The Sistah Vegan Project

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A. Breeze Harper in Marie Claire Magazine October 2014 Issue

Here I am, talking about my kale smoothie. Vegans representing!

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BREAKING NEWS: Man Dies; Veganism Blamed

Originally posted on Meaty Vegan:

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[BUFFALO CITY, OK] Harper County Police and the Harper County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the death of a Buffalo City man this morning.

A 92-year-old Buffalo City resident was found dead in his modest prairie home earlier this week. Local authorities believe his vegan lifestyle may have contributed to his unexpected death. David Nash, retired postal worker for Buffalo City, was discovered deceased in his reclining chair by a neighbor who felt “something was just not right.”

“I considered David a friend, in spite of the fact he only ever brought hummus and veggie burgers to our community cookouts,” said Daryl Leno, a neighbor of Nash’s. “Considering the bizarre diet he was on, I’m pretty sure that’s what killed him. I mean, come on, what is hummus anyway?”

The County medical examiner confirmed upon closer inspection of Nash’s home, they could only find whole foods, beans, rice, fruits, vegetables, and some form of…

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

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

Angela Davis on a revolutionary perspective

Dr. A. Breeze Harper:

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

Originally posted on KVARM:

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

“I usually don’t mention that I’m…

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

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

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

Unpacking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once again, feeling punished for daring to have children. 

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

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

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

‘Speciesism: The Movie’ | Review + Further Recommendations

Dr. A. Breeze Harper:

About Speciesism the movie.

Originally posted on The Broccoli Bulletin:

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain

Speciesism: The Movie

Last week, on January 23rd, ‘Speciesism: The Movie’ made its Texas premiere at The Magnolia theater in Dallas. The documentary was written, directed and produced by Mark Devries, who was present at the screening.

Walking into the film, I expected an exposé about the way humans treat nonhuman animals, along with a philosophical discussion. I wasn’t wrong, but I also wasn’t expecting much humor. While I had heard that the movie had some humorous moments, I was surprised to find myself (and other attendees) truly laughing out loud several times. Devries himself narrates the documentary, managing to articulate and raise important questions about complex and heavy issues without boring the audience. He made us laugh, without belittling the issues. For those wondering, animal abuse footage was kept to a minimum.

Speciesism: The Movie

Devries, who was not…

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Dear Dr. Angela Davis….

Dear Dr. Angela Davis,

I saw you at the Farmer’s Market in Oakland, CA yesterday. I was too shy to approach you myself. However, my lovely husband convinced me to go up to you and introduce myself briefly. I know you must get scores of people each day, coming up to you. Who can blame us, as you have been an inspiration for so many!

The last time we had a brief interaction was back in February 2012, at the University of California Davis, where I was earning my PhD. You had given a talk as part of the social justice teach-in, initiated by the university after the 2011 pepper-spray incident. I asked you to give the audience more explanation about your take on the treatment of non-human animals. I was so pleased to hear your anti-speciesist take on the suffering that goes into the production of a chicken meal. You reminded us that most people’s lack of awareness around the suffering was a dangerous sign of how our minds have been colonized by capitalism. It is rare that I find scholars who are both black feminist oriented and conscious of how speciesism is imbricated in USA capitalist moral economy. I often have felt lonely and the ‘sole’ black feminist scholar who understands how both anti-capitalism and anti-speciesism do, and must, fit into social justice scholarship and activism.

Yesterday, I didn’t think you would remember me; but, you said that you did. I wish I had had a copy of Sistah Vegan on me to give to you, as I am sure you would enjoy it. Though we may never meet in person again, I just wanted to let you know that you have made a tremendous impact on my life and I know for a fact that my children will feel that impact. The photo of you, me, and my youngest newborn daughter Kira Satya is a moment I will treasure forever.

Kira Satya Harper-Zahn (2 months old), Breeze Harper, and Dr. Angela Davis. Jan 25, 2014. Grand Lake Farmer's Market, Oakland, CA.

Kira Satya Harper-Zahn (2 months old), Breeze Harper, and Dr. Angela Davis. Jan 25, 2014. Grand Lake Farmer’s Market, Oakland, CA.

On this 26th Day of January, 2014, I want to wish you a happy 70th birthday. I feel truly blessed that you were birthed into a world that truly needs a spirit such as yourself, to help transform our minds and start the necessary process of decolonization that includes both the lives of humans as well as non-human animals.

Best,

Dr. Amie “Breeze” Harper

Going beyond “What’s your excuse [for not being skinny like me]?”

Even though this is posted Jan 26, 2014, I wrote this about a month ago.

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I have 3 kids  under the age of 5, what”s your excuse?

I have 3 kids, so whats your excuse…?

Oh wait, wrong photo… That was before I had kids. LOL.  Today I just wanted to share with you that bodies change; my body changes and I’m okay with that. I think it’s detrimental to most of our mental health and happiness to start asking ourselves or even others, What’s your excuse [for not looking a certain way]? 

