Vegans of Color

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

survival foods June 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — mama @ 11:08 am

i started thinking about this as i was writing a post for raven’s eye blog.

but i wanted to bring it into this space:

i personally understand that eating meat is a survival issue sometimes for some of us.  i dont need animal products to be healthy.  but i did when i was pregnant.  and what is our response as vegans to those because of interlocking reasons do need animal products for their survival and healthy growth?

let me try to flesh this out…(excuse the pun)…………

because a lot of my work over the passed few years has focused around reproductive health and women of color, it is specifically women of color whom i am referencing.

i know folks who need to eat meat in order to be healthy.  i used to think that this was one of those omnivore myths since i heard it so often when i was first making conscious choices about my diet as a teenager.  but all of my assumptions got twisted around when i became pregnant.  and all of a sudden i *needed* animal protein.  now let me say that i vehemently disagree with the faddish obsession with protein in the pregnancy/birth world.  i do not think that there is a certain amount of protein that every woman needs in order to have a ‘healthy’ pregnancy birth.  i reject such essentialistic prescription for the human being.  especially for the pregant body.  but i did *feel* an intense need for animal protein.  and i felt so much better after i had eaten it.  keeping in mind that by the time i got pregnant i had basically been vegetarian/vegan for more than a decade.

the vegetable protein that i had usually loved just wasnt cutting it.  actually a lot of it (like nuts and certain soy products and beans) made me feel ill.

now i want to also emphasize that i am talking about the vegetable protein that was *available*.  i would have loved to have been able to experiment more to find foods that were both vegan and not nauseating.  but the big natural foods stores were on the other side of town.  we lived in north minneapolis (scary…black…ghetto…)and whole foods and its ilk were in south minneapolis (hipster…white…).  furthermore we were on a tight budget.  having been kicked out of a country and trying to build an entire life in a city i knew nothing about.

i have talked to other hard core vegan mothers who say that they *had* to eat meat during their pregnancies. and i have talked to others who because of their health cannot sustain themselves without animal protein.

what do we as vegans of color say to them?  what do we say to lil pregnant me?

i mean i know that here we say that we cannot afford to be single issue.  and i know that a lot of us struggle to be vegan while being working class, of color, queer, etc. and i know that we want to live in a world where vegan food is accessible to our people.

but do we as vegans of color have a responsibility and accountability to those who cannot afford, in terms of money, health, time, etc., to be vegan?


Job Opportunity: Clinical Research Coordinator for PCRM

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Amie "Breeze" Harper @ 12:23 am

I ran across this Job posting through for Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). PCRM advocates veganism and animal rights.



Job: Clinical Research Coordinator
Salary: Competitive nonprofit salary
Education: Master (MA, MSW, etc.)
Location: Washington, District of Columbia, 20016, United States
Posted by: Washington Center for Clinical Research
Type: Full time
Language(s): English
Job posted on: June 9, 2009
Area of Focus: Health and Medicine, Wildlife and Animal Welfare

The Washington Center for Clinical Research, founded in 2004, is a nonprofit organization that conducts research on the role of nutrition in health. The Washington Center is a subsidiary of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

PCRM is a nonprofit working towards compassionate and effective medical practice, research, and health promotion. PCRM promotes preventive medicine, especially through good nutrition. PCRM has led the way for reforms of federal nutrition policies and continues to break ground with its clinical research programs, which have shown the dramatic benefits of a vegetarian diet. PCRM encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research. We oppose unethical human experiments and promote alternatives to animal experimentation.

The Washington Center for Clinical Research is seeking a Clinical Research Coordinator to coordinate clinical research activities on the effect of diet, particularly vegetarian and vegan diets, on various aspects of health in both adults and children.


-Design and coordinate clinical intervention studies to test the effects of dietary and nutrition interventions
-Recruit, interview, screen, enroll, instruct, and follow up with human clinical research participants
-Facilitate compliance with ethical and regulatory standards such as HIPAA
-Maintain confidentiality of source documents, records, and samples
-Other duties as needed or assigned
Additional Qualifications:

*Education and Experience
-A minimum of a Master’s degree in Clinical Research, Public Health, or a closely related field such as Nutrition including at least 3 years of clinical research experience
-A Master’s degree as noted above along with a Registered Dietitian and/or Registered Nurse background including at least 1 year of clinical research experience is preferred

-Working knowledge of principles and procedures of clinical research including ethical considerations and regulatory standards
-Working knowledge of issues related to vegetarian and vegan diets
-Ability to effectively work across disciplines, i.e. with physicians, dietitians, researchers, participants, etc.
-Ability to plan and implement clinical research activities
-Excellent written and verbal communication skills including the ability to summarize key issues and activities and be a persuasive advocate for The Washington Center’s mission and objectives
-Ability to handle multiple tasks, prioritize, work well under pressure, meet deadlines, and follow projects through to completion in a very fast-paced environment
-Ability to develop solutions to any identified problems or issues
-Proficient use of Microsoft Office Suite
-Professional skills, demeanor, and work ethic
-Ability to maintain a sense of urgency, efficiency, and flexibility

*Other Requirements
-Enthusiasm for The Washington Center’s mission and objectives
-Ability and willingness to travel to related seminars, conferences, training, meetings, etc.
-Interest in developing new competencies as needed for the responsibilities of the position
-Ability and willingness to work evenings and weekends as needed
How to Apply:
Please mail, fax, or e-mail a cover letter (see note below) and your résumé to:

Attn: Stacey B. Glaeser
5100 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20016
Fax: 202-527-7410
E-mail: (Please note Clinical Research Coordinator in the subject line of your e-mail.)

