[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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BLACK LIVES MATTER, NEW VEGAN CAFES IN GENTRIFIED FORMER BLACK COMMUNITIES, AND OTHER CONFERENCE TOPICS

[I am reposting this with updated information and title. This was originally posted on January 12, 2015.]

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  1. The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter, April 2015 online Conference: Conference Link: http://www.sistahveganconference.com 
  2. Black Lives Matter Website: http://blacklivesmatter.com/
  3. Food Empowerment Project and Lauren Ornelas on Cocoa Slavery
  4. Learning more about the concept of Land Grabs: http://foodfirst.org/publication/land-grabs-versus-land-sovereignty/
  5. Understanding the concept of white privileged access to food and black communities being negatively affected by gentrification: http://digitalwindow.vassar.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1238&context=senior_capstone
  6. Phat Beets Organizational Statement on Gentrification (Oakland, CA): http://www.phatbeetsproduce.org/full-statement-on-gentrification/

Black Lives Matter, New Vegan Cafes in Gentrified Former Black Communities, and Conference Questions

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  1. The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter, April 2015 online Conference: Conference Link: http://www.sistahveganconference.com 
  2. Black Lives Matter Website: http://blacklivesmatter.com/
  3. Food Empowerment Project and Lauren Ornelas on Cocoa Slavery
  4. Learning more about the concept of Land Grabs: http://foodfirst.org/publication/land-grabs-versus-land-sovereignty/
  5. Understanding the concept of white privileged access to food and black communities being negatively affected by gentrification: http://digitalwindow.vassar.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1238&context=senior_capstone
  6. Phat Beets Organizational Statement on Gentrification (Oakland, CA): http://www.phatbeetsproduce.org/full-statement-on-gentrification/

On ‘Brainwashing’ Your Children to Not be Racist As$holes (a.k.a. Oakland’s Amazing Black Lives Matter Storytime-Rally for Kids)

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Flyer Handed out to people on January 3, 2015

This weekend, I attended an amazing event in Oakland, CA. On January 3, 2015, I took my 1 , 3, and 5 year old children, with husband in tow, to a Black Lives Matter Story Time, Teach-in, and Protest event for 2-8 year olds and their families. We loved it. Below is my 3 year old daughter holding a Black Lives Matter poster, painted by the brilliant Daryl Wells. My daughter is too young, at this time, to thoroughly understand systemic racism, but there is no harm in bringing her to social justice events to plant those seeds. As I go through the process of raising my 3 children, I have reminded myself time and time again, how grateful I am that my own parents planted similar seeds of social justice, critical thinking, and compassion into my mind when I was a wee one…

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The children read Dr. Seuss book, The Sneetches , to better understand concepts of discrimination, privilege, abuse of power, etc. They learned songs with social justice themes and made their own stars (an idea inspired by the Dr. Seuss book) to wear together while we marched toward the Lake Merritt Farmer’s market in song. The Colorful Mamas of the 99% group put the event together.  I am very proud of them. I have been trying to creatively think of ways to talk about Black Lives Matter with my very young children since this past summer. Thankfully, this event gave me the tools I need to start building and producing age appropriate resources for preschool aged and  elementary school aged youngsters.

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Ok, ABCnews7 and SFGate news media outlets were there to get the scoop on what was going on, taking photos, interviewing the organizers, and the kids participating. It was amazing (and also sad) to hear several young children actually say that they wanted to make sure their siblings, as well as non-white friends, are treated fairly and with love. There are children who DO know what is going on and have expressed their concerns about they themselves and/or family members being brutalized by the criminal justice system. So, I know one isn’t supposed to read comments, but afterABCnews7 andSFGate news posted the articles about the event, I eagerly went to their sites to read the stories. I foolishly thought that a majority of the comments would be supportive and that being in the SF Bay Area, which is supposedly the center of diversity and ‘but we aren’t racist like those southerners’ , I found the comments to be filled with vitriol, hate, and ignorance. Most of the commenters were disgusted that us parent were ‘brainwashing’ our children; we needed to simply teach our kids to abide by the law and not play the race card when we get into trouble. Huh? One commenter even cried ‘child abuse’ (Palm into face). Another commenter bashed the city of Oakland and expected that parents from Oakland would teach their children to become horrible citizens. Again, palm into face. Hello? When did teaching your kids to not be racist assholes become equated with brainwashing?