I videoed myself about 5 1/2 weeks ago, and showed how my belly looked more like I was 7 months pregnant. My uterus was still huge, 10 days postpartum.  So, right now, it is December 21, 2013. I am about 7 1/2 weeks post partum. We’re going to celebrate Winter Solstice tomorrow at Limantour Beach. I will be wearing my orange bikini of course, and this is what I’ll look like.

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December 20, 2013. 7 weeks postpartum.

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December 20, 2013. 7 weeks postpartum.

Stretchy, leathery, multi-colored, post-partum pouch belly: this is after 3 full term pregnancies. My belly looks like I’m about 4 1/2 months pregnant. I have mentioned this before, but plenty of people (even those who have had babies) publicly chastise women for revealing their postpartum bellies in public if they have stretch marks, are ‘pouchy’, don’t have hard abs, etc. That’s just not cool. A fellow Sistah Vegan wrote that she posted her photo of her post-partum bikini body on Facebook and more than one friend told her that she couldn’t believe that she would display her stomach because her stomach had the typical loose skin, pouchy, discolored look that most post-partum bellies look like. Wow, why would you tell your friend that and what exactly is wrong with anyone being out wearing their bikini with their unique and changing body type, period? My husband bought me this bathing suit 8 years ago. The first photo at the beginning of this post was from 2005 and the first day I wore it. It was my birthday present.

My bikini and I have been through three pregnancies, to Mexico, Italy, Plum Island, and California to name a few.  No matter what, I wear this bikini whenever I can, pre pregnancy, during pregnancy, and postpartum, whether I am 121lb with no stretch marks, or 144lb with stretch marks; whether I have a flat tummy, or have a beautifully stretched out post-partum belly, you can’t take me away from wearing my bikini!

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Fall 2013, pregnant with #3.

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Fall 2013, pregnant with baby 3.

In Mexico, Jan. 2012 with Eva Luna. 5.5 months post partum.

In Mexico, Jan. 2012 with Eva Luna, baby #2. 5.5 months post partum.

When in Mexico (see above) , I looked about four months pregnant and I didn’t care. Anyway, the point of my blog post is to basically share that all our bodies change, we all live our unique lives and situations and shouldn’t be bullying anyone about ‘What’s your excuse’? It’s just plain rude, unmindful, and cruel. Most likely, my body will never look like it did before I had babies, but I just thought it was important for me to share that this is what it looks like now, and despite being trained in this US culture to hide it and be ashamed of it, or have to answer to certain people who demand, “What’s your excuse for [not looking like me], I have 3 kids under the age of 4?”

Back in 2012, I wrote a comical blog piece about how most of us women who have had babies, can look like Beyoncé, several months after giving birth. Click here (Look Like Beyonce at Giving Birth) for a little laugh.

Artist Sarah Juanita Dorsey on Black Lesbian Experience, Class, and Race in Cover Art Inspiration for Scars

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Sarah Juanita Dorsey created the artwork (see above) that will grace the cover of my new book Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers, 2014). Below is a 5 minutes video that explains Dorsey’s inspiration behind the gorgeous and intricate work of art. I am psyched that the cover was designed by a like-minded woman of color and that her creative genius so well suits the protagonist of Scars, Savannah Penelope Sales.

More about Scars

I have signed a contract with Sense Publishers to publish the book Scars for 2014. Sense Publishers is the perfect press for Scars.  They embody exactly what I would like my novel to achieve. Below is a description of this publisher’s social fiction series of which Scars will be included:

“The Social Fictions series emerges out of the arts-based research movement. The series includes full-length fiction books that are informed by social research but written in a literary/artistic form (novels, plays, and short story collections). Believing there is much to learn through fiction, the series only includes works written entirely in the literary medium adapted. Each book includes an academic introduction that explains the research and teaching that informs the book as well as how the book can be used in college courses. The books are underscored with social science or other scholarly perspectives and intended to be relevant to the lives of college students—to tap into important issues in the unique ways that artistic or literary forms can.” 