Note: Please include the following in your cover letter: an explanation of your interest in joining The Washington Center for Clinical Research, where/how you found out about this career opportunity, and your salary requirement.


Do all vegans need to be friends? June 26, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 2:10 pm

(This was originally posted by Alicia, but it ended up in the wrong place on its own page, so I’m re-posting it here — hope that’s okay, Alicia!)

I am a very lucky vegan. I live in the incredibly vegan friendly city of Atlanta that has vegan potlucks, vegan lunch groups, and several Vegan and Vegetarian Societies that meet up monthly. There is no end to the amount of support that vegans in Atlanta have.  But the other day I ran across an interesting blog topic by one of the organizers for a vegetarian meet up group in Atlanta. She said that a fellow vegan was complaining to her because vegans in Atlanta aren’t friendly enough and that we should all be friends.

This idea that we should all be friends just struck be as the most ridiculous notion ever.  It made me think back to several occasions where I have been introduced to other vegans of color by my omni friends and they just expected that we would all become bosom buddies, exchange numbers and ride off into the sunset together just because we were both vegans and of color. Yes we have veganism in common but that doesn’t mean that we have enough in common to be friends. It also seems like a ridiculous notion that you have to be friends with everyone who is in the same sub-category as you. Maybe if I lived in a smaller, less vegan friendly city/town I would feel differently. But the  fact is I interact more with vegans from all around the country via online forums and blogs more than I do vegans in Atlanta. I think I do this because I find that I learn more about new vegan products, foods, recipes that way. Whereas I learn a lot about local vegan happenings at vegan potlucks and meetups.

As has been discussed on this blog time and time again, vegans are such a diverse group of people with such a variety of different beliefs. Just as people in general are diverse in so many ways. I’m interested to hear your views on this topic. Especially from a small town vs. big city and vegan friendly town vs. non vegan friendly town perspective.


Veganism and Cultures of Origin June 13, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 11:51 am
Tags: , , , ,

This is a topic that never gets old, but I’d like to talk about how veganism can make vegans of color feel dis/connected to their culture(s) of origin. I’d like to talk about this with vegans of color.

As a mixed-race Filipina, I have often felt like I was being implicitly judged by Filipin@s & found wanting: I don’t speak Tagalog (much)? I don’t go to church? I don’t… eat adobo??? To me, veganism is just one other thing to add to the list of things that make me feel awkward at times. It’s not enough to make me forsake the way I eat, of course, but I can sense the pressure, & can imagine how it could be even more intense for people who are more culturally connected than I.

It’s been a long, hard trip on the road to accepting myself, from a racial standpoint, & so I love stuff like “Children of the Sun” by Deep Foundation. Much love to those guys (I even wrote a zine article about how much that song means to me), but… the lyrics mention chicken tocino & the video features cock fighting, two things (of a few, some non-vegan related) that bug me. And I know those two things are seen by a lot of people as quintessentially Filipino.

This is why the Tsinay Vegan blog rules: check out that list of veganized Filipino recipes in the sidebar. There’s also veganized soul food, & of course loads of other cultures’ foods have been veganized by people of those cultures (& other people, of course, some of whom clearly can’t resist the exotic). I’ve also seen people talking about decolonizing diets that were not originally chock full of animal products.

I am interested here in hearing from vegans of color: what has your experience been, regarding veganism & whatever culture you may feel is your home culture/culture of origin (if any)? Have you gotten resistance to your diet? Or are family foods easily veganizable, or perhaps even inherently vegan? Is it even an issue?

(Again: I want to focus this conversation around the experiences of people of color who are vegan. Thank you for respecting the conversational space.)


Should Judge Sotomayor’s Diabetes Preclude Her from the U.S. Supreme Court? June 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Amie "Breeze" Harper @ 1:11 pm

Mike Adams asks, Should Judge Sotomayor’s Diabetes Preclude Her from the U.S. Supreme Court?

You can read more about this at before diving into the questions I posed below….
Breeze’s questions:

What do people think about this question? Do you think Mike Adams is being a health elitist with this question? And what does it mean that factors such as institutional and environmental racism have positioned certain populations to be in situations in which they don’t have access to the best foods and health facilities for optimal wellness, in comparison to white middle class demographic in the USA? And how is “healthy” or “optimal wellness” being defined? I am not well-read in the politics of ableism, so maybe some folk can help me out here?

Or, is it more complex than this and should folk in the USA be concerned about the physical health of their “leaders” and how it affects their mental faculties? Is it true that physical health = mental health, or is Adams falling into a dangerous eugenist’s mindset with this suggestion- especially if one contextualizes Adam’s concern within the history of suffering in the USA caused by the status quo (historically white straight ‘able bodied’ men) who medicalized certain physical bodies as “defective” which equaled “unhealthy” and “mentally unfit.”?

Below is an excerpt from the article, written by Mike Adams:

A similar question needs to be posed for all our top decision makers, including Sotomayor. Her bones are so fragile, we’ve just learned, that she fractured her ankle walking around the LaGuardia airport. Healthy bones shouldn’t fracture so easily.