Animal Rights Activist Profile: Araceli Rodriguez
Q: How have your identities influenced your activism?
As a person of color, women and queer person, I want people in privileged groups to speak up for me. So, as someone having human privilege, I should use mine to fight for their right to be free from human oppression.
DxE helped me embrace who I am as a person of color, women and queer person. DxE celebrates and embraces diversity and is the only time in my life that I’ve felt proud of who I am. Before joining DxE, I had never even heard the term “person of color” or knew I was a part of this group. I was so uneducated about critical race theory, but DxE changed all that for me. Learning more about critical race theory, lead me to the path of decolonizing myself. I had always wanted to know more about my roots and who I really am and DxE encouraged that in me. My path to decolonizing myself has lead to identify myself as a Xicana. I no longer want to be called Latina or Hispanic because those are white supremacists termed used to disconnect me from my indigenous roots.
Q: What inspired you to first get involved with activism and to join DxE?
What inspired me to first get involved with DxE is a video of a disruption on Facebook. The first action that I saw was of DxE doing a die-in inside
Chipotle. I thought the activists were so brave for going in there and speaking up for animals. I loved how they were unapologetic and how the actions DxE did were creative. I thought it gave such a strong, serious message, as if to say “We aren’t taking this anymore!”. It made eating animal’s bodies a controversial topic, which is exactly what we should be doing. We need to make it a taboo, something that is not social acceptable anymore.
Q: What is your favorite or most accomplished moment in activism or other DxE activity?
My most accomplished moment in DxE was developing our other people to become outspoken activists. I love seeing lonely vegans go from being shy to outspoken animal liberation activists. DxE has empowered me in so many ways. I used to never bring up animal rights to anyone for fear of being the “preachy vegan”. But DxE has made me realize that I shouldn’t care what people think, instead, we should be speaking up as if we were the victims. As someone from multiple oppressed groups, I want people to speak up for me and fight for my rights in an unapologetic way and this is exactly what DxE does.
Q: How do you stay motivated as an activist?
I stay motivated as an activist by reminding myself of what the animals are going through, having a micro sanctuary, being around other activists and mostly importantly doing self-care. Going to the truck stop actions forces you to come face-to-face with the victims you are fighting for and motivates me to keep taking action for them. Once you see them right before they are about to be killed, you can’t help but to take action for them. At the DxE house we are currently fostering to no humans named Helen and Oma. They are both so sweet and smart. Its hard for me to believe that people actually eat their family. Living at the DxE Chicago House with other vegans and anti-speciesist activists helps me stay on track and gives me the support and love I need to continue to keep fighting for animal liberation. I think if I didn’t have the support of all the activists, I currently live with now, I would be very bunt out and possibly not come back to do activism for animals. Having a supportive, safe community is a must-have when
being an animal rights activist. The last thing that has helped me stay motivated is doing self-care. This is incredibly important to do! I learned this lesson the hard way, by giving my all to the cause without giving anything to myself. So, I urge everyone new and old to practice self-care. I have a reminder on my phone to do it. Find a time or day that works for you and devote sometime to yourself. Do what you love or nothing at all, whatever feels right for you on that day/time.
Q: What advice would you give to new activists?
Some advice that I would give to new activists is to conquer your fear by doing what scares you. I know this is easier said than done. But I promise that doing what scares you, will make you feel better —whether it is doing a speak out or going to a community event where you don’t know anyone. I remember the first time I spoke out for animals, inside Steak ’N Shake, I was so anxious and once I started I was so nervous and forgot most of my speak out. But even though my speak out wasn’t perfect, it still felt good speaking my mind to a room full of people. I felt alive and like I was doing the right thing.
Want to get involved? DxE is a grassroots network focused on empowering you to be the best activist you can be. Here are some steps you can take.