DxE West Coast Action Tour - Part One: Sacramento
by Ronnie Rose
DxE is embarking on a journey across the West Coast on a three-week-long speaking and action tour. Starting in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are taking the tour up north, through California, Oregon, Washington and Canada, before heading back south to finish at the National Animal Rights Conference in Los Angeles. At each stop, we will be giving a short presentation and engage with local activists, with an aim at strengthening bonds between, and building an empowered network within, the animal rights community. The days following the presentation, we will be collectively planning and executing actions at places of violence.
The first stop of the tour took us to Sacramento, CA, where we were hosted by Adrienne Ramirez, one of the most diligent and hardworking activists I know. When I first told Adrienne about the tour, all she needed to know were the dates, and everything else she took from there! She went around looking for the perfect spot for the presentation, set up event pages on the internet, persistently promoted, and drew a great crowd.
The first night we all met at the conference room Adrienne secured, and gave our presentation to a roomful of dedicated activists, both experienced and new. After the talk, everyone in the crowd asked incisive questions, full of personal stories and intellectual insight, which led to a fruitful discussion. By the end of the night, I could already sense a newfound camaraderie, deeper commitment and hope to where the movement was headed.
On the second day, we met back up at the same space, joined by some new faces that hadn’t been around the night before. Some of the folks there had participated in DxE demos in the past—as part of the monthly actions for the It’s Not Food, It’s Violence campaign — but there were also others who had never done any type of disruption before. This was their first encounter with DxE’s approach to activism. Though nervous, they also felt the need to break out of their comfort zones and bring the stories of the animals into the very places where they have been most ignored.
The first action we planned led us to an upscale restaurant, replete with references to the “humane” treatment of the animals, while simultaneously offering “veal” dishes. We entered the restaurant calmly and confidently, with over 20 activists, and held placards stating, “It’s Not Food, It’s Violence.” Three activists—Adrienne, Angel, and Linda—all held beautiful images of our nonhuman kin and took turns telling passionate stories about the devastating torment these sensitive beings have to endure, as well as painting an alternative vision—a world of species equality, a world of liberation.
We then took our demonstration outside, to bring these stories to the surrounding, and very curious, people. After some time, we made our way to another upscale restaurant a few blocks away, where the bodies of animals were proudly served.
On our way over, we noticed that the Sacramento police had been called and started following us. This isn’t such an abnormal response, but what happened after truly was. As our demo commenced, police began swarming in droves, with lights flashing, from all different directions. They ended up blocking the street with their vehicles, which looked like a scene out of a bank heist movie.
However, nothing happened. With a good liaison, they stayed at bay, and we finished our protest while they stuck around to observe.
We couldn’t possibly have been happier with the wonderful turnout for both days in Sacramento. Adrienne and the crew set a very high bar for the rest of the tour that might be hard for other cities to beat! If the passion of the Sacramento animal rights community is any indication of future success, I have total faith that total liberation will become a reality.