Vegans of Color

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

Soy v. Sperm Comment on VegNews October 28, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Amie "Breeze" Harper @ 12:03 pm

On page 30 of the Nov & Dec 2008 VegNews, there is an article titled, “Soy v. Sperm.” I found the last part of this excerpt ‘interesting’ and highlighted it in bold font. Any thoughts?

In Newspapers, Magazines, and Blogs are the world, the recent headline said it all: “Tofu a day, sperm goes away.” “Soy vey! Does eating tofu lower sperm count?” And, my favorite, “Soy-anara sperm!”

Journalist just love a good excuse to splash “sperm” across the page- which they did this past summer with porn-start bravado when a study in the online journal Human Reproduction singled out soy as a possible sperm tamer, reducing the potent protein rockets by as much as 41 million per milliliter in guys who ate just one portion of soy every two days.

Forty million! Is that enough to squelch the reproductive dreams of tofu-burger-chomping couples everywhere? Has anyone told Asians about this? Because they eat a ton of soy, most likely for the extra energy they need to keep up with all the children they’re miraculously producing with their lackluster sperm counts.


High Fructose Corn Syrup October 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Royce @ 11:04 am
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So I haven’t posted in quite a while, but classes are more time consuming than I had imagined. Anyway some friends told me about a series of ads for high fructose corn syrup, and one of them really caught my eye:

I just found the beginning of the first ad to be extremly accurate. I don’t know about all of you, but my experience with some white folks is that they judge my eating habits when I’m not the healthiest eater, but eat things I grew up with. Drink is one of those things– I love drink, and I felt like the racial connotations of this ad were obvious. Though some of my white friends didn’t see it as racially charged, all my friends of color definitely did.

And it makes me wonder if white folks judging our diets, and being vocal about it, is a common occurance for a lot of us.


Sistah Vegan Podcast as “90% Racism; 10% Veganism” October 17, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Amie "Breeze" Harper @ 5:51 pm

Hi folk,

I found this comment to my Sistah Vegan podcast show quite interesting but not surprising. I’m still trying to understand why my podcasts are “racist”.

“90% racism, 10% veganism

This is one bitter, whiney and non-constructive podcast. If you wanna focus on what “colonialism” has done to the black “diaspora” and never let go, you’ll LOVE this. If you wanna learn about veganism, or get inspired or get ideas about how to help animals, build a better world, or improve your health or environment, you’re wasting your time here.”

If folk have listened to my podcast and actually benefited from it, I’d appreciate positive comments on iTunes. If you go into iTunes store and search for Sistah Vegan Project, my show comes up.

I’m quite impressed but not surprised that if I “dare” talk about these topics within veganism, certain people become hostile then label me as “racist”. In my 2nd to last podcast, I merely reflect on how racism and speciesism in my town happened simultaneously while I was growing up and ask how they are connected to each other; I also ask how reflecting on racism and whiteness can better help AR and Vegan people see these possible links to speciesism. Somehow my podcast ends up being “racist”. And I have made it clear, time and time again, that the Sistah Vegan project looks at how race/racialization/racism, speciesism, and “whiteness as the norm”, intersect with vegan experiences, praxis and philosophies mainly in the lifes of women of color vegans.

I know this is just the comment of 1 person (there are only 2 comments all together), but found it interesting.


black vegetarian society of GA calender of events October 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — nosnowhere @ 6:03 am

via oya:

Black Vegetarian Society of GA

Calendar of Events~

Mark Your Calendars Now! To register or for more information regarding the following programs, contact the numbers or websites listed. Thank you.


Date: Sunday, October 19
Time: 2-5 p.m.

WHAT: Breadmaking 101: With or Without Gadgets

HOSTED BY: Oakhurst Community Garden Project

DETAILS: Enjoy an afternoon baking bread with two home bakers, Cynthia Cass and Rhonda Wildman. We will cover everything from grinding the wheat to slicing the loaf and will bring our gaggle of gadgets that have helped make the process easier for each of us. Leave with a loaf of your own. No baking prerequisites for this class.