-Patricia Leavy, PhD

Below is the full Preface for Scars. However, before you read the preface, I wanted to share this next tidbit withyou. The title of this blog piece, “The Black Queer Experience is Not ‘Our’ Experience”, was inspired by an email I received a few days ago from a Black identified Christian woman who had found out about Scars. Via a long email, she ultimately let me know that the premise of Scars alienated regular Black girls like her and that it was not ‘our’ story; ‘our’ being Black people’s story or authentic way of being. Even though she has not read the book, I found it incredibly interesting and as well as heartbreaking that she sent me an email that basically let me know she was disappointed in this new project. She sincerely thinks that the book’s main character (a Black teen lesbian) is too ‘controversial’ and ‘edgy.’ Hence, ‘regular’ Black girls like her (heterosexual) were being marginalized and she felt that I should be using my prominent voice to write about more pressing and important issues affecting the Black community. So, essentially, this book hasn’t even been published yet and I’m already receiving these types of messages. Anyway, I wanted to share that tidbit with you because I am constantly amazed by how “Blackness” and authenticity amongst Black folk is a complex and controversial issue; how we are monitored when we fall outside of being a ‘regular’ Black person (which I assume means hetero-normative and Christian identified). It is worrisome and disturbing to think that there are many Black folk who honestly feel that the queer experience is not part of our history; that we’re not part of the authentic community of Blackness in the USA. Even though this is her opinion, and the email she sent me was written respectfully and politely, it still hurt very deeply to read that. However, this is why I continue to write and do the work that I do. I feel like silence just creates more suffering and pain, so my writing becomes a platform to discuss these issues that are taboo for so many, including not just homosexuality, but also how white supremacy in the USA affects the emotional and physical health of everyone– not just people color. I welcome you read the preface to ScarsI am also hoping that if the preface strikes a chord with you would you have interest in inviting me to come and speak and create interactive discussion from Scars. Please email me at breezeharper (at) gmail (dot ) com to discuss my honorarium fees and travel requirements. Also, I am open to be interviewed for radio, tv, blogs, and other forms of media.

Preface for Scars

Scars is a novel about whiteness, racism, and breaking past the normative boundaries of heterosexuality, as experienced through eighteen year old Savannah Penelope Sales. Savannah is a Black girl, born and raised in a white, working class, and rural New England town. She is in denial of her lesbian sexuality, harbors internalized racism about her body, and is ashamed of being poor. She lives with her ailing mother whose Emphysema is a symptom of a mysterious past of suffering and sacrifice that Savannah is not privy to. When Savannah takes her first trip to a major metropolitan city for two days, she never imagines how it will affect her return back home to her mother… or her capacity to not only love herself, but also those who she thought were her enemies.  Scars is about the journey of friends and family who love Savannah and try to help her heal, all while they too battle their own wounds and scars of being part of multiple systems of oppression and power. Ultimately, Scars makes visible the psychological trauma and scarring that legacies of colonialism have caused to both the descendants of the colonized and the colonizer… and the potential for healing and reconciliation for everyone willing to embark on the journey.

As a work of social fiction born out of years of critical race, Black feminist, and critical whiteness studies scholarship, Scars engages the reader to think about USA culture through the lens of race, whiteness, working-class sensibilities, sexual orientation, and how rural geography influences identity consciousness. What makes this novel unique its emphasis on Black and lesbian teen experience of whiteness and racism within rural geographies. Often, interrogations of whiteness and socio-economic class are left out of fictional literature within popular LGBTQ literature. My intention with Scars is to fill this gap by creating emotionally intense dialogues among four primary characters: Savannah Penelope Sales, Davis Allen, Esperanza Perez, and Erick Roberts.

Davis Allen is one of Savannah’s best friends. A straight white male who grew up on a rural dairy farm in Savannah’s home town, Davis and Savannah have been close friends since they were toddlers. Davis is the only white friend Savannah has ever chosen to develop a close relationship with. When Davis and Savannah interact with each other, the intimacies of their conversations reveal an interesting dynamic: Davis’s perception of reality manifests from what Savannah has marked as “a privileged point of entry”: white, male, lower-middle class, and straight. Davis can never experience Savannah’s embodied experience as a Black lesbian. Growing up in a country that has institutionally legitimized whiteness and heterosexuality as ‘normal’, Davis’s white and straight identity limits him to superficially interpreting Savannah’s verbal hostility as nothing more than stereotypical “angry Black female” banter.

The second theme developed in Scars is the irreconcilable differences that Erick Roberts and Savannah endure in their rocky new platonic relationship. Erick and Savannah both identify as same gender loving, however, that is where similarities between them end. Their frequent antagonistic verbal intercourses deconstruct the common myth that being gay or lesbian means they will instantly connect emotionally to each other as comrades in the same battle against heterosexism. The exhaustive energy it takes for both to maintain their volatile relationship has it’s roots in Erick’s oblivion to the fusion of his upper-middle class status and his white male privilege when attempting to advise Savannah about being and coming out as a [Black, poor, and rural] lesbian.

The third and more subtle theme developed in Scars centers on how Savannah’s perception of oppression is positioned within a geopolitically global North perspective. Savannah never acknowledges her privilege as a USA national; only her lack of privileges as a non-white person. She considers herself revolutionary in thought in comparison to the people living in the provincial town she grew up in. Simultaneously, she has no awareness of her perpetuation of inequality outside of the USA; for example, Savannah is unaware of how many people of color outside of the USA are exploited so she buy cheap coffee, chocolate, and Coco-Cola. Esperanza Perez, a key character, is one of her best friends. Esperanza, a vegan and fair trade anti-globalization activist who originally grew up in Guatemala, visits Savannah from college. Through honest and heartfelt dialogues with Esperanza, Savannah’s oblivious understanding of her geopolitical Northern privilege is revealed. I hope to engage the reader to empathize with Savannah’s realistic struggles with “whiteness as the invisible norm in the USA,” while also addressing the need for Savannah to engage deeper into social injustice by encompassing and linking Black struggles and USA racism to a broader range of social and ecological inequalities throughout the world.

