-free’, can truly be ethical if it relies on human exploitation. For example, I speak about racialized-sexualized exploitation of indigenous Mexican females to harvest ‘cheap’ tomatoes for the Global North. I also question how PETA can support a plethora of cocoa products that are ‘free’ from animal-products, yet the cocoa from companies such as Nestle and Hershey source their cocoa using African Child slavery.

I examine PETA’s superficial use of Trayvon Martin’s murder as a way to ‘boost’ their animal liberation campaign, and argue that PETA falsely constructs Trayvon Martin’s tragedy as ‘true racism’ they are against. The problem is that PETA never engages a dialogue about the structural racism and coloniality that make the ‘cruelty-free’ vegan commodities they advocate, possible. It is contradictory to their ‘intersectional’ animal liberation campaign that asks people to “Never Be Silent” about injustices in the world.

At the end of this talk, I explain why I am ‘nervous’ and ‘out of breath”: because it is emotionally difficult for me, many times, to show up in a predominantly white space, as a black critical race feminist in a supposed ‘post-racial’ era, and talk about ‘whiteness’ and ‘white supremacy’ to a predominantly white audience.

I have to admit that the most notable memory from this experience was the first question I received during the Q&A. This question was from a white male who said he was completely unfamiliar with the Trayvon Martin incident. He asked that I provide him information about it. I do not expect everyone to know everything that is going on in the USA, but there is something to be said about the question about Trayvon Martin being asked. As a ‘survival’ rule, I personally need to be cognizant of racial profiling of us brown and black folk, here in the USA, so I stay up to date on these tragedies.

If you enjoy the work I have done, if it has helped you, your organization, your students, your family, etc, and you want to see it go to the next level of a non-profit social justice organization, please contribute what you can by clicking on the GOFUNDME Link below. If you do not want to use this method, but prefer paypal, click on the link on the right upper corner of this blog page to donate via PAYPAL.

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Animal Liberation, Tokenizing ‘Intersectionality’, and Resistance Ecology: Critical Race Perspectives

This is a video of the keynote address of Dr. Breeze Harper of the Sistah Vegan Project and Lauren Ornelas of Food Empowerment Project. We did an interactive keynote discussion format for the the Portland State University’s “Resistance Ecology” conference on June 1, 2013.

Did you enjoy this video?
If you enjoy the work I have done, if it has helped you, your organization, your students, your family, etc, and you want to see it go to the next level of a non-profit social justice organization, please contribute what you can by clicking on the GOFUNDME Link below. If you do not want to use this method, but prefer paypal, click on the link on the right upper corner of this blog page to donate via PAYPAL.

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How do racial experiences affect vegan dietary and animal compassion activism?

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How do racial experiences affect vegan dietary and animal compassion activism?

This is just one of the many questions I hope the Sistah Vegan Project can answer, through rigorous social-science based methods and research. However, we are far from completing this goal, but this is how you can help us…

My name is Dr. Amie Breeze Harper and I am the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project. (http://www.sistahvegan.com ) My birthday was yesterday, and my wish for this year is to transform the Sistah Vegan Project into a passion that sustains me spiritually as well as financially. I am going to take a bold, exciting, and awesome step and turn the Sistah Vegan Project into into an official non-profit organization; it would be my full-time work. What would we do? Here are a few goals:

  • Investigate and report how USA plant-based dietary philosophies and animal compassion are impacted by racial/ethnic experience.
  • Provide webinars and workshops that teach about plant-based dietary philosophies with special emphasis on cultural, racial, ethnic identity in the USA. For example, a workshop about becoming vegan that acknowledges the realities of how racial health disparities and environmental racism significantly impact food access and knowledge of low-income communities of color.
  • Publishing scientifically based online materials about plant-based nutrition and health for varying demographics, but in particular, pregnant and lactating girls and women.
  • Create yearly Sistah Vegan Healing Conference/Retreat for females of color and allies. This event would enable us to share knowledge and build our leadership skills around plant-based dietary philosophies, but rooted in anti-racism, decolonial activism, and animal compassion that reflect the collective needs of females of color.
  • Publish 2 seminal media projects that investigate alternative black masculinities within the sphere of vegan food politics:
    • Brotha Vegan! Black Male Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society. This would be an anthology collection similar to Sistah Vegan.
    • “Living Bling, Going Green”: Alternative Black Masculinities, Hip Hop Eco-Consciousness, and Decolonial Vegan Nutrition. This would be a social-science based book which will investigate how plant-based philosophies are being reshaped and reformulated by Black men of the hip hop generation. How do they engage pedagogies of hip-hop, educating and mobilizing people of color about health disparities, as well as environmental and institutional racism, and animal cruelty?
  • Create Android and Apple smartphone apps and media that help you make more informed decisions about food, health, social justice, and eco-sustainability.

