Why DxE Wednesday XXIII: Hana Low
Q: What inspired you to first get involved with activism and to join DxE?
I first met DxE folks on my way to a Trans* and Women’s Action Camp in summer 2014. That winter, they invited me back to be on a panel of LGBTQ people of color, talking about LGBTQ identities and animal liberation. For the first time, I found an animal rights group that I felt embraced my human identities and the experiences I had gained from the human realm. For once, I didn’t have to leave my queer identity at the door when advocating for animals. My DxE friends demonstrated themselves to be accountable to what they said, and willing to learn from constructive criticism.
Q: What is your favorite or most accomplished moment in activism or other DxE activity?
Recently, our chapter managed to disrupt the Denver Burger Battle, a $70 per ticket private event focused on consuming bourgeois flesh patties from local “fine dining” establishments. Earlier in the week, I was tempted to call it off. Four of our activists had just gotten out of jail for disrupting the LA Dodgers/Colorado Rockies game, and we were completely exhausted from a night and day of jail support. I thought we definitely were not going to be able to get inside the event. I thought that the new activists would be disappointed and think that our model would be a complete waste of time. Against all odds, our crew of activists managed to get into the event through a gap in the fence and wildly confuse the guests and staff. We were inside the event for about five minutes and made a strong impression. Guests plowed through our banner, made loud, defensive remarks, took selfies for us in the background. We won a poll posted by the event organizers by 200%. Apparently folks enjoyed us more than the burgers.
That said, sometimes actions are flops. Things do not always go according to plan. I have found that staying positive, having multiple backup plans, debriefing the lessons learned, and appreciating everyone who showed up goes a long way. If activists have a culture of supporting one another and being flexible, even something that didn’t go according to plan, the action can still be worthwhile.
Q: Your chapter has partnered well with sanctuaries. How did you get involved with animal rescue work and how does it influence your activism?
Every vegan and every activist should have relationships with individual nonhuman animals who have been rescued from places of violence. Each of us can name a human in our life who we love, and describe their personality, their eccentricities, and their likes and dislikes and we should be able to have the same relationships with other animals.
Q: What advice would you give to new activists?
Don’t be afraid to talk to other activists about your fears. It’s very normal to be afraid of confrontation. Most of us have people in our lives who aren’t vegan, who scoff at and mock us for expressing our deeply held beliefs. This can be very frustrating and disheartening. You may feel like giving up because fighting this fight feels too hard. Emotional refueling is essential. Find the people, places, and activities that rejuvenate you.
Q: Why Animal Liberation?
Animal liberation is a vision of justice for the entire world. When we achieve animal liberation, every person will have freedom, justice, family they choose, and safety. No one will be abused or exploited. When someone harms another person they will be held accountable.
We will learn ways of appreciating people that do not involve confining them, using or profiting off their bodies. We will approach other species the same way.
Animal liberation is hope. We all need hope in this world.