Born out of my Dartmouth College thesis social research in feminist geography, award winning Masters work at Harvard University, and my dissertation work at the University of California-Davis, Scars emphasizes how rural geographies of whiteness can impact the consciousness and young identity development of non-white youth who seemingly ‘don’t belong’ in rural settings of whiteness and hetero-normativity; yet, the reader sees during Savannah’s trip to her first major metropolitan city, she is very much out of place. Furthermore, Savannah contrasts the mainstream media stereotype that the “authentic Black experience” is from heterosexual Blacks raised in predominantly urban landscapes. Even though the critical theory in this novel has been translated into creative writing format, it is notable that Scars was significantly influenced by a strong canon of Black critical thinkers and writers stemming back to W.E.B. DuBois. My choice to title the book Scars reflects the legacy of Black anti-colonialist Frantz Fanon and his intense dedication to making visible, the psychological trauma and scarring that colonialism, white supremacy, and racism have caused to both the colonized and the colonizer. Furthermore, this book continues the traditions of bell hooks, Audre Lorde, and Octavia Butler who have written extensively about the ‘the problem of the color line.’ However unlike Fanon and DuBois’ more hetero-normative and masculinist analyses, hooks, Lorde, and Butler have complicated the ‘problem of the color line’ with intersectional analysis of gender and sexual orientation.

Scars can be used as a springboard for discussion, self-reflection and social reflection for students enrolled in American Studies, Sociology, Women’s Studies, Sexuality Studies, African American Studies, human geography, LGBTQ studies and critical whiteness studies courses, or it can be read entirely for pleasure.

-A. Breeze Harper, PhD

Chia seeds: How do I maximize their nutritional power?

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So, I have a simple question in which a Google search reveals complicated and confusing answers: how should I prepare and eat chia seeds to absorb their nutrients?

For the past three years, I soak the seeds for ten minutes in water. I have put 2 ounces in a blender with 20 oz of water and blend for 2 minutes on high. I have a Vitamix. I do this because I thought one passes seeds without absorbing anything if they are eaten whole and not ground up or chewed thoroughly.However, every where on the internet that has information about how to eat them says to eat whole. Huh?
If I wanted to eat them for fiber and hydration I get why I would eat them whole. However, the chia seed is marketed to be packed with nutrients like Omega 3, calcium, and boron, hence, I assume one absorbs those nutrients once they eat the seed grounded or milled.

What is the right way to eat chia seeds for maximum nutrition absorption?

Product Review: Earth Balance Vegan Aged White Cheddar Puffs

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Finally, a vegan white cheddar puff snack! I have not had cheese puffs, made from cow dairy, since 2005! So, Earth Balance makes a vegan one and that is pretty cool.

Pros:

They use navy beans powder for the ‘cheese’. 180 mg of sodium per serving, which isn’t bad. I hate salty things, so this was a pleasant surprise. 3g of protein per serving. A full bag has 4 servings but I can easily eat the whole thing in one sitting. They use non GMO corn and no soy.

Cons:

Earth Balance , why is your packaging not recyclable or compostable? Also, at nearly $4 a bag, I would expect all the ingredients to be organic. None are organic!

Overall, great taste, texture, and size! A nice step up from Veggie Booty, but since it is pricey, I will probably buy it a few times per year! Would buy more often if it were organic and of the company had better packaging.

What are your thoughts?

10 Things You May Not Know About Sistah Vegan

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me (Not that you asked…)

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1) Beyonce has a new album. Everyone is using social media to say how brilliant it is…also asking if she is or isn’t a ‘feminist’. [Updated Dec 17, 2013 16:55 PM PDT]. I kind of don’t care because I expect to be disappointed. For some, Beyonce  represents neoliberalism/corporate capitalism feminism that doesn’t challenge structural inequality the way black feminists such as bell hooks , Audre Lorde, and Patricia Hill Collins have defined a canon of [black] feminism……But girl know she can sing and dance and I totally LOVE the video “Single Ladies” because I think the dancing and choreography are brilliant. :-)

2) I’ve never watched a MLB baseball, NBA basketball, or NFL football game (on tv or in a stadium) in my life.  Nor do I have any desire to do so.

3) Am impartial about ‘the holidays’ and have never participated in Black Friday. I honestly don’t get the point of Black Friday. I am not comfortable receiving gifts, let alone gifts for any holidays that, for the most part, have been commercialized and exist to make CEOs richer in the USA…But I bust out the Nat King Cole xmas album every holiday season listen to it a gazillion times.

4) Have never watched Scandal or Breaking Bad. I guess it would help if I had a tv and cable I guess.

