Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 5: Who says vegans don’t care about human rights?

Fluffy the Vegan Unicorn here:

Being that I am an ethereal being, who only wants to best for everyone, animals, and humans alike, I am here to share why human rights are important for vegans to think about and make food decisions based around in addition to animal rights. I implore you to treat humans as compassionately as you do animals. Humans are animals too, and deserving of peace and protection. Making excuses as to why human beings do not deserve fair treatment, such as some humans’ having the capacity for evil, will not challenge or end any suffering. Try to think of the essence and energy of me, a beautiful, positive unicorn who loves everybody and can spread love everywhere the next time you want to turn away from making a decision that will be good for the rights of both humans and animals.

Now I am sending some of that energy over to Laura, who will share some basic information on human rights and her favorite vegan resources doing powerful work for the vegan movement that also happen to include human rights in their missions.

Laura says:

Human rights are an expansive concept. To gain an understanding of what is generally understood to be considered universal human rights, check out the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights here. Though these rights have been declared and adopted by the UN, they are constantly being violated around the world and in the United States.

I want to try to keep this to food-related human rights issues since vegan MoFo stands for Month of Food, but know that I’m happy to have more comprehensive discussions the comprehensive subject of human rights more with others.

Food justice, cultural awareness, racism, classism, ableism, health, ethnocentrism, are just a few of the topics we should be aware of when we have conversations about veganism and making it a more inclusive movement.

As a social justice-minded white person, I want to lift up, value, and listen to the voices of people of color, women and people who are trans or gender non-conforming, people with disabilities and chronic illnesses (different than my own), people of different religions, and socioeconomic statuses when they say white vegans need to recognize their privilege and consider their criticisms about how the general vegan movement has failed to consider or be sensitive to their struggles and needs.

I believe that as a white person I need to educate myself about human rights and social justice, racism, and beyond, not rely on asking others who have experienced injustices to tell me how it is. It is not their responsibility and can contribute to further oppression.

So, I feel it is best, at this point, to share some of the resources, blogs, websites, books, etc. I have found helpful in educating myself. I hope if you are like me, that these resources open your eyes to others’ struggles in the vegan community and beyond and inspire you to take action towards justice. If you are a person who has experienced oppression from vegans in regards to your race/sex/gender/disability/class/etc. that some of these resources will be encouraging if you have not seen them yet.

These are just a small handful, but anyone is welcome to share more of these in the comments.

Food Empowerment Project. Website: http://www.foodispower.org/

F.E.P is a nonprofit vegan food justice organization. They seek to educate vegans about human rights issues present in chocolate, bananas, coffee, and more. They are behind an extensive amount of research on chocolate companies and whether they violate human rights (of children especially) and started a list of vegan chocolate lists they would recommend or not recommend based on their research. The list is on their website and also available as a searchable smartphone app.

Just as importantly, Food Empowerment Project addresses farm workers rights, food insecurity and lack of access to healthy foods in their community, provides delicious recipes for vegan Mexican food, and so much more. Their website is available in both Spanish and English.

Decolonize Your Diet. Website: http://decolonizeyourdiet.org/

This is a resource designed for and by Latinos/as with the purpose to reclaim their food choices to honor their ancestors who were colonized. They share recipes, information about food ingredients, herbs and tea, cooking techniques, health, and more. They have published a cookbook and have an index of their recipes on their website. When you visit the site, be sure to click on “kindred spirits” where they share other people and organizations in line with their mission.

Sistah Vegan Project. Website: http://www.sistahvegan.com/

Dr. A. Breeze Harper has lots of information on her website, in her books, on social media, in podcasts, and elsewhere about her own experiences being a black, feminist, vegan, scholar. Her book Sistah Vegan highlighted her own and other women of color’s experiences. It is considered a must-read.

Vegan Feminist Network. Website: http://veganfeministnetwork.com/

Vegan Feminist Network has a wealth of information on vegan intersectional feminism. Their website is a source for essays on almost any topic you can think of and beyond. They have comprehensive resources for all kinds of issues, including tips for understanding racism and sexism, for male allies,  reading lists, and more. I especially like their page titled “What You Can Do!” They are also on social media and have a podcast.