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, I recently decided to create and organize ”The Vegan Praxis of ‘Black Lives Matter'” conference.  It is scheduled for April 24-25 2015 (http://www.sistahveganconference.com). Since attending the Oakland story-time and teach-in event, the wheels have been spinning in my head. I now want to figure out how to convey the message of Black Lives Matter (within the context of veganism) to a very young audience for the conference (and for adults who care for young children). Anyone out there interested in doing that for this conference?

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Man at the BLM Story time event, January 3 2015

I also began to think about how the mainstream ‘food revolution’ companies, gurus, service providers, etc., rarely, if ever, incorporate anti-racism into their goals. Nor do I ever see much needed critiques that question neoliberal whiteness rhetoric imbued in the current globalized capitalist economy that the vegan commodity chain is anchored in. Just recently, I contacted a white male vegan who seeks to revolutionize eating through holistic veganism. I explained that I look at how race and gender impact one’s concept of veganism, ethical eating, consciousness, etc. His response was, “Huh? What do race and gender have to do with veganism?” I directed him to my dissertation. Why repeat what has already been written? I get these comments and questions a lot and end up directing folk to my dissertation. After, I usually only hear crickets, as I did with him.

A protestors sign from the January 3 2015 event.
A protestor’s sign from the January 3 2015 event.

For most of us food justice and anti-racist activists of color (and allies), we know that there can be no revolution of the ‘way we eat’  until there is a sincere praxis of dismantling racism at the systemic, structural, and institutional levels. And who is ‘we’ anyway , other than the usual white post-racial economically stable consumer? You know, the ‘we’ who find it annoying that Black folk are invading their white brunch spaces to force them to think beyond the purity of their slow food, many times in a restaurant made possible through gentrification and the displacement of communities of color in the SF Bay area? For this collective demographic, they seem addicted to both food purity and the purity of neoliberal whiteness philosophies (i.e. ‘But aren’t we all postracial?’ ‘Doesn’t it mean you are racist if you bring in anything to do with skin color or race?’)

I am looking forward to the Sistah Vegan conference. If you enjoyed reading this, as well as other projects I have done, please consider becoming a monthly donor or making a one time pledge to support this work, my new book project, conference, etc.

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Thug Life Geographies, Vegan Hip Hop, and Sistah Vegan Conference: 2015 Projects in the Works

Happy New Year 2015 and welcome to the new Sistah Vegan Website. Search around the new site to find out what we have to offer. Many thanks to Elise Aymer for revamping the website!

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For more information about Sistah Vegan 2015 April 24-25 Conference please click on the title: “The Vegan Praxis of ‘Black Lives Matter’Challenging Neo-Liberal Whiteness While Building Anti-Racist Solidarity Among Vegans of Color and Allies (Before, After, and Beyond Ferguson)“.

For those of you who have not yet watched a lecture that best represents what my new book will be about, you can watch the talk I gave at Middlebury College, from 2014 Fall, right after this paragaph. NOTE: The audio was horribly recorded, so I apologize for that. If you can, wear headphones with the volume on high. I am unable to do CC for hearing impaired people, but I’m working on making this a regular feature for my videos. This video is an analysis of Thug Kitchen controversy through  critical race and whiteness lenses. This subject will be a chapter in my book. In the talk, I bring in the context of Ferguson, Tupac Shakur’s ‘thug life’, and what it means to be a Black or Brown person who would create vegan food justice from what I call ‘geographies of thug life.’

And below, here is a different video from Oberlin College from Spring 2014 that does not focus on Thug Kitchen, but other things that my book will include.

Lastly, even though I did not mention this in the introductory video at the beginning of this post, I will be doing a new series of quick videos that show great vegan gems in the SF Bay California area. I hope that I can expand the geographic focus, but for now, since I live in the SF Bay area, I’ll be focusing on this region. I will not be just talking about how good a vegan item tastes, but also inquire about the labor behind it, the ethics of sourcing the ingredients, treatment of restaurant staff, how badly or mindfully packaged it is, etc. There are many vegan food tips and guides out there, but I have not seen any that say things like, “I loved that new ice cream place down the street. The vegan chocolate sorbet was amazing, but I asked about the cocoa sourcing and they use Hershey powder. So, perhaps they get a 10 out of 10 for taste, but a 1/10 for using cocoa by a company that sources cocoa through slave labor in many part of Africa.” Unfortunately, many mainstream vegans have been sold the idea that if a non-human animal was not directly harmed, they need not think further about how the vegan commodity got to them— even if it means human beings that have been exploited, abused, enslaved, etc made the vegan ‘cruelty-free’ ingredient possible, which was the center of my doctoral dissertation. In my new series, I’ll succinctly explain why these issues of justice should not be ignored or dismissed as ‘non-vegan related’.

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