5) I wrote my first porn themed story when I was 11, yet didn’t lose my virginity until I was 25.

6) I have never had a cup of coffee nor do I wish to drink a cup of coffee. The smell of coffee has made me feel sick, since I was a child.

7) I can’t dance (despite being Black). LOL.

8) I am an agnostic and was raised in an agnostic household.

9) I use a bidet and poop with the door open (hey, how else can I monitor my newborn, 2 year old, and 4 year old?).

10) Am an introvert and am incredibly uncomfortable in social situations, but have ‘learned’ to be a better social animal.

Eating Your Own Placenta vs. Eating Another Animal’s Kidneys: How Culture Teaches Us What is Normal and What is “Gross”

Here is a quick video about some reflections during my post partum period. I’m 4.5 weeks post partum. I had an interesting experience with one of my relatives over what should be done with my placenta.

On Public Speaking about Black Lesbian Social Fiction, Alternative Black Masculinities and Vegan Hip Hop Culture

Book Project I

Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White NewEngland (Sense Publishers, 2014)

Scars is a novel about whiteness, racism, and breaking past the boundaries of normative heterosexuality, as experienced through eighteen year old Savannah Penelope Sales. Savannah is a Black girl, born and raised in a white, working class, and rural New England town. She is in denial of her lesbian sexuality, harbors internalized racism about her body, and is ashamed of being poor. She lives with her ailing mother whose Emphysema is a symptom of a mysterious past of suffering and sacrifice that Savannah is not privy to. When Savannah takes her first trip to a major metropolitan city for two days, she never imagines how it would affect her return back home to her mother…or her capacity to not only love herself, but also those who she thought were her enemies.  Scars is about the journey of friends and family who love Savannah and try to help her heal, all while they too battle their own wounds and scars of being part of multiple systems of oppression and power. Ultimately, Scars makes visible the psychological trauma and scarring that legacies of colonialism have caused to both the descendants of the colonized and the colonizer…and the potential for healing and reconciliation for everyone willing to embark on the journey.

Book Project II

“Living Bling, Going Green”: Redefining Black ‘Manhood’ Through Hip Hop and Veganism 

(I already have a an academic press taking this book. Once I receive the contract this or next week, sign it, and then mail it back, I will officially let you know their name.)

Introduction (draft)

            Meat eating in American society has been equated with being a true man for centuries; vegetarianism and veganism have been equated with femininity (Adams 1990; Potts 2010). However over the past five years, there has been a strong emergence of males promoting veganism and vegetarianism in the USA as a ‘better’ way of being masculine or a man. Though not part of the mainstream media depictions of veganism and vegetarianism, the Black vegan Hip Hop movement reflects such alternative masculinities. How does the Black vegan Hip Hop movement offer different ways of consuming, as well as being a ‘real’ man, from race-conscious, decolonial, and health activist points of view? How do prominent Black male Hip Hop vegans use Hip Hop to teach how food and health have been negatively shaped by corporate capitalism and a meat-centered industrialized food system?; both which are seen as detrimental to, and non-sustainable for, people of color?

This book will be about how veganism is being reshaped and reformulated through ‘race-conscious’ Black American men of the Hip Hop generation.  What makes this book project unique is that mainstream vegetarian/vegan philosophies are usually represented through a white and middle class ‘post-racial’ and animal-rights oriented framework (Harper 2013); missing from this mainstream framework is the significance of how racism, whiteness, and colonialism deeply impact everyone’s relationship to, and construction of, veganism. Alternatively, Black vegan Hip Hop activists collectively engage in consumption from a ‘race-conscious’ and human-health perspective first, educating and mobilizing people of color about health disparities caused by corporate capitalism and legacies of colonialism (i.e. environmental and institutional racisms).

Methods I will be employing are narrative research (i.e. personally narrated histories of the subjects) and discursive analysis of popular Hip Hop vegan media (i.e. books, music videos, and songs). Methodologies used will most likely be drawn from the canons of critical race and decolonial studies. These canons suggest that racism and colonialism have, and continue to organize, power, resources, as well as shape the collective consciousness of the global North, including how one consumes.

Diversity Rhetoric as Healing or Hurting? Decolonial Politics, Self-Care, and Structural Change in a Postracial Era

I gave a talk at Occidental College  Sept 30 2013, 430-6pm. It was called Diversity Rhetoric as Healing or Hurting? Decolonial Politics, Self-Care, and Structural Change in a ‘Post-Racial’ Era. I video recorded it and it’s been uploaded to this blog in 3 segments (see below).