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So please check them all out and educate yourself on the importance of honoring human rights! Hopefully, the more of us that become aware of these issues, the less this perception of vegans not caring about humans will be true.

I’ve been a little overwhelmed by writing these last two posts, but I hope that they are useful to you and have stimulated some thoughts. It is now time I get started cooking my dinner tonight, which I hope will be successful and that I can share with you tomorrow to smash the misconception that vegan cheese is not real cheese!

 

 

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I’ve been cooking up a storm for a great cause!

Hey everyone,

So my blogging has been lagging a bit, and I am sorry, but recently I have been busy organizing a big food project for a non profit organization’s event I love.

LADIES ROCK! CAMP, by Girls Rock! Rhode Island is this weekend!

Since participating in the Ladies Rock Camp in 2012, I have been fairly committed to being a volunteer as much as I can, especially at the past two Summer camps for girls. For this Ladies Rock camp, I was asked to coordinate the food for it. It’s a fundraiser for the work they do throughout the year but especially for the Summer Camp, so having yummy food to energize and nourish the lady campers is super important!

Here’s a picture of me participating (or I should probably say ROCKING) in the Showcase (I turned around to face the crowd shortly after, it was all part of the show haha):

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It was an empowering, special, fun and informative learning experience for me. Well, not just a learning experience–but the “experience” (of any sort) of a lifetime!

As a teen growing up I loved music and wished there was something like this for me. I longed to be a masterful musician, something that really frustrated me because music was always a difficult subject for me to pick up.

I dabbled with guitar but it was difficult to find a good teacher who encouraged me not to give up and let me learn in a way that made sense for me. I eventually gave up because I was only being taught old classic rock songs my dad and this particular teacher liked, as well as that I seem to have more of an intuitive learning style with music, and am not as good at picking up skills through formal, music theory teaching methods.

Girls Rock! RI (and the many other Girls Rock camps across the country and world) is a big solution for girls today who are like me when I was an adolescent. If it wasn’t for Girls Rock, many of these girls would not have the encouragement, support, or option to play and learn rock music. As an adult entering the camp in 2012, I thought I was doomed and would not do well as a vocalist. I was discouraged a lot for my singing voice by a lot of people around me growing up, and had to work through those issues. I had always wanted to sing, but was really afraid. I did it, and I saw such an improvement in myself.

My favorite part though, is beyond the music. Whether you are participating in a program as an adult or adolescent, there are multiple opportunities to bond with fellow females, relate and share experiences that are unique to being a woman or girl, gain empowerment, support, and learn new things (like notable figures in the history of rock–the females who made an impact that are often not mentioned in rock history).

This is by far the biggest event I’ve ever had to make food for (I’m getting a lot of help cooking, but I have also been a cooking machine myself). It has been a lot of work but also a lot of fun, and I cannot wait to hear what people think of some of my favorite foods and my new recipes I have made. I was too scared to make any unique recipes up myself, just in case they flopped, but eventually I hope to get to that point where I feel confident enough with my recipe creations to debut a dish for an event such as this!

The foods I am making are all vegan and gluten free (with maybe a few last minute exceptions to some non-gluten free stuff).They include items such as homemade granola, cookies, cashew cream cheeses and butters, a yummy bean dish, salad dressing, etc! Many other people have stepped up to also donate their time and cooking skills, as well as purchasing items we need and donating them! So I want to thank them all here if they are reading this by any chance!

Here are a few links in case you are interested in getting involved and learning more:

Girls Rock! RI’s website

Girls Rock Camp Alliance (to find if there is a camp near you if you do not live in RI, and much more)

An article about Girls Rock RI in the Providence Phoenix 

And if you’re in RI come to the showcase for this Ladies Rock camp! It is on Sunday the 10th, at 7pm at Firehouse 13.