Animal Rights Activist Profile: Tim Swartz
Q: What inspired you to first get involved with activism and to join DxE?
I read Animal Liberation by Peter Singer and was exposed in detail for the first time to what happens with animals in modern farms, and I decided then I would go vegan. Immediately afterwards I got involved with a Wisconsin based animal advocacy group and helped organize The Milwaukee Veg Expo. It was at the Veg Expo where I met many of the organizers with the Chicago chapter of DxE. They encouraged me and another Wisconsin activist and I to start a DxE chapter in WI, and we agreed. We managed to recruit a good sized group during the expo and put together the first ever DxE disruption in Wisconsin at a Whole Foods immediately following the expo. DxE Wisconsin was born there.
Q: What is your favorite or most accomplished moment in activism or other DxE activity?
Hands down, the street blockade at last year's DxE forum. That was the coolest moment I've had as an activist. Over 100 activists blocking off a busy San Francisco intersection, animal liberation banners flying in the wind, megaphones blaring on all sides, cars honking - the intensity of the moment was unmatched by anything else I've been involved in.
Q: Are you a part of any working groups or unique activism in your chapter and how do they influence your activism?
Our chapter is not yet big enough for working groups, but I have enjoyed learning more about video editing recently. I'm also excited about putting together a presentation about DxE to give at colleges, churches, etc.
Q: How do you stay motivated as an activist?
I draw constant motivation from my friends in the DxE community. Their dedication and focus on the cause of animal liberation inspires me to push on in spite of the difficulties of doing activism.
Q: What advice would you give to new activists?
Keep your cool. When you immerse yourself into a cause like ours you have to constantly deal with the frustrations of being a part of a culture that is largely indifferent to the suffering inflicted on non-human animals. It's so important that we direct our outrage against the systems that normalize violence rather than against individuals who are largely victimized by that system. Be careful to research and understand the issues and learn how to effectively communicate them with kindness and humility. Find healthy ways to deal with your negative emotions.
Q: Why Animal Liberation?
Other animals have an interest in freedom just like we do. When two individuals share an equal interest and only the interests of one are respected, that is discrimination. There is no justification for the ways in which we discriminate against other species. The only humane thing we can do for them is to liberate them.
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.
- Sign up to our mailing list and share our content on social media.
- Join a local DxE community (or, better yet, come visit us in Berkeley).
- Take the Liberation Pledge. And join us in building a true social movement for animals.