“She Didn’t Look Depressed to Me”: On Post Partum Depression and Funky Smelling [Black] Girls

Photo credit: https://webstockreview.net/explore/deodorant-clipart-underarm/

“ON POST PARTUM DEPRESSION AND ‘FUNKY’ SMELLING GIRLS” By Dr. A. Breeze Harper
This was written in 2014, but I’m re-sharing…
(2014) The other week I was at my community park in Berkeley, CA. I overheard two men who work at the community park center, talking to each other. One of the men told his colleague that he saw a woman colleague dancing at a club. He said that she was on disability leave because she had postpartum depression. Shaking his head disapprovingly at his colleague, he said, “I saw her at that club and she was having a good time. She didn’t look depressed to me.”It wasn’t my conversation so I didn’t come over to correct this man and his assumptions about what it ‘looks like to be depressed.’ I decided to be ‘polite’ over being ‘politically correct’. Should have I?
…But then, a few days later, the same man started talking to me about one of the kids there at the park who was attending the summer camp program. He informed me that one of the preteen girls smelled ‘really funky’ and that he had to tell her mother that she needed better hygiene practices. He said that her mother was offended and he told me he said, “Well, would it be better if one of her friends told her she was really funky?” He said she needed antiperspirant. So, this 50 something year old man thought he was trying to be helpful, but I found it really uncomfortable that he was even talking to me about this.
When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I learned how I was supposed to be ‘ashamed’ of smelling bad. Boys apparently could smell nasty, but not us girls. It was all around me: ridiculous commercials that reminded me how disgusting and shameful it is to smell like less than a prize winning rose as a girl. I also remember my mother telling me that I should make an effort to make sure I don’t smell while on my period. I never was able to solve that ‘problem’ though, as I was always very odoriferous during Aunt Flo’s visit. Puberty basically meant spending a lot of time using soaps, sprays, and anti-perspiration deodorants to mask my natural bodily odors; products that I would later learn were horrendous for my health.
Unfortunately, I grew up in an interesting culture in which people like my mother and this man at the park believe that one should use harsh chemicals to mask the shame of natural odors. And on top of this, I would later learn that as the only Black girl in an entirely white K-12 school system, I simply could not smell or make it appear that I had ‘bad’ hygiene practices because I had to represent an entire race of people (that, in itself, is another story!).
And of course most of us who subscribe to this culture don’t even know that products such as anti-perspiration deodorants are toxic to our systems. So, as this man at the park explained how he confronted this mother about her daughter’s odor, I kept thinking how this girl shouldn’t dunk her body in a bunch of chemicals that will increase her likelihood of yeast infections (FDS use) or using just to make people like this man, happy. But, I also thought about how this man commenting about her hygiene practices is Black and so is she. How much did that have to do with his need to tell her mother? Is he concerned about this issue with all kids he helps to take care of during summer camp, or are Black girls more of a concern because he doesn’t want them ’embarrass’ all Black people?
Overall, this man’s perspective on girl/woman’s bodily processes (hormonal changes that cause postpartum depression and certain body odors starting with puberty) was quite disconcerting for me. However, I know that he is not an anomaly but rather represents what a majority of those in the USA think.
Maybe I will return to that park, armed with data that shows how postpartum depression is real and that most Americans have an unhealthy relationship with how they deal with the fragrant human body? I can leave a gentle note letting him know how his perspective is potentially harmful and hurtful.
Original and other posts can be found here: http://sistahvegan.com/2014/07/27/she-didnt-look-depressed-to-me-on-postpartum-depression-and-funky-smelling-girls/
Photo credit: https://webstockreview.net/explore/deodorant-clipart-underarm/

Almond Cheese with a Side of Diversity

Our next webinar by Dr. A. Breeze Harper is around the corner. With the rise in plant-based foods sector in the USA, find out how to increase social impact, diverse recruitment/retainment, marketing, and profit with a well integrated racial diversity and inclusion plan. Find out more by clicking on the link after the photo below.

Go here for more information: https://criticaldiversitysolutions.com/webinars-and-live-events/

[Webinar] Racial Diversity and Inclusion for Plant Based Foods Businesses

Sept. 10, 2019
10am-2pm PST

Ok, if you haven’t already, please sign up for an Intro to Racial Diversity and Inclusion in Plant-Based Food Business. We have individual tickets as well as organization (small, medium, large).

This is an incredibly important time to be thinking about racial diversity and inclusion in plant-based food business. It’s an era of food-tech startups. It’s also an era in which 92% of VCs are white men who are funding the same demographic at 91% while demographics such as Black women, are less than 1% funded.

Did you know USA alone loses 300 billion dollars in yearly revenue when nonwhite business owners are not funded or invested in?

It also means a lack of product innovation and profit that comes from having a racially diverse talent force. I mention this because so many may not prioritize the social/racial justice aspect in their business model in what is ‘loss’ when business startups are homogenous– but, yes, there is a loss of product innovation and yea, profit!!

However, if you want social impact and justice to be one of the primary focuses of your plant-based food business, but not sure how to start thinking about it…, then you may want to think about what talent is loss when a properly implemented inclusion strategy is not enacted and measured in your plant based food workplace. You lose more diverse perspectives on how to create a better product that can and does lead to positive environmental impact (plant based diets are the top ways in which climate change can be tackled).

Join us on September 10, 2019 via webinar. Can’t attend live? No worries, we have recordings of the event available for people who have registered. Click on the link below.

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

My Newest Novel: Black Girl Magic Across Space and Time, Critique of Green Capitalism, and Technocracy

I am writing a new book (as many of you know). Well, actually two books.

One is an Afro-futuristic themed novel, integrating ethical food objects to tell the story of systemic racism, violence, green capitalism, and the colonization of another planet to sustain the ‘better’ class of plant-based consuming elite….

My other one is a critical memoir, Black, Mama, Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, and Toddler Tantrums.

Would anyone like to connect me with a publisher that you think would be interested in the new NOVEL that I am writing? I have already written two books: one is an anthology (Sistah Vegan) and the other is a social fiction novel (Scars). Both were groundbreaking in their approaches to interrogations of Black women and girls’ experience in the USA.

My academic credentials: BA, MA, PhD.

Scholar Website: www.abreezeharper.com

About Sistah Vegan Book: https://lanternbooks.presswarehouse.com/books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=235010

About Scars Book: https://brill.com/view/title/37503?lang=en

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

Date: September 10, 2019

Time:  10am-2pm PST

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

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

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


Select Registration Type




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

Record Breaking News:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And she persisted…

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

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

Eva Luna Harper-Zahn and Dr. Oliver Zahn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Four Silly Harper-Zahn kids.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pregnant? Check out this webinar below:

Take me to the pregnancy webinar! (Click here)

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


ABOUT DR. A. BREEZE HARPER

Dr. A. Breeze Harper

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

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

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

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

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

This is a pre-recorded webinar you can download.





Description of Webinar

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

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

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

Webinar Topics Covered Below in Mp4

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

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

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

ABOUT DR. A. BREEZE HARPER

Dr. A. Breeze Harper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks. I appreciate everyone’s support!

ABOUT DR. A. BREEZE HARPER

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

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

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

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

Dear “Woke” White People…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT DR. A. BREEZE HARPER

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

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

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

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