Part I

Part II

Part III

 

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Engaging with the idea that interrogations of race, gender, and whiteness in veganism is not pointless: Reflections on the Sistah Vegan Conference

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(Photo of Dr. A. Breeze Harper)

The Sistah Vegan Web Conference took place on September 14, 2013. It was titled “Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies.” (What, you missed the conference!? No worries, the entire conference was recorded and you can purchase the recordings by clicking on ‘CLICK HERE TO REGISTER’ on the conference page. Even though the conference has ended, clicking on this link will send you to the recordings purchase page: Sistah Vegan Conference Recordings)

It was a terrific 8 hours. Here is a small taste of what we learned, talked about, and shared:

  • How veganism was healing for Black women’s reproductive health
  • Black women, veganism, and the challenges of sizeism
  • Patriarchy as problematic in the USA animal liberation movement
  • PETA’s racialized-sexualized uses of the female body to promote ‘going vegan’ for animals;
  • How the ‘white savior complex’ complicates and causes stress for Black women within certain USA vegan and yoga community spaces
  • The politics of industrialized and processed baby food and creating an indigenous vegan womb ecology
  • The ways in which the Sistah Vegan Anthology motivated so many of us to chose the path of veganism

I think that this conference is very important for a significant number of people interested in critical studies of food, critical studies of animals, and/or Black studies. However, I really suggest this conference to the significant number of ‘post-racial’ (almost always white identified human beings) people who continue to contact me with clear anger (whether it is direct or passive-aggressive) that they can’t believe that I am bringing up how race, gender, and whiteness influence vegan practice, rationale, and consciousness. And such messages arrive on comments sections of my blog, FB pages, or my personal email box with the confession by most that they have never read anything about critical studies of race, black feminist theory, or critical whiteness studies– but they are CONFIDENT and CERTAIN that issues of race, gender, and whiteness have no place to be interrogated within the realm of veganism. They may not recognize this, but this is called [white] entitlement when they approach me in this manner. It is an act of discursive violence and it is the perfect example of how whiteness, as a system of communication and rhetoric, operates. This method of communication is simply not harmonious, not healing, and is the antithesis of non-violence (ahimsa) that veganism embodies for so many of us.

I simply offer that if folk with the above communication behavior want to have a sincere and open discussion about the “point” of the web conference, Sistah Vegan anthology, and my other social science based research, that they start with listening to the Sistah Vegan conference; maybe reading the Sistah Vegan Anthology, and also reading my masters and dissertation work which clearly articulate the relevance and importance of engaging with critical race, black feminist, decolonial, and critical whiteness studies within veganism in the USA. I assure you, both Harvard (my Masters work) and University of California (my dissertation work) would not have been passed me if I had not properly used social-science based research and rigorous methods and methodological approaches to my intersectional work on veganism, culture, and systemic oppression. I would not have received the coveted Dean’s award from Harvard for my Masters thesis work (only given to one candidate per department) and nor would have I received a 2 year fellowship to complete my PhD work from University of California, if the deciding committees at both institutions had determined that my academic inquiries into veganism were ‘pointless’ or ‘race-baiting’ (as many of [mis]interpreted). Please email me at sistahvegan (at) gmail (dot) com if you would like to receive citations and/or copies of my published works, thesis, and/or dissertation to get you started. With that said….

Thanks so much to everyone for making this an incredibly awesome event. I look forward to next year’s!

If you participated in the event and/or listened to the recordings, please post to this blog how you felt about conference, what you learned, what you may have had difficulty with, what was surprising to you, etc.

On a raw vegan diet, Serena Williams won the US Open for 2013

Another example of how one can get enough of everything on a vegan raw diet and win the US Open :-)

Serena Williams practices a raw foods vegan diet and she won the U.S. Open this month.

It would have been really amazing to have had her be a keynote speaker for the Sistah Vegan Web Conference and speak about being a top athlete on a vegan diet. I mostly only see pieces about male athletes on vegan diets, but I rarely get to hear about women– black women!– who are top athletes eating vegan.

Wow, with her strong bones and healthy muscle tone, How DOES she get protein and calcium!!!? (You know, the same tired old questions directed towards folk who don’t eat animals or animal products). :-)

Critical Food & Health Studies Web Conference: “Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies”

Please help spread the word about this Sistah Vegan Project hosted web conference. And you can click here to get the one page pdf flyer to post it somewhere! Thanks.

Critical Food & Health Studies 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: Online Web Conference Through Anymeeting.com

SPEAKER LINE-UP AND SCHEDULE

 

10:00 AM: “Introduction: How Veganism is a Critical Entry Point to Discuss Social, Animal, and Environmental Justice Issues for Black Women and Allies.” Dr. A. Breeze Harper, University of California-Davis.

10:15 AM: “How Whiteness and Patriarchy Hurt Animals.” Anastasia Yarbrough, Inner Activism Services.

10:50 AM: “PETA and the Trope of ‘Activism’: Naturalizing Postfeminism and Postrace Attitudes through Sexualized Bodied Protests.” Aphrodite Kocięda, University of South Florida

11:25 AM: “An Embodied Perspective on Redefining Healthy in a Cultural Context and Examining the Role of Sizeism in the Black Vegan Woman Paradigm.” Nicola Norman.