COST: $25 Garden members, $30 non-members

WHERE: Oakhurst Community Garden Project, 435 Oakview Road, Decatur GA 30030, visit http://www.oakhurstgarden. org, (678) 642-4977 ……….


Date: Saturday, October 18Time: 7:00pm

SPEAKER: Historian Ashra Kwesi Returns to AtlantaTOPIC: Sacred Knowledge Stolen from Africa…From Secret Societes, Banking Systems, To King Tut and Beyond

HOSTED BY: The Luvgarden Visit http://www.luvgarden. org, http://www.musicalhealers.
com, 404 250 4703

COST: $10 in advance / $15 at the door

WHERE: Shrine of the Black Madonna, 946 Ralph David Abernathy,Blvd; Atlanta,GA 30310 ……….


Date: Wednesday, October 22Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.

WHAT: Make Your Own MedicineHOSTED BY: Oakhurst Community Garden Project

DETAILS: Plan for the winter months by making your own medicine to help your family through colds and flu. Learn to make tinctures, cough syrups and other helpful tools. Taught by Charli Vogt, RN, MN, MPH, and herbalist has a private practice in Decatur to help people be healthy in mind body and spirit. Charli has a commitment to help you understand how to be independent and care for your family in a concientious way. Charli’s enthusiasm and wide knowledge has students coming back over and over to her classes. Bring containers to carry home the medicine you make.

COST: $25 Garden members, $30 non-members

WHERE: Oakhurst Community Garden Project, 435 Oakview Road, Decatur GA 30030

Visit http://www.oakhurstgarden. org, (678) 642-4977 ……….


Date: Monday, October 27
Time: 6-8 p.m.

WHAT: Indian Vegetarian Cooking

HOSTED BY: Oakhurst Community Garden Project

DETAILS: Learn tried and true Indian family recipes with Archna Becker a native of India and owner of the Bhojanic restaurant and ANIC Catering. Archna will introduce you to a full range of spices that are used in Indian cooking with a demonstration on making a cauliflower dish, lentils and rice.

COST: $25 Garden members, $30 non-members

WHERE: Oakhurst Community Garden Project, 435 Oakview Road, Decatur GA 30030 Visit http://www.oakhurstgarden. org, (678) 642-4977 ……..


To register or for more information regarding any of the programs, contact the numbers or websites listed. Thank you.


Veganism and Thanksgiving October 14, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Amie "Breeze" Harper @ 6:04 pm

I have a question for folk: How do y’all feel about Thanksgiving in the USA? A friend pointed out to me that he practices veganism as a way of compassion, anti-cruelty and harmlessness. Hence, celebrating Thanksgiving to him is “cruel”, simply because of it’s link to Native American genocide in the USA. What is your take on the celebration of Thanksgiving and do you think about these questions he raises at all? Personally, I didn’t grow up in a household that celebrated Thanksgiving (or any traditional USAmerican holidays), so I don’ really have that much to say about it but am wondering about this from people who perhaps were raised in households that celebrated Thanksgiving and how it relates to their vegan philosophy now.



Factory Farming Goes Mainstream October 13, 2008

Filed under: vegan — Kanika Ameerah @ 10:43 pm
Tags: ,

Tomorrow’s Oprah will feature an investigative report involving factory farming.   Here’s a brief description of the show:

Lisa Ling Reports: How We Treat the Animals We Eat

Have you ever wondered what cage-free or free range really means? Lisa Ling takes a rare look inside some of America’s farms. Where does our food come from?


Considering how wide Oprah’s audience is, I am quite elated that she decided to do a show on factory farming.   I highly doubt if masses of people will go veg upon seeing the show, but if mainstream America finally learns where their meat comes from, perhaps there will be an outcry large enough to put a stop to the suffering of farm animals.

