Best Holistic Life Magazine Fall 2021

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A n I n s i g h t i n t o L i b e r a t i o n E f f o r t s A m i d s t a G l o b a l P a n d e m i c :

nity, from our fellow animals to our fellow human beings. During the height of the pandemic, as the Executive Director of Chilis on Wheels New York, a non-profit organization fighting for plant-based food sovereignty, food justice, our planet, and collective liberation since 2014, I started pandemic relief efforts that continue to feed thousands of individuals across New York City and set up New York’s first free plant-based community fridge. The work is rewarding but heartbreaking. Seeing the sadness of parents who due to job loss can no longer provide for their children makes my heart- break every time, but we have forged on because making Veganism accessible to communities in need (and all communities) is more important than ever. After all, animal exploitation has led us to a global pandemic. In January of 2021, I also founded Vegan Activist Alliance (VAA), an anti-spe- ciesist organization working to end the exploitation of beyond-human persons. Through a focus on systems change and raising awareness, we aim for collective and total liberation of all Beings. So many of us have felt like we are in cages during this pandemic, but our fellow animals feel this every day. Hurting animals is also hurting us. Perhaps allowing others to be free is the first step to our own liberation.

There is a clear interconnectedness between consuming animals, environ- mental damage, violence, and at times, failing health. This is not my opin- ion but data and science. There is also real substantive positive change that follows when we choose to go vegan for the animals, for the health and integ- rity of the planet, for ourselves, for all humans alike. But as an activist, I real- ize there are many pushbacks against Veganism, notably: --Since Veganism is not the norm, when we make this shift we risk becom- ing an outcast at work, with friends, and with family. Not everyone enjoys being an outcast. --The myth that we need to consume animal bodies to survive. --The lack of support to make this change. --And for many, the lack of access to food and resources If any of these are preventing you from making this transition, please be in touch with me and I’d be delighted to share community resources, tips, and guides to make this shift as enjoyable and seamless as possible. Together, we can aspire to be harmless to animals, harmless to humans, harmless to Earth, and harmless to ourselves. It is all possible.

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