Animal Rights Activist Profile: Ateret Goldman
Q: What inspired you to first get involved with activism and to join DxE?
When I first learned about what’s happening to animals in the system, I was immediately touched by it and realized I couldn’t partake anymore. I quickly realized that other people weren’t so touched by one video and that it’s a pretty special thing to be able to see one thing and change your entire life. I knew that I needed to do more and I started looking for ways to change the world. I was able to connect with people in DxE and learned more about Animal Rights theory and theories of social change. Once I learned about that, I knew I couldn’t turn my back from this work.
Q: What is your favorite or most accomplished moment in activism or other DxE activity?
The moment I did my first speak out was the most empowered I ever felt. The overwhelming support I’ve had from the community with that experience and everything else I’ve done, has been incredibly life changing. We are a community that takes people and “lights them on fire” by empowering them to make waves in this world.
After getting to know animals, other than humans and seeing their individuality, I’ve become extremely sensitive to images of their exploitation. Both while they are alive and images of them being commodified. I have built up the capacity to take radical actions in the name of that love. For example, exposing the reality of “butcher counters” that are simply a speciesist and white-washed funeral. I know that the individuals backing that system are generally unaware of the reality of what is occurring and I feel that it is our obligation to disrupt that system and expose the truth.
Q: Are you a part of any working groups or unique activism in your area and how does it influence you?
I’m part of the outreach and activism working groups locally and also part of the global social media working group. I think the power of working groups for me has been really embracing my own talents and what I am passionate about. I’m super super excited about the work that I do with the social media team. I really really enjoy that group of people. I think working groups are awesome because we are able to be excited about pretty much everything we are doing within them. I don’t know of a better feeling than working in a group that all has shared values and is working towards the same long term and short term goals.
Q: How does your status as a young person in the AR movement affect your activism?
I think this is a really mixed question, because the reactions I get being my age in this movement are profoundly different. In a broader sense, the reactions from people who know me personally or are involved in DxE has been phenomenal. I’ve never felt more respected and valued in my life. While on the other hand, the reactions from outside people who don’t understand the message have been extremely condescending. Overall, out of all the negative things I've faced being an activism, the love I’ve received has reaffirmed the concept and philosophy that the universe is on the side of justice.
In terms of parental support, my mom was really influenced by the videos I showed her of animals other than humans in farms and she has grown to be incredibly supportive of the work that I do. After engaging in countless conversations about theory, we have come to a shared resolution about our values. Her support has overshadowed any of the backlash from other family members. She’s been able to really appreciate my depth in activism and delve deeper than what I ever expected.
Q: How does being raised as an Orthodox Jew affected your activism?
I was raised an Orthodox Jew until a few years ago and because of that, I have been able to be in touch with a tremendous tragedy that occurred to our community, as well as being able to experience being a part of a tight knit group that thrived off our shared values. This has influenced me by giving me a foundation in collectivist relationships that allowed me to delve deeply into this community. Jews have also generally showed up in mass to support other social justice movements throughout history. As long as I can remember, I’ve been exposed to images and victims of the Jewish holocaust and that has made me a lot more sensitive to imagery of animal suffering on farms. Both of these influences have further motivated me to embrace this movement and shift animal rights activism towards the forefront of my identity.
Q: How do you stay motivated as an activist?
The community that is DxE, is phenomenal. The relationships I’ve built from it could withstand most things. When I connect with animals other than humans, especially those who have been rescued from this system of oppression, it motivates me to not only prioritize them in my life, but figure out how to do so in a sustainable fashion. As hard as it is to take time off, the animals need us for at least 40 more years. We have to be able to keep up that fight!
Q: What advice would you give to new activists?
My advice for new activists would be to jump in. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in the community who have been doing activism longer. There is always a place you can contribute. Reach beyond your comfort zone and ask where those places are. If you don’t see those places, start your own projects and make what you want to see happen in this movement, happen for animals. Just do it!!!
Q: Why Animal Liberation?
Once we recognize that a system is unjust, we have the moral obligation to try to change that system and quite honestly, if I was a non-human animal, I would be furious if people weren’t taking these actions. Animals feel just like us and I know that they have the right to be free from suffering. Once you’ve come to that conclusion, there is nothing left to do except fight for their