Animal Rights Activist Profile: Paola Ibarra
Q: What inspired you to first get involved with activism and to join DxE?
I was born in Mexico, my Mom is Peruvian and I have been living here in Lima, Peru for a little over 10 years now. I work as interpreter/translator. I got married to a Chilean musician and graphic designer and we decided to have a baby. And so we did, when the baby was born (I had been a vegetarian from age 11 to 30 and for no good reason started eating some fish flesh and some chicken flesh when I got to Lima, not very often but always with a sense of disgust/shame while doing so). and when baby arrived I started questioning it all, vaccines, food, why was my mother in law trying to feed the baby with red meat which I never ate. To make a long story short, when my son was 5 months old I announced to my husband that all 3 of us would be vegan as of that very morning. He said yes.
I did not know any other vegans here and decided to browse online and the very first thing I bumped into was the phrase- Don't be a lonely vegan, join DxE!!! And so we did. I took the pledge and the next weekend had a video meeting with Priya Sawhney along with my husband and BOOM started a DxE chapter in Lima. At this point, we had been fully vegan for more than 2 years and knew that being vegan was definitely not enough, we had to get moving and fast. We had our first disruption in January, then another one in February and the 3rd one last March. We will be having our fourth disruption this month.
Also two months ago, we joined the Save Movement we will be having our second vigil this coming weekend.
Q: What is your favorite or most accomplished moment in activism or other DxE activity?
Seeing that all other activists from the many different local Animal Rights organizations are willing and thrilled to join DxE Peru and are eagerly awaiting for our next disruption. Apparently something like this had never been done here so people are getting a different feeling to it, no longer only leafleting or informing, but also disrupting and getting people's attention by putting Animal Rights on everyone's radar.
Q: Are you a part of any working groups or unique activism in your chapter and how do they influence your activism?
There are only two organizers in our chapter, so we are involved in everything. We are very active with two other Animal Rights groups in Lima and are also part of a clandestine animal rights group that prints and plasters every month a large poster with a strong vegan message/image throughout the entire city.
Q: How do you stay motivated as an activist?
I would prefer to dedicate all of my time to activism, but as of now we still have to keep our day jobs, but I do not need any motivation. I am thinking about the non human animal plight all of the time and how to best be useful in resolving this terrible situation, hopefully in this generation.
Q: What advice would you give to new activists?
Be aware of the truth, be strong and be as active as possible, always trying to maintain balance and not to burn out. Now that I am very involved with activism, I feel useful on this planet, not just living for my family and myself but for the beings that are in dire need of us.
Q: Why Animal Liberation?
Why not!! It is the only cause that attracts me because the non human animals have never harmed us in any way shape or form and it is an animal holocaust happening this very minute. We will also open the first animal sanctuary in Peru because believe it or not there isn't one and we plan on attending to it for the rest of our lives. That is our dream. Obviously, would love to attend a DxE Forum to receive the proper rescue training, but all will come in due time. During my first vigil, the last thing I saw was this beautiful baby cow looking at us asking for our help. That look is embedded in my mind at all times.
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