I will check out Oprah tomorrow after work if I can (normally, I am home when her show is half-over), but I’d love to see open discourse and reviews from others who have seen the show.  Discuss!  🙂


Cattle, Mavericks, and McCain October 7, 2008

Filed under: vegan — Joselle @ 12:57 pm
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A very interesting article in today’s New York Times on the origin of the word “maverick,” and why the Maverick family would like McCain and Palin to stop bandying about a term they have no business claiming:

“I’m just enraged that McCain calls himself a maverick,” said Terrellita Maverick, 82, a San Antonio native who proudly carries the name of a family that has been known for its progressive politics since the 1600s, when an early ancestor in Boston got into trouble with the law over his agitation for the rights of indentured servants.

In the 1800s, Samuel Augustus Maverick went to Texas and became known for not branding his cattle. He was more interested in keeping track of the land he owned than the livestock on it, Ms. Maverick said; unbranded cattle, then, were called “Maverick’s.” The name came to mean anyone who didn’t bear another’s brand…

It should come as no surprise that Ms. Maverick insists that John McCain, who has voted so often with his party, “is in no way a maverick, in uppercase or lowercase…

“He’s a Republican,” she said. “He’s branded.”

It’s also no surprise that the desperate McCain/Palin ticket, which has co-opted the language and ideals of the Obama/Biden campaign while continuing to mudsling and kick up racist and anti-Muslim sentiments, would appropriate and misuse a term that stands for progressive politics. While Palin “promotes the brutal and unethical aerial hunting of wolves and other wildlife,” she and McCain steal a term that signifies a group of animals that, while not free by any stretch of the imagination, were at least not mutilated.

I’m just hoping the McCain campaign continues to tank. This small article is one more example of why they should. They are all hate and subterfuge and no substance.


Skinny Bitch, Pregnancy, and White Heteronormativity October 6, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Amie "Breeze" Harper @ 11:23 am

I wanted to share my review of the book, “Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven”. It was “interesting” to pick up because there are NO current “mainstream” books out there that focus on veganism and pregnancy. I say “mainstream” because this “franchise” is a New York Times bestseller and I guess that is how I’m defining “mainstream” in this sense. I know there are “underground” voices producing such literature, but was simply interested in seeing what “mainstream” (i.e.: for white middle class USA demographic) vegan pregnancy book would look like.

I also understand the authors “style” of writing, so their cursing and “in your face” approach didn’t really bother me because I knew what to expect: lots of swearing and phrases like, “Get off you fat ass and stop being lazy!” I tried to not let it “bother” me.

Here are my 3 major critiques below:

1) that this book’s audience is most likely middle class people who live in locations where a whole foods vegan diet is “easy”. I question how feasible any whole foods diet is (vegan or omnivorous) for people who are the working poor in this country and located in areas such as certain “inner city” locations, in which there have been a plethora of public health reports indicating that there are no farmer’s markets, natural grocers, or health options available.

2) this book kind of assumes all pregnant women reading this book are straight and married to a man. If you are lesbian identified woman, the heterosexual oriented nature of the book may irk you. If you are a single woman looking to become pregnant or are already pregnant, it may irk you a bit.

3) Every picture that starts the chapter is ALWAYS a white skinny bodied pregnant woman. Yes, I know the intended audience is not “us” (Us being women of color and women who are not a size 2), but this irked me as well. Are the marketers and authors of the book “scared” to put pictures of women of color in there as well, in fear that “white” audience won’t purchase it? I don’t think I’m looking too much into this, as the images of female vegans on most vegan oriented products are young white thin females. And yet I hear so many folk (mostly white identified) telling me that veganism is “colorblind” and there is no need for anti-racist education and critical thinking engagement around systemic whiteness as the norm in the USA! We need to start writing our own book that speak to women of color experiences with veganism. I know I have already started with “Sistah Vegan” anthology, but let’s keep this up 🙂 !!!

Anyone else read the book?




First Vegans of Color Meetup in NYC October 3, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 8:59 pm

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting fellow VoC bloggers Kanika & Joselle, & VoC reader Winston, here in NYC at Strictly Roots.

