Animal Rights Activist Profile: Sarah Blazer
What inspired you to first get involved with activism and to join DxE?
Twelve years ago I decided that I needed to stop eating animals because I loved them too much. It never made sense to me to love dogs and cats, but eat others’ bodies, and my morals told me that I needed to end this consumption right away. As I grew older and learned more about the horrendous ways humans mistreat non-human animals, I stopped using, wearing, and eating them entirely. After I made this shift, however, I still felt very alone and helpless; like I just was not doing enough to make a real difference in anyone’s life. That’s when I decided to seek out an organization that did more for animals, as well as providing a real community and support system to its members. When I first found out about DxE at a vegan festival, it took me three months and countless hours watching videos to actually work up the courage to come to an action. I really felt like I wasn’t brave or outspoken enough to follow in the footsteps of others I saw online, so I kept putting off going to anything. Finally, my first event was a “Why DxE” presentation followed (surprisingly to me) by a restaurant disruption and then dinner out afterwards. Although the disruption itself was fairly dramatic, the dinner later on is what really stood out to me. This was the first time in my life that I found myself at an all-vegan restaurant with a large group of humans who all believed in and fought for the same cause as me. To be honest, it felt like this is what I had been missing for 10+ years, and I was hooked. From that day, I went to every protest, community event, and sanctuary work day I possibly could, and I am grateful every day that I connected with my DxE family.
What is your favorite or most accomplished moment in activism or other DxE activity?
This seems like such a huge question because so many moments in my DxE history stand out as memorable for various reasons! In terms of actions, I think a huge accomplishment was during the Midwest Convergence last month when a group of over 50 activists did a disruption of Costco to speak up for MIley and others like her. It was an amazingly empowering feeling to simply walk right into the store with no pretence of hiding our real purpose or worrying about being stopped at the door. With so many people present, it made me feel that we were unstoppable. I can only imagine how future actions will go if we can continue this momentum! Additionally, another favorite moment was last year’s Convergence in Berkeley. Although I had only been involved with DxE for a few months, I decided to fly out for Convergence and live in a house with 8 other Chicago activists for a week. The entire week was an amazing experience of learning about effective activism, participating in several huge actions, and growing much closer to my new Chicago friends.
Are you involved in any affiliate or working groups or unique activism in your chapter and if so, how does this influence your activism?
In the Chicago chapter I am involved in our Outreach working group, Actions working group, and two different affinity groups.
I love looking at activism from the two different lenses of these working groups, because I feel that it brings together all the best parts of DxE. From community outreach events like Vegan Chalk Challenge days, to bigger actions like our Costco disruptions and food truck fest die-in, I appreciate how accessible we make activism to all individuals who want to get involved. Personally, I also feel passionately about all of the slaughterhouse truck stops we have been doing recently. These actions are a constant reminder of why we need to be doing this work, and also bring up a very real sense of urgency and immediacy. Making any connections with the victims, even just through the holes in the side of a truck, and knowing they will momentarily be killed for human consumption, is a heart wrenching experience like none I have ever had. It pushes me to work harder and spread the animal liberation message as far as I possibly can.
How does your work with animals such as wildlife rehab, foster and animal caretaking influence you?
Ever since I joined DxE, I have found myself looking for more ways to get involved with meeting and helping animals on a personal level. I have met elephants who were victims of the trekking and tourism industry, eaten lunch with cats who were rescued from the cat meat trade, taken in dogs who would be killed simply due to shelter overcrowding, and interacted with chickens who were saved from cock fighting rings. Encountering each one of these individuals has pushed me to speak up for them and share their stories so that others can come to know them and help them as well. Additionally, one of my favorite ways to spend my time these days is going out in the pre-dawn hours to rescue birds that have flown into buildings in downtown Chicago. These are individuals who are attempting to follow a normal migratory pattern, only to be downed by the giant skyscrapers and clear glass windows humans have put up. Doing this work not only gives me a purposeful way to start out my weekend, but it also allows me to feel that I am making a real impact in someone’s life; literally rescuing them from death in many instances. I feel that because our society has done so much to harm non-humans without even giving them a second thought, this work is the least I can do to make some sort of reparations and show that their lives o
What advice would you give to new activists?
I think the best advice I can give to new activists is to just show up! It doesn’t matter if you go to a high-impact political disruption, community potluck, or slaughterhouse truck stop; what does matter is that you are taking the first step in joining a compassionate and loving community of humans who are working to end the suffering of all non-human animals. Sometimes I think taking that first step can be so overwhelming and scary, but I have never met a more accepting group of individuals than those in DxE. If you can show up just that once, you will see that we really do need everyone’s help and talents to be successful. There is a place for everyone in this amazing movement, you just need to be brave enough to go looking for it!
Why Animal Liberation?
Simply put, because they deserve it. Animals, both human and non-human, are individuals who deserve freedom and the peace of mind to live out their lives free from distress and harm. I think that in this day and age there is absolutely no reason for one group to have dominion over another, especially not for selfish and violent reasons. Animals are thinking and feeling beings with families and communities of their own, and they deserve our respect and support. We have mistreated and used non-human animals for far too long, and it is time to make the change to a better, more peaceful existence for all.