12:25 PM: “Cosmetic Marginalization: Status, Access and Vegan Beauty Lessons from our Foremothers.” Pilar Harris, Pilar in Motion.

1:00 PM: Open Discussion: “‘Why I Relinquished the Gospel Bird and Became a Vegan’: Girls and Women of African Descent Share Their Reasons for Choosing Veganism.”

1:50 PM: “Midwifery, Medicine and Baby Food Politics: Underground Feminisms and Indigenous Plant-based Foodways and Nutrition.” Claudia Serrato, University of Washington.

2:30 PM: “Constructing a Resource Beyond Parenting as a Black Vegan: Discussing Geography and Theology and Their Contradictions Within.” Candace M. Laughinghouse, Regent University.

3:05 PM: Panel Discussion: “Yoga for the Stress Free Soul Sista And Radical Self-Care Teaching: Exploring Privilege in Yoga & Veganism for Girls of Color” w/ Sari Leigh & Kayla Bitten

4:20 PM: Open Discussion: Reflections on the Sistah Vegan Anthology.

5:00 PM: “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, University of California Davis.

 

Conference Information, Registration Details, and Complete Speaker Abstracts: http://www.sistahveganconference.com

 

Contact Organizer Information:

Dr. A. Breeze Harper

breezeharper@gmail.com

510-564-7870

Critical Whiteness Studies Does Not Mean Being Anti-white against individual white people

 

The other day, someone shared my post about the upcoming Sistah Vegan Conference. The post made it to a Facebook group page that promoted intersections of feminism and vegan philosophy.

After viewing my video about the upcoming Sistah Vegan conference, a ‘white’ immigrant identified woman had an interesting response to my use of the word “Critical whiteness” for the Sistah Vegan conference. She shared that she won’t be supporting a vegan conference that singles out a particular race of people.

Interesting interpretation. Especially since the whole conference is critical race, critical whiteness, critical animal studies, critical feminist oriented, with my keynote at the end talking about a Black feminist critique of Afrocentric veganism, such as its [un]conscious promotion of heterosexism and transphobia.

So, I decided to create this video to once again try to clarify my work as a social science researcher. Please watch the video BEFORE commenting.

The Sistah Vegan web conference is called “Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies.” It is Sept 14, 2013. 10am-6pm PST. You can go here for more information: http://www.sistahveganconference.com

My Sistah Vegan Twitter Account Was Suspended. Very Strange.

If you have been a follower of @sistahvegan on Twitter, perhaps you noticed something strange…. I’ve been suspended, which means you can’t find me on there anymore. With no explanation, my account was suspended 3 days ago. When I clicked on the link that explains why accounts are usually suspended, they say it’s from aggressive follower behavior. I am not sure what that means, but the consequences of them doing this means I have lost over 1500 followers. I only tweet less than 10x a day, so I am not sure if this is considered ‘aggressive.’ My Tweets usually focus on the Sistah Vegan Project and/or critical race, critical whiteness, or critical feminist analysis of food, health, etc.

So, I am wondering if someone has reported me as being ‘aggressive’ because of my focus on race and whiteness in my analysis. I am curious, as I have been called racist a significant number of times for engaging in the bona fide fields of critical race and critical whiteness studies to understand structural oppression in the USA.

The funny thing is that I was never given a warning by Twitter. I tried posting something a few days ago and a message came up telling me that my account had been suspended. My Sistah Vegan Conference is in less than 2 weeks. Already with low number enrolled, I have been relying on Twitter to promote the event. No one from their organization has responded to my dispute yet, so I’m just confused at this point.

Has this ever happened to anyone else? If so, how was it resolved?

I’m really hoping that this was just a random mistake and that no one would try to sabotage the project or accuse my work as being ‘racist’.

2 weeks left until Sistah Vegan conference, 16% filled, no one has registered for over a week…

After recording the above video, I also started thinking about how this conference differs from other vegan and animal liberation oriented conferences that are more expensive and require most folk to take a plane, train, or bus to get to, yet these conferences don’t have challenges with getting spots filled. I have been given conflicting answers/reasons for this. Some say I am underselling/undervaluing the worth of the conference, so people are suspicious that so much information would be so ‘cheap.’ Hence, I should be charging people over $100. Others say it is too expensive and they don’t understand why I can’t make it much cheaper than $45. Others suggest that I can’t expect to sell anything to a broad audience with “Black” in the title, while others say that they did register because of the ‘people of color’ focus.

Or, perhaps it’s as simple as this: do most folk wait until the last minute to register? Just thinking out loud here and would appreciate folk helping to spread the word. Thanks ;-)

Sistah Vegan Conference: http://www.sistahveganconference.com

Funding the Sistah Vegan Project: http://www.gofundme.com/33mv2k

“Got Colon Cancer? Then You Should Have Gone Vegan”

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“The other day, I heard that one of my colleagues at work was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Well, serves him right. He has been consuming dead corpses every damn day for lunch. Every other week, he’s telling us how he went to some restaurant or BBQ party and had ‘the best ribs ever.’ Well, we reap what we sow. I don’t need to worry about colon cancer shit because I’ve been vegan for 12 years and am never going back to being a dead corpse muncher.”

