Vegans of Color

Because we don’t have the luxury of being single-issue

Conference Update: Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies August 15, 2013

Filed under: vegan — Dr. A. Breeze Harper @ 1:19 pm

(Updated with times for each presentation)

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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’.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Break 4:00 pm PST

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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.

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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.

 

“How do you like Germany so far? I mean, you’re Black”: On [Anti-]Racism and Food Erotica January 2, 2013

Filed under: vegan — Dr. A. Breeze Harper @ 8:22 am
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Breeze Harper, 2012 New Years Eve at a club in München. Failed afro attempt. Ended looking like a ‘poodle.’ The Afro just wouldn’t stay up. LOL.

On December 30, 2012, I went to one of the few cafes open on Sunday in Germany. The manager tried to speak to me in German, but I failed big time and answered in Spanish. I do this weird thing that when I’m spoken to in German,  I respond in Spanish 50% of the time. Weird, no? Talk to me in Spanish and I will respond in English 50% of the time. Anyway, I digress…

…The manager ended up speaking to me in Spanish and English. After a few minutes of chatting about where I learned Spanish and what I am doing in Germany, he bluntly said, “How do you like Germany so far? I mean, [because] you’re Black.” I replied that I get stared at all the time, but I’m still enjoying myself. He folded his arms and shook his head, “Germany is full of Nazis once you leave the metropolitan [München] area. They are racists.” He shook his head, “I don’t really like it [here in Germany]. I don’t have a problem with anybody, black, white, whatever, but they do.” I have to admit that this is the first time I have encountered someone living in München, during my trip, who  offered to share this particular interpretation of Germany with me. I couldn’t agree or disagree with him about Germany being ‘full of Nazis’, as I have only spent most of my time in the metropolitan area. I told him that I get stared at in the USA all the time, once I leave most cities and enter mostly white areas, so my Germany experience is not a surprise for me. I was unable to read his ethnicity, but he  did not ‘pass’ as white– or, rather, how I have come to define ‘whiteness’, which is in the USA socio-historical context. He had an olive complexion and black hair.

Yesterday, someone commented on my post about my Tollwood experience, wishing that my in-laws move somewhere in which I would feel ‘at home’ versus a ‘racialized other.’ I appreciated their concern about me not feeling as comfortable or ‘at home’ as I should be in predominantly white spaces, but in my opinion, my in-laws shouldn’t have to move anywhere for me (or anyone else who doesn’t look like the ‘tribe’ of a particular region) to feel ‘at home.’ I would like to see that my in laws ‘stay’ and that Germany’s white collective consciousness continue to ‘move’ more forward, towards a creation of an unconditional love for all people who exist in these [socially constructed] borders of the German nation. Let’s remember: Germany has come a long way since the era of nationalized and institutionalized white supremacist Nazism. The mere fact that I can travel to here, get around the city, and be alive at the end of the day is an indication of a ‘move’ of national consciousness. But I am still really thinking about the cafe manager’s brief conversation with me and his strong use– maybe even inflammatory (?)– of the phrase, “Germany is full of Nazis….” Actually, in tandem with this, I think this about my own homeland: “USA is full of white supremacists who have no problem publicly displaying their enragement about the POTUS being non-white.” Fresh in my mind is the Facebook page that depicts Obama being lynched, with the caption “Rope”, instead of “Hope”with the sentence, “Hang the bastard.”

But, I am hopeful. The other day, while waiting for the S Bahn (subway train) at Rosenheimer platz , I saw an advertisement on one of the many widescreen monitors they have on the subway walls. Portrayed was a ‘brown’ man accidently bumping into someone at a biergarten. He trips and accidently touches the shoulder of a white woman sitting down. The white man across from her becomes very angry and violent that this ‘brown’ man touched her. He grabs the brown man and is about to beat him up. The image freezes and then pans out to show that all of Germany is watching and will NOT tolerate such racialized and violent responses/behaviors to this ‘brown’ man’s sincere mistake. I didn’t know this was going on until the captions were translated for me. Has anyone else seen these ads? I have been trying to search for them on the Internet all morning.

Food Erotica!!!!!

On New Year’s Eve, I visited a shopping center dedicated to edible yumminess. My end goal was the new vegan shoppe called Boonian. Not all the photos below are from Boonian. The first ones are from Boonian. I spoke with the founder and he is from South Dakota, USA. I ended up eating a seitan sandwich and broccoli salad for lunch.

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Sandwich: Seitan yumminess from Boonian.

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And array of vegan wines offered by Boonian….

And wishing these were vegan……

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Angela Davis on eating chickens, Occupy, and including animals in social justice initiative of the 99% March 3, 2012

Filed under: vegan — Dr. A. Breeze Harper @ 2:34 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I asked Angela Davis about extending compassion beyond humans as part of social justice and making Occupy Movement successful.

I got to ask her my question about something she alluded to in her keynote, that sounded like she is pro-vegan and anti-speciesist. My husband video recorded my question and the answer she gave me. I felt silly that I didn’t have a copy of Sistah Vegan on me so she could have that reference! ARGGGHHH!!!

And yes, I mispronounced her name… but I was nervous dammit! I mean, it’s not like everyday I get to ask one of my top critical feminist theorists a question!