I ask you for your help to make this non-profit possible. The primary resources I need are monetary and would be used for the following:

A Social Media Intern. I would be seeking the help of a part-time social media intern who knows how to use the latest social media apps. Duties would include promoting the book Sistah Vegan and notifying people about my new speaking events and blog posts. Ideally, I would want to pay this intern, but would need to do it through donations. This would be a tele-commuting position.

An Android and IOS 5 App Programming Intern. I would need funding for a smartphone app programming intern who can create apps and digital media for our organization.

Public Speaking and Events Coordinator Intern. The bulk of my income comes from speaking engagements in which I receive an honorarium. However, thus far, Sistah Vegan Project is a one woman show. I have two pre-school age children and inadequate child-care help and have only been able to secure several speaking gigs each year. I simply do not have enough time to take care of my babies and actively search and network the numerous possibilities out there for public speaking. What I need is an intern who can promote my work to universities, businesses, and non-profits, in a concise and creative way, so these organizations can hire me to talk about 2-3x month. Ideally, I would want to pay this intern, but would need to do it through donations. This would be a tele-commuting position.

Resources and Funding for Travel to Conferences and Workshops. Over the past few years, I have been unable to attend numerous conferences because of registration and travel fees associated with them; in addition, I would have had to leave my babies at home and pay for childcare (which is so expensive, I just opt to stay home). For example, I am hoping to be accepted to the Interrogating Critical Studies of Whiteness Conference at Trier University in Germany, which takes place this summer. However, the plane ticket alone during ‘high’ season for traveling is $1600. Conferences are spaces in which I can share the social justice research of the Sistah Vegan Project as well as learn about new ideas and methods to strengthen the work that I do. I see financial donations or plane miles to help with such expenses.
Visiting Scholar Fees. Because I was not offered any type of academic position this year, I no longer have access to resources of a university: office space, scholarly community collaboration, auditing classes, online library services, etc. I will be applying to be a ‘visiting scholar’ at several local universities in my area. What this means is that I will have the resources I need to do my Sistah Vegan Project work. However, I would have to pay the university about $500 in ‘fees’ to be a ‘visiting scholar’.
501 C 3 Non-Profit Status. For 2013, I want to turn Sistah Vegan Project into an official non-profit. Fees accompanied with this transition are about $350.
Board Members. Once we are an official non-profit, I will be inviting candidates to send me a CV and short cover letter about why they would like to be part of the board. I will be seeking about 4 or 5 board members. At this point, board members will be volunteer.
Technology Costs. From WordPress Pro, to Vimeo Plus, to Comcast Cable Internet subscription, to Cisco WebEx, the Sistah Vegan Project relies on internet technologies as our primary method of educational outreach. However, these technology services are pricey and we seek donations that can help cover these costs.
Peer Reviewed Journal. Lastly, I envision us releasing a Critical Race and Vegan Studies journal twice a year.My goal for this year is to raise $80,000. Originally I had stated $60,000, but I have updated our needs to include a smartphone app programmer. This fundraising goal would provide enough money so I can work on the Sistah Vegan Project at a salary that is equivalent to want I need to pay for day-care, my rent, utilities, student loans, food, etc, as well as offer modest compensation to part-time temporary interns. I have been doing this work for years, and as much as I enjoy it, I can no longer do it for free. If you enjoy the work I have done, if it has helped you, your organization, your students, your family, etc, and you want to see it go to the next level of a non-profit social justice organization, please contribute what you can by clicking on the GOFUNDME Link below. If you do not want to use this method, but prefer paypal, click on the link on the right upper corner of this blog page to donate via PAYPAL.

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