Vegans of Color NYC meetup 9.13.08

Vegans of Color NYC meetup 9.13.08

Click to enlarge the photo. From left to right: Kanika, Winston, Joselle, & me. The height order thing was accidental, really! Check out the mural behind us, which explains Strictly Roots’ vegan philosophy.

Thanks everyone — it was awesome to meet you all (& Joselle’s partner Brian, not pictured). Here’s to more VoC in-person community building in the future!

(& on that note, any vegans of color living in or near Bristol, England, please get in touch, as I am moving there in a couple of weeks!)


Black Dog Syndrome

Filed under: Uncategorized,vegan — Joselle @ 5:30 pm
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A recent episode of Animal Voices covered a topic new to me, Black Dog Syndrome (BDS). BDS is defined as “the low adoption and high euthanasia rate of black dogs in shelters.” Two activists working on behalf of black dogs in shelters, Tamara Delaney of Contrary to Ordinary: The Black Pearls of the Dog World and Heather Rosenwald of Start Seeing Black Dogs, were featured on the show.

It’s so crazy to me that black dogs get intentionally or subconsciously ignored and abandoned. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • The color black is often vilified and associated with evil or bad luck in the US.
  • In the media, black dogs are often associated with aggression and menace.
  • Facial features of black dogs don’t show up as well on pet adoption websites.
  • Black dogs “get lost” in shelters, too–they don’t stand out as much as lighter colored dogs
  • Black cats also get a bad rap since they are particularly associated with bad luck and superstition.

Of course, all of these theories are inextricably linked with how people of color are so often viewed–menacing, strange, foreign, bad, unattractive. The show’s host, Lauren Corman, did ask both guests to touch on how ideas of race and racism have made black dogs invisible or undesirable. While they did not personally see this playing out in the communities they worked in, they did agree that this was an issue raised by others in the BDS community. 

During the episode, Corman also breifly shared a story about a shelter who was criticized by the NAACP for using the phrase, “Black is Beautiful,” during a campaign that coincided with the holiday, Juneteenth, which celebrates the abolition of black slaves in Texas.  My reaction to the comments on the news article I linked to could be a separate post in and of itself. Most of them tell the NAACP to just chill and stop harassing the innocent animals. I’m inclined to take a similar, though more muted, position. Now that I know what BDS is, I am all about getting the word out on behalf of these animals and when I am ready to care for another dog, I will go out of my way to adopt a black one. The response to and from the NAACP, however, is again a case where activists in the animal welfare/rights movements and in other social justice movements are seen as diametrically opposed. I have not seen the NAACP’s original statement to the shelter so I can only assume that the organization thought that using such a powerful phrase as “Black is Beautiful,” was disrespectful and that even subtly comparing the plight of black dogs with the plight of black Americans trivializes that human struggle. Since black American slaves were legally considered property in much the same way animals are, this bristling is even more understandable. This is a shortsighted view, however, that ignores how the same systems of oppression that create and sustain racism are the same ones that enable animal use and ownership by humans. The comments to the NAACP to “just get over it,” is an example of how issues of race are often so easily dismissed by those who are not on the receiving end of racism.

In an appropriate side note, Philadelphia’s homeless animals (mostly cats and dogs) are facing a crisis. Due to budget constraints, the city is looking for an outside contractor to take over the Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Agency (PACCA), which would probably change the focus from trying to get the animals adopted to just killing them. Citizens for a No-Kill Philadelphia (* is lobbying City Hall to save PACCA. The Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) was formed in 2004 as the adoption arm of PAWS. Prior to the formation of PAWS, 9 out of 10 animals were killed by the city. In the first quarter of 2008, their save rate went up to 70%.  If you’re in the Philadelphia area, or are just interested in helping homeless cats and dogs, I encourage you to check out the work of these organizations.

* Typed out the link because when it was embedded, it went to a funky, virus-looking site. Don’t know what happened in the translation but the site is legit so I typed it out.