 

Sad Livestock in the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant No-Entry Zone- another victims of the disaster January 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized,vegan — mcavalier @ 10:10 am

“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated”- it is a MahatmaGandhi’s quote.   If Gandhi saw how the livestock in Fukushima have been treated, he would judge us as a heartless nation.

On May 12, 2011, Prime Minister Kan (Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters) ordered the Fukushima Governor to euthanize the remaining livestock in the 20km no-entry zone. Since livestock are someone’s property, Fukushima prefecture has to obtain permission from the owners of the livestock when euthanizing. The decision was made based on the Act on Special Measures Concerning Nuclear Emergency. The method of euthanazia should comply with the ones set forth in the guidelines of OIE (The World Organization for Animal Health) and American Veterinary Medical Association (The AVMA). Based on that, the Japanese government uses drugs like tranquilizers and muscle-relaxants to euthanize the animals. There is no humane way of killing, animals always faint in agony before given any of these drugs that definitely put them to death.

The officials of Fukushima government stated that “these livestock does not have any market value. By destroying them, livestock farmers can start a new life.”  Animals are property of people. Livestock does not have any value other than as “products.”

According to Yomiuri Newspaper, issued on April 24 2011, there were 4,000 cattle, 30,000 pigs, 630,000 chickens and 100 horses in the 9 effected villages in Fukushima. Most of the pigs and chickens had died by last summer.

Yomiuri newspaper reports that 80% of cattle in the affected areas still remain trapped in the 20 km no-entry zone, as of October 20, 2011. Some of them were abandoned and left to their own devices, while others left locked enclosures to suffer slow death. Those that have been abandoned are being described by Yomiuri, as “invading people’s property.”

These animals are also the victims of human’s arrogance and neglect. They are dying through no fault of their own and in a very sad irony the enslaved creatures who through this terrible event gained their freedom for brief time, are slaughtered in the end, none the less.  They are guilty of nothing other than being non-human.

<references>

OIE:

http://www.oie.int/index.php?id=169&L=0&htmfile=chapitre_1.7.6.htm

AVMA:

http://www.avma.org/

Yomiuri Newspaper “野良牛 捕獲1割未満 警戒区域の民家被害” Nov.10, 2011:

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20111109-OYT1T01023.htm?from=tw

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SALA Network is an animal shelter located in Tokyo. The volunteers go up to Fukushima to feed stray livestock and abondaned dogs and cats. They have pictures and are collecting petitions.
 

Black Vegan Mammy-ism: Sacrificing My Emotional Health for the Vegan Status Quo July 14, 2011

Filed under: vegan — Dr. A. Breeze Harper @ 3:51 pm

In this video I talk about how I struggle with not being a “mammy” when it comes to accommodating the emotional needs of particular white vegans who do not extend mindfulness to me when they talk to me about ‘their’ post-racial view of veganism.

Here is a useful article to read to understand more about what I mean by “mammyism” . I don’t agree with a lot in this article, but it does give a basic premise of mammyism:

Abdullah, Afi Samelia. “Mammy-Ism: A Diagnosis of Psychological Misorientation for Women of African Descent.” JOURNAL OF BLACK PSYCHOLOGY 24, no. 2 (1998): 196-210.

 

Milk: the new PMS panacea July 13, 2011

Filed under: vegan — xmabaitx @ 10:56 pm
Tags: , , ,

As if we didn’t need any more evidence that the animal product industry is an intrinsic element of the perpetuation of male supremacy.  This is actually an update of an ad from 2005 which featured pathetic looking men jamming into a grocery store lines, their arms occupied by multiple milk cartons.  I’m tempted to write a rather long treatise on the various social implications of this ad campaign, but I’m inclined to think that the pictures and links will speak for themselves.

If you’re interested in feeling further offended here’s the mini-site for the campaign:

http://www.everythingidoiswrong.org/#/

 

 

White male vegan paternalism: Or, on how to offend Black Veg*n Reiki Community June 21, 2011

Filed under: vegan — Dr. A. Breeze Harper @ 5:21 pm
Tags: ,

In this video I speak about how white male middle-class paternalism ended up offending and upsetting an African American practitioner of vegetarianism and Reiki. This video is an example of how white middle class paternalistic rhetoric becomes an impediment when communicating with “other” communities that don’t fit into the racial-class-gender status quo’s conception of ‘logical healing systems’ or ‘morality.’ I also didn’t say this in the video, but my friend kept the identity of the person who moderated the listserv, a secret, and sent me the quoted response she got from the moderator, in terms of she wanting to post about Reiki.


In this video I speak about how I am also raising money to finish my PhD/dissertation.

If you like what you hear and believe in the necessity of anti-racist and critical whiteness analysis within veganism (in order to help build coalitions and solidarity), please contribute to my fund. I am seeking $10,000 by September to register for school. Thus far, I have received $3200 in contributions (Thank you!!). My critical race and critical vegan dissertation fellowship was not renewed for 2011-2012 year, so this is why I’m seeking assistance. You can email a paypal donation to breezeharper (at) gmail (dot) com. If you’re not comfortable with that, you can email me and I can provide a postal mailing address. Thanks.

 

 
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