Pigs as Cops, Cops as Pigs: What Does a Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter Look Like Beyond Speciesist Depictions of Pigs?

About an hour ago, I was looking through the work of Emory Douglas (see image below and click on it to go to the link to the book).

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I started reading through his book again today because his work, though over 40 years old, is applicable today. His images show Black people resisting the white supremacist militarized police state. The images are powerful, breathtaking, and heartbreaking. As I sifted through the pages of this genius work, I couldn’t believe that this mess was still happening today; but also felt inspired that this work is a continuum that we see in the Black Lives Matter Movement, founded by Alicia Garza.

Eerily, at the same time I was looking through Emory’s book and thinking about how to implement it into my own work, I was on Facebook looking through Vegans of Color group posts. Someone had posted a current image depicting the Black Lives Matter movement in which there is a carton of young Black person fighting against the militarized police state. The police officers depicted in the cartoon are drawn as pigs. The person who posted the image said, “word to her and the energy/people/movement she represents! but to the system she/we oppose–let’s not disparage actual pigs in the process, yeah? (smile)”. Perfect timing that he would write this while I was looking through the Emory Douglas book because I had been thinking the same thing since I received the book as a wonderful gift for my birthday, about 5 years ago, signed by him by way of my friend Frank. He even referred to me as “Sistah Vegan” in the inscription. I briefly talked to him at one of Frank’s birthday parties. (I admit it: I was too shy to talk more to him, just like I was too shy to talk more to Angela Davis and give her a copy of my book. Yup, I’m still shaking my head over that one…and then I learn she’s vegan and probably would have appreciated Sistah Vegan. LOL. Oh well, live an learn.)

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First of all, I cannot reiterate enough that Emory Douglas’s book is genius, amazing, and inspiring. The work he has done as a Black Liberationist and Black Panther is truly remarkable and has deeply influenced the direction of my own work. In addition, Emory Douglas eats a vegan diet. However, what is striking to me as someone who is a critical race , black feminist, and critical vegan scholar, I noticed throughout his work that Douglas depicts cops as ‘bacon’ and ‘pigs’.

I know that everyone changes throughout life and what we ate or believed in at 30 may differ drastically at 40, then 50, etc. So, I’ve been wondering about Emory Douglas’ vegan dietary practice and if this practice has changed his thoughts on he having used pigs as a way to demonize and depict the police state of the USA in the 1960s and 1970s. I wonder what he’d say about it; if he still agrees with his use of pig images to protest racialized state violence against Black people. (See a few of many images depicting cops as pigs, in the book below).

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I’ve also been thinking a lot how the consumption of pigs, among ‘conscious’ Black people who no longer eat animals, has long been associated as being a ‘filthy’ and ‘low’ animal; that many ‘conscious’ Black people working hard to decolonize and liberate Black people have chosen to not eat pigs because they believe they are ‘dirty animals’…. as opposed to the belief that eating pigs is cruel because of the suffering that pigs go through as a commodity in the mainstream food system of the USA. There seems to be a speciesist vegan dietary element to this logic; quite a contradiction in many ways. But, I want to dig deeper and I don’t want to dismiss the brilliant work of Black liberationist who think this way about pigs and human consumption.

I hope to continue to think through Emory’s work and figure out a way to talk about the significance of his work through a vegan praxis of Black Lives Matters… Emory, if you are reading this, please let me know if you’d be interested in talking about this for the Sistah Vegan Conference, which is online in April: The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter.

Hey folk out here, if what I have written above has got your wheels turning, then I hope you will join us, support us, donate to us, and/or sponsor the upcoming Sistah Vegan hosted online conference, The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter. During the conference, I hope we can talk more about the meaning of Emory Douglas’ work (maybe even by way of Emory himself), the use of pig imagery in resisting racist police state, consuming a vegan diet, and the difficult contradictions we all often find ourselves in; after all, many of us as Black Lives Matter activists of color– vegan and non-vegan–  are still practicing the decolonization of our minds around internalized racism as well as speciesist notions of ‘the place of the animal'; it is a continuum and I want to build on Douglas’ work, not dismiss or start honing in only on the images of ‘cops and pigs, pigs as cops.’ His work– and many of the Black Panthers who have written about Black Liberation (many who were not vegetarian or vegan) have deeply influenced the direction of my work in a positive manner. I’m about ‘building’ on this, acknowledging possible weaknesses or methods that may not apply now, and moving forward while not forgetting about the past!

