Why DxE Wednesday VIII: Tiffany Walker
This is the latest installment in a series of interviews with DxE activists by Rachel Waite, who is part of the blog team and an organizer for DxE Grand Rapids (MI)
Q: What inspired you to first get involved with activism and join DxE?
I got inspired to get involved with DxE when I saw some friends I met in Thailand (Jason & Jackie) sharing the content on Facebook. As a naturally curious person, I started doing research and decided that I wanted to no longer be on the sidelines of history - I wanted to make a difference for the animals.
Q: What is your favorite or most accomplished moment in activism or other DxE activity?
So far, I think my favorite thing that I have done was a march through the streets of NYC on Thanksgiving after the Diestel investigation release, which included disrupting a Whole Foods and then doing an amazingly-powerful street blockade. We had activists from up and down the East Coast and as far out as Indiana come together, and it was beautiful.
Q: How did you become involved with press work at DxE, and how has being a part of this working group influenced your activism?
I got involved with the press team when I kept pestering Zach about wanting to learn things, and he taught me how to do a press release on his couch on our August 2015 Day of Action. After that, I joined the team and currently both manage the press archive and also update the highlights section of the website. Being on the press team is a behind-the-scenes job that I enjoy doing.
It has definitely changed how I do my activism. I am more cognizant of how something will appear from the outside and think more critically about how a disruption we do would be spun by the media in the event of coverage. My favorite thing about being on the press team is the opportunity to help other activists learn how to do press - from writing the advisory & release to creating a press list and then circulating the materials.
Q: What keeps you motivated in your activism?
My activism is motivated by the desire that I have to tell people the truth about what happens to animals. I want to help end animal suffering and exploitation, and the only way to do that effectively is to speak out for them and change the social norms around consuming animals' bodies. I would love for eating animals to become so taboo that people don't want to do it.
Q: What advice would you give to new activists or those considering joining a working group within the DxE network?
For the new activists out there - yes, it might be a little intimidating at first, it might even be scary, but always keep the end game in mind. We want animal liberation, and we want it now. Whether it is five years or fifteen years down the road, you will be able to look back and say "I did something, I helped this movement." Never be afraid to ask questions of your organizers or your Connector if your chapter is actively doing DxE Connections. If you want to do more for the network, then say something; that's how I ended up where I am now.
Get in for the group hug! My chapter is like a family, so we would probably be offended if you skipped out on it. Don't do anything that you are uncomfortable doing - if you are anxious about doing a disruption, then please tell someone.
As far as working groups go - looking back on it, I definitely can say this: you need to have a useful skill and/or time to put into it - we want to balance training and empowering people with having efficient teams. If you know how to edit video really well or happen to be an excellent writer, for example, then you could put those skills to use. As an organizer, I think that being in a working group is the next logical step in your activism. It doesn't matter if you come from a large chapter or a small one - stepping up your game is always an option. Yes, running a chapter is busy work, but so is keeping DxE as a whole running smoothly. I definitely have a new respect for the Bay Area core folks because they are completely selfless and work tirelessly to fight for the animals and keep everything going.
Q: Why animal liberation?
Why not animal liberation? I mean there is no sugar coating the truth around here - what happens to the animals is an ethical atrocity which is causing incomprehensible suffering and death. We can and should be doing better as a society to treat every being equally, whether they are a dog, pig, chicken, or goat. The equal treatment of animals includes freedom from exploitation and harm, the ability to run free, to keep their babies, and live long, happy lives full of love.