Since becoming vegan, I have run into these above types of stories and/or comments a plethora of times. My initial response is both sadness and disgust, mixed with a lot of confusion. I find a lot of these comments entrenched in anger and rage, fundamentalism and judgmentalism. It’s a strange ‘narrative’ one uses to convince themselves that their born-again-veganism (as most folk who are vegan now were not born and raised into it) saved them from fatal or incapacitating illness. It’s as if they forget that there was a time in which they too ate animals or animal by-products and had a completely different consciousness than they do now.

I have been thinking about how to respond to these types of comments for a few years now, and today, I finally felt like sitting down and giving it a try. Instead of writing a long analytical article, I thought I’d switch up the narrative and write it from this perspective:

“I just received word that Carla was diagnosed with brain cancer. No surprise; she’s had that Smartphone glued to her ear during the last 5 years that I saw her on break. That’s why I never use those damn things and just have a hardline at home. And I’ve sent her several articles telling her how people in sweatshop like conditions make her phone and that mining for the minerals and metals to make her phone destroy the environment and pollute communities. But no, we reap what we sow. And to top it off, she is a die-hard vegan who is always telling us that eating animals will be the death of us. I used to tell her, ‘I’ll stop eating my locally raised egg sandwiches when you stop buying from technology companies that exploit people and pollute the environment.'”

For me, whether it’s vegans shaming/blaming non-vegans who are diagnosed with colon cancer, or omnivores blaming/shaming vegans diagnosed with brain cancer for using Smart phones made with exploited labor, these types of “I’m the most ethical person on the planet, and that is why you got cancer and I didn’t” narratives are really just missing the point; such narratives fail to deeply critique our own narrow focus on a one-method-as cure-all for all the world’s complex problems. Our own self-absorbed narratives often seem to just make us feel better and more superior, when in fact, we may be more part of the problem than we realize.

I remember watching Capitalism, A Love Story by Michael Moore. There was one segment about the mother who was fighting to get justice after her 2 year old died from eating contaminated cow flesh. I remember encountering the opinions of several vegans who basically responded in this manner to her loss: Well, giving your child animal products is child abuse and cruel. I wonder if she cares about how many cows died so her kid could eat a hamburger. Meat eating is unhealthy and cruel, so what did she expect? The underlying message that I heard was that this mother deserved no sympathy and that she and her child got what they deserved for not being vegan. Speechless. For me, this type of behavior is off-putting and the antithesis of thinking holistically, lovingly, and mindfully.

Why do so many of us get some type of sick satisfaction, when those who don’t follow our personal ‘rules for being a good human being’ end up getting sick, hurt, etc.? Why is it so hard to connect with all suffering and pain? Why is it so conditional?

(Next month is the Sistah Vegan Web Conference. Sept 14, 2013. 10am-6pm PST). Go to www.sistahveganconference.com to learn more and register).

23 Days Left Until Sistah Vegan Web Conference. Register Now to Save Your Spot

23 Days Left Until Sistah Vegan Web Conference. Register Now to Save Your Spot.

Don’t wait until the last minute.

Registration is limited.

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1st Annual Sistah Vegan 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. 

Registration $45.00

Conference Recordings: The entire conference will be recorded and downloadable 24-48 hours after the event. Those who have already paid for the LIVE conference viewing will have access to the recordings. However, if you simply want to purchase the recordings, that option is available for $25.99. However, this option will not be available until the recordings have been processed. Hence, you cannot register to download the recordings until 24-48 hours after the event.

Please note that anyone can register as an audience member to learn about the critical and embodied perspectives of women of color vegans. 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.

Click here to register

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SPEAKER LINE UP AND SCHEDULE

(PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS A TENTATIVE SCHEDULE AND THAT IT COULD POTENTIALLY CHANGE)

10:00 AM PST

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.

——————————————–

10:15 AM PST

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.

____________________________________________ 

10:50 AM PST

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.

_________________________

11:25 AM PST

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: 30 minutes

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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Break 12:00 PM PST

____________________________________________ 

12:25 PM PST

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’.

____________________________________________ 

1:00 PM PST

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.

____________________________________________ 

1:50 PM PST

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

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.

____________________________________________ 

2:30 PM PST

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.

____________________________________________ 

3:05 PM PST

Panel DiscussionYoga 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.

_________________________________

Break 4:00 pm PST

_________________________________

4:20 PM PST

Open Discussion: Reflections on the Sistah Vegan Anthology

Moderator: Dr. A. Breeze Harper (tenative)

Length:  35 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.

___________________

5:00 PM PST

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?

Registration Fee:  $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.

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