Like what we do? Find our more about the Sistah Vegan Project and donate towards our new groundbreaking critical race vegan book project on black male vegans and hip hop, as well as the April 24-25 2015 online conference. Click the image below. We just hit our $9,000 our of $25,000 goal this week. Help us reach $10,000 by the end of February 2015!

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[Event]Bay Area Food Policy Councils Will Discuss Achievements and New Programs in Berkeley

This came my way. Perhaps Bay area people can attend. I will be attending.

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Bay Area Food Policy Councils Will Discuss Achievements and New Programs at

Special Event in Berkeley

OAKLAND, Calif., January 27, 2015 – On Wednesday, February 18th at 6:30 pm, Oakland-based Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy will host a panel of representatives from Bay Area food policy councils. Food policy councils bring together food activists, community members, urban planners, and both municipal and state governments to make recommendations on how to make a food system more accountable to its constituents.

During the event, panelists will share their respective council’s most recent achievements, ongoing initiatives, and goals. Afterwards, audience members will have the opportunity to respond, ask questions, and engage with the representatives and each other.

The panel will feature food policy council representatives from several East Bay communities including Martin Bourque from Berkeley, Doria Robinson and Laneisha Whitfield from Richmond, and Esperanza Pallana from Oakland. Additionally, Michael Dimock will represent the statewide California Food Policy Council. Food First Executive Director Eric Holt-Giménez will moderate the discussion.

Partnering to create local food initiatives that build food justice in communities, food policy councils work to establish an equitable and sustainable food system. There are more than 200 food policy councils in North America. Reflecting on the goals of the Oakland Food Policy Council, council director Esperanza Pallana notes: “We believe that we need to focus on equity first, as sustainability flows out of equity. We can’t have sustainability without having equity first.”

This event is part of Food First’s Third Wednesdays Event Series at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, which fosters community discussion about topics related to the right to food. The event will begin promptly at 6:30pm, and the public is advised to arrive early to secure seats. La Peña Cultural Center is located at 3105 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94705.

For more information about La Peña Cultural Center, please visit http://www.lapena.org.

For more information about Food First, please visit http://www.foodfirst.org.

The Best Vegan Mock Fish n Chips in San Francisco: Indochine new vegan restaurant in the Mission

Sistah Vegan’s Best of the SF Bay: Indochine Restaurant’s Vegan Fish n Chips.

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Welcome to our new Sistah Vegan series: Sistah Vegan’s Best of the SF Bay. I will do video reviews of what I consider the best vegan treats in the area on a weekly basis. I’ll start getting really critical yet be appreciative as well. This means I’ll start asking how well employees are treated, how ethically are some ingredients sourced, did the vegan place come out of gentrified space, is accessible for people living with physical disabilities, is it easy to take your baby with you.

I do a 30 second review of “Feast n Chips” dish at the new IndoChine Vegan restaurant in San Francisco. This dish is a vegan version of “fish n chips” . IndoChine is at Valencia St. and 16th in the Mission.  Excellent. I kept on telling my husband that this tasted like how I remember fish used to taste. Everything was fresh and yummy. The Bathroom was beautiful and clean. I need to have an immaculate bathroom with a visit a restaurant. We had two other dishes wish I posted below as well.

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Like We We Do! Donate and See Other projects in the works:

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[Video] pattrice jones to present at Sistah Vegan Conference, New book update, and fighting the flu with Catnip

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A Child Bride in Jim Crow Mississippi: Scars of Suffering and the Promise of Healing

WARNING: This may potentially be triggering for those who were forced into marriage, particularly as a child bride.

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My Grandma Emma passed away recently. Above is a photo of one of her many rings she owned and the only one I will be keeping.

