Here in the UK, veganism has enjoyed (?) its most mainstream year yet in 2018. A week or so ago I popped into Manchester for a pre-Christmas tattoo with a brand new tattooist; we got to talking about all sorts of things, and one of them was veganism. He asked me if I’d been vegan a long time and I told him about 11 years, and he said “wow! that’s before veganism was cool!”. And he’s right, readers. Back then I clung to the one alternative face of veganism that I could easily find: the Post Punk Kitchen. The PPK was a cooking show that aired on Brooklyn and Manhattan public-access television cable TV in the early 2000s and is now available on YouTube (isn’t everything?). It had a punk soundtrack and was hosted by the godmothers of excellent vegan cookery/baking Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.
This was an excellent antidote to nut loaves and lentils and all the stuff you want to avoid in order to demonstrate that veganism can be fun, tasty, and just a bit better than NOT being vegan (right? riiiiight).
The PPK forums (RIP) were an excellent hot-bed of diverse and progressive voices that were a great education for me. It’s there that I learned to care about social justice issues beyond veganism and become less of a selfish little oik and for that I am very grateful indeed. Of course we still only had one kind of vegan cheeze and we pretty much had to travel to London to buy cakes/wheat gluten over the counter but there it is. Times have sure changed, and part of me goes “squee” and wonders if this is what the future will be like, but I’m also concerned at the perhaps inevitable rise of the face of mainstream veganism that promotes a single-issue agenda and pushes to the margins the voices of vegans in other communities.
Initially frequently (and erroneously) dubbed “intersectional veganism” (often by white vegans keen to demonstrate their commitment to a diverse and progressive veganism – mea culpa) I’ve seen over the past few years the rise of a more consistently anti-oppression veganism. This phrase was coined by activists Julia Feliz Brueck and Carol J. Adams who presented the Vegan Bill of Consistent Anti-Oppression at London VegFest in 2018. Although I am glad to see the voices of marginalised and under-represented vegans being lifted up, I’m also aware that this is in part a necessary response to the voices of mainstream (usually white, cis, ‘healthy’, abled-bodied) vegans threatening to take centre-stage as the movement gains momentum.
I’ve mentioned before a number of times that I am always learning, and that I will do my best to admit my mistakes, own them, and move on enlightened. This isn’t always easy for a big useless sack of emotions with a personality disorder but I try my hardest. I want to do what I can to pass the mic over to folks who speak on behalf of their own communities and advocate for veganism in the ways that I could and should not.
That said, in 2018, and as part of my ongoing master’s education, I read a number of excellent books and have followed a number of excellent folks that I’d like to recommend to you all. I am aiming this particular blog post at white vegans like me who (I firmly believe) would benefit from a more diverse reading of veganism and wider social justice issues. Some of these are familiar to me, and some are on my list for 2019 and beyond. Some of these sources are easy to consume (follow on Instagram, listen to a podcast) and some require a greater (cognitive/time) commitment, but all -I believe- are worth it.
Aphro-ism: Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism from Two Sisters (Aph Ko and Syl Ko)
Beasts of Burden: Animal and Disability Liberation (Sunaura Taylor)
Veganism in an Oppressive World: A Vegans-of-Color Community Project (ed. Julia Feliz Brueck)
The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory (Carol J. Adams)
Sistah Vegan: Food, Identity, Health, and Society: Black Female Vegans Speak (Dr A. Breeze Harper)
Aftershock – Confronting Trauma in a Violent World: A Guide for Activists and Their Allies (pattrice jones)
Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed (Bryant Terry)
Viva Vegan! 200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers (Terry Hope Romero)
Protest Kitchen: Fight Injustice, Save the Planet, and Fuel Your Resistance One Meal at a Time (Carol J. Adams & Ginny Messina)
Food Justice: A Primer (Saryta Rodríguez)
Sister Species: Women, Animals and Social Justice (ed Lisa Kemmerer)
Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism (Mark Hawthorne)
Podcasts and Instagrammers to follow
Feminist Killjoys, PhD (RIP but see archives)
The VGN Podcast – A Podcast for petty people
Bitchy Shitshow (formerly Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack)
The Bearded Vegans
Black Feminist Vegan
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🧡Want to support Black feminist vegan activism? 💥 Greatest way to spread the word is by being the word — wearing your message on your chest. Those who are interested in learning more can always visit me here or on BlackFeministVegan.com to check out the educational resources I have on veganism as a praxis for decolonization, how to practice Black feminist liberation theory through veganism or how intentional veganism can help us divest from oppressive systems. By wearing the word, you’ll be spreading the word— and actively bridging the gap between the conversation and the community 🙌🏾 | TShirts & Hoodie Available Now on BlackFeministVegan.com 🆙 #BlackFeministLiberationTheory #VeganismOfColor #VeganActivism #BlackVeganActivism #AntiApartheid #ConsistentAntiOppression
Nalgona Positivity Pride
Food Empowerment Project
Fat Vegan Voice
Afro Vegan Society
La Raza For Liberation
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Healing Our Relationship to Self, Others, and the Natural World: This portion of the experience will identify and explore how we relate to ourselves, each other, and our environment through a colonizing lens. Register or apply to be a guide at the link in our bio! ✨ . . . . . . . #decolonize #conference #atlanta #relationship #community #nature #respect #indigenous #environment
Earthling Liberation Kollective
I hope you found this list inspirational for the year ahead, friends. This list is absolutely (of course) not exhaustive, so shout in the comments if you have any favourite books, podcasts, or folks that you recommend reading/listening to/following!
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