Why DxE Wednesday XX: Naomi Davis
Q: What inspired you to first get involved with activism and to join DxE?
I am involved with activism and DxE because all sentient beings have a right to live and be happy. I am disturbed by violence and injustice; and I am blessed to feel an obligation to give a voice to change and to use my might to do so.
Animal Studies, an emerging area of study at NYU, solidified my lifelong commitment to Animal Rights. I had already been vegan for a number of years when I first stumbled into a class called "Ethics and Animals." After day one, I realized that veganism meant much more than what I chose to buy or not buy at a grocery store.
Animals are being brutalized every second, and I could no longer sit silently. I began thinking about how I could do more to stop this injustice. I quickly signed up for a class called "Ethics and Activism," and it was then that I understood that this fight would not be easy. I began to consider the different approaches to helping animals and their strengths and weaknesses.
Studying Animal Rights and activism academically was inspiring beyond belief, yet it led me down a path where I felt almost paralyzed to act. I felt very critical of every group and wasn't sure how I could do the most good.
Moving to Berkeley about eight months ago changed everything. I met a few DxE activists who brought me seamlessly into the community, and within days, I felt empowered to act.
For the first time, I was surrounded and supported by people who were not only thinking critically, but who are also taking action and making social change for animals more than just an idea, rather a reality. I finally felt like I could put everything I learned in Animal Studies to use and start impacting the world.
Q: You recently did your first speak out which was unbelievably powerful. What advice would you give to new activists or those scared to speak strongly for animals?
Our voices are one of the most powerful tools that we have, and we can use them to directly help animals. We can be loud and strong, and we can remain nonviolent.
When I remind myself of what animals are currently facing, the violence that they confront on a daily basis, and the multitude of ways that the public neglects animal exploitation, my fear dies down and courage really begins to take hold.
DxE is there for you. When you are nervous and scared, you have the support of a deeply intertwined community to lift you up and to support you as you share your heart. If we flood our voices with our emotions, the animals' stories, and most importantly the truth, we can inspire others to do the same, and our movement will continue to grow and become more powerful than ever.
I have a background in performing arts, and speaking out at protests feels like the most influential and meaningful performance I could ever be a part of.
Q: What is your favorite or most accomplished moment in activism or other DxE activity?
My favorite moments of DxE are the moments in which I watch new people become powerful activists.
I love when I meet someone through social media, tabling, or even running errands, and getting them connected and involved, and watching them rise up and become an integral part of our community.
It is incredible to know that I was once that person who walked in the door and had no idea how my life would change for the better. With loving friendship, unending passion, powerful tactics, and solid facts, we can help each other grow to become the best voices for the animals that we can be.
Q: How do you stay motivated as an activist?
I think our community has motivated me beyond anything else. I remember feeling very alone in my beliefs, and now that I am surrounded by so many friends who also want a world where animals are happy, safe, and free, I am constantly motivated to get active. When your friends are by your side, you can do anything. The power of community keeps me going.
I also think having regular self-care practices help sustain an activist lifestyle. I just finished my yoga teaching certification. I am looking forward to teaching yoga at BARC, our new community center, to help nourish other activists so we can stay grounded and balanced together.
Q: How has living with other animal rights activists impacted you?
Living with a group of dedicated, positive Animal Rights activists has completely changed my attitude toward activism and even completely enhanced my own world outlook. Rather than coming home and worrying about opening my fridge to animal bodies, or wondering how I will even begin to articulate a tough conversation I had while defending animals, my roommates just get it. I don't have to explain myself. I don't have to feel defeated. I can be me, and feel constantly encouraged that I am doing the right thing. We can attend tough events such as protests and disruptions together, and be there at the end of the day to decompress and debrief. I know that I can come home to a group of people who get it, and will be by my side during every aspect of the fight.
Q: Why Animal Liberation?
Because animals' lives are their right. It is that simple. Animals are not our property. Animals are individuals who experience pleasure and pain, who have families, and who deserve to live their lives free from torture, violence, and murder. Animals deserve to live in a world where they are treated with respect, love, and compassion by humans, and where they don't live constantly in fear and constantly suffering.
We humans have created this mess, and it is our responsibility to fix it.