She was 87, living in Las Vegas for the last 40+ years. I appreciate that she was the result of really horrible circumstance that still made the birth of my dad possible. I acknowledge that like many Black poor women in Jim crow South, My grandma’s mother, Savannah, was so poor that she couldn’t afford a new pair of shoes. She agreed to have sexual relations with a white Scottish immigrant who simply could not show her mercy and give her the damn money she needed. Instead, he had to use her body the same way that chattel slavery deemed acceptable for women like Great Grandma Savannah. And out of the ‘exchange’, she became pregnant with Emma.

During the pregnancy, my father told me that his mother had told him that she had sat around depressed and sad all the time, staring at the moon at night as her belly grew bigger and bigger. When Emma came out, she ended up being ‘high yella’, but it wasn’t enough to still ‘pass’ and have a ‘better life as a white in Jim Crow Mississippi.’ But, she survived. Only having made it to the 3rd grade, she had to drop out of school, and then she was married off to my grandfather, who was 27 years old, at the age of 13. A child bride in the USA.

Grandma Emma told me how, during wedding night he of course wanted to consummate the marriage. When he took of his clothes, she ran around the room screaming because she didn’t know what that ‘thing’ was below his pants. She said she was still playing with dolls when she married him. I appreciate what she did to survive, despite the many things she had done or said out of ignorance, such as commenting that she didnt know why I had to marry a white boy when she found out I was engaged to my now husband, Oliver, a white man from Germany. But, after a year, I forgave her and realized that she must have a lot of deep hate towards ‘whiteness’ because of the pain of which she came about and her life in Mississippi, to have said something like that and not realize how it could have hurt me…and how I didn’t realize that that was where her comment had come from until a year later.

So yes, I appreciate her, her dedication to my twin and I from afar, always sending us gifts even though she was poor as hell. She embodied love and committment to our family, and I wish I could have been less rigid and more accepting of her views and developed a better relationship with her. I named the protagonist Savannah, in my new book Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England because of similar circumstance of which Savannah was born out of.  I’ll be talking more about this in May 2015 in Oregon. In the book, inspired by the lives of Black women in both my mother and father’s families, Scars gives the reader narrative of suffering and narrative of hope to heal, acknowledging the #BlackWomensLivesMatter.

(Apologies for typos. My computer is broken. Lots of pink lines makes it hard for me to see if there are spelling mistakes)

Like what you read? Have you already read Sistah Vegan or Scars and enjoyed it? Please see how you can help me with my next exciting book project.

 

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Support Anti-Rabbit Meat Leafleting Activist, Lauren Ornelas of the Food Empowerment Project

Update: this is January 21 not January 15.

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Photo of Lauren being arrested. (Source: http://www.rabbitadvocacynetwork.org/food-empowerment-project-founder-lauren-ornelas-arrested-by-whole-foods-manager/)

Update: the trial date is January 21 not January 15.

The other month, my friend and ED of The Food Empowerment Project was arrested while peacefully leafleting outside of Whole Foods Sebastopol, CA. The manager of the store called the police and did a “citizen’s arrest” of Ms. Ornelas. Her crime? Educating customers about the cruelty of rabbit meat industry. Whole Food sells rabbit meat and she, as well as other leafleters, simply wanted customers to know the cruelty behind this new growing trend of eating rabbits. What is also notable is that Lauren helped Whole Foods become more ethical years ago, with Viva!. They arrested the very person who worked with the higher ups to make positive change. Great reward, no? She was arrested for leafleting while brown, propose pattrice jones.

On January 21 2015, Join us to support food justice & vegan activist, lauren Ornelas of Food Empowerment Project, as she faces charges brought by the Manager of Whole Foods Market in Sebastopol, CA. Show up the the court house!!

lauren was peacefully and lawfully leafleting outside of WFM when the manager called the police. When the police officer wouldn’t arrest lauren, the manager opted to put her under “citizen’s arrest.” lauren now faces criminal trespassing charges.

Please join us and support lauren during her court appearance!

ADDRESS:
Superior Court of California, County of Sonoma
600 Administration Drive
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Criminal Room 105 See More

More info about lauren’s arrest:

VIDEO: http://www.rabbitadvocacynetwork.org/food-empowerment-project-founder-lauren-ornelas-arrested-by-whole-foods-manager/

Press Release: http://www.rabbitadvocacynetwork.org/whole-foods-ma… See More

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