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AN INSIGHT INTO LIBERATION EFFORTS AMIDST A GLOBAL PANDEMIC: A S P I R I N G T O B E H A R M L E S S T O A N I M A L S , H A R M L E S S T O H U M A N S , H A R M L E S S T O E A R T H , H A R M L E S S T O S E L F . B Y E L O I S A T R I N I D A D
Do you consider yourself to be a just person? Do you believe in freedom? When I ask, most people reply with a hardy “Yes! I am a just person, I believe in freedom!”, and I think people believe this to be true. I believe it to be true as well, and this drives my work. From a young age, I have felt that every Being that exists with me on this Earth deserves their autonomy, their freedom, and the same level of protection that I as a human receive. I love life and always wonder, don’t all Beings want to live free like me? My work aims to more deeply explore this question of justice, and I hope this article will help you iden- tify and move forward a contribution of justice for our world during these challenging times and beyond. I have seen the recent pandemic result in hardship for many and leave countless families with the inabil- ity to feed their children. This is not a new problem, but one that has been exasperated by the economic downturn. When schools closed, cities and states struggled to adjust their school food programs. Many who usually rely on these meals as their guaranteed source of food have gone hungry. This isn’t only happening in my home, New York City, but around the United States. 45 million people are experiencing food insecurity, 15 million of them children. This does not feel just. Injustice, however, is not limited only to the US. In Nicaragua and Brazil, Indigenous communities are displaced as their land is stripped from them to raise and slaughter cattle for global consumption. Their children killed to suppress the community from speaking up. Due to the disruption in the food chain during the pandemic, animal agriculture became a bigger threat to Indigenous communities where cattle are sourced from. All in the name of the US being able to label animals as “organic grass-fed beef, made in the USA.” Stewards of the land, who have been caring for our world for thousands of years, stripped
of their homes, their communities, and their lives in the name of profit and taste. As the UN tells us we are in “code red” and expected to experience a bigger climate catastrophe than previously projected, we continue to destroy the very people who are protect- ing 80% of our biodiversity. This does not feel just. I could list endless examples where there is dras- tic dissonance between daily action and the image we’ve conjured up around our just selves. This arti- cle is not intended to be one of doom and gloom or shame, but rather finding self-empowerment that leads to action. To get us a little closer to recogniz- ing our power. To get us to ask ourselves “What does causing the least harm possible look like in practice?” To get us a little closer to congruency because we truly are just and good people, after all, humans did aid in designing The Amazon and historically have come together at times of catastrophe. In my journey, I often ask myself: What can I do to alleviate the pain and suffering experienced by my fellow Earthlings, human and beyond-human? How can I help my home, Earth? I’ve found that focusing on one cause is a tangible way to start, and I have also found that Veganism, while not a cure-all, is one way to start on the path to cause the least harm possible. All the work I do comes from a collective libera- tion perspective - no one is free when others are oppressed, and I include my fellow animals in that equation. As a woman, I empathize with the cows and goats who against their will are impregnated for dairy with what is termed a “rape rack” and who have their offspring ripped from them as soon as they’re born. I am not yet a mother, but I can only fathom having my children taken from me. I would cry and scream just like them I imagine. If I can choose to cause less harm, why not do so? Having a choice is a privilege. Food is power. Our choices affect the global commu-
Eloisa Trinidad is an artist and total liberation activist & organizer. She is the Executive Director at Chilis on Wheels, New York and co-founder and Executive Director at Vegan Activist Alliance. Eloisa is the recip- ient of NYC Food Policy Center 2021 40 under 40 Rising Stars in Food Policy and 2021 VWS x Impossible Foods Women Building the Future honoree in Accessibility and Equity.
Links: www.chilisonwheels.org INSTAGRAM /chilisonwheels Linkedin /in/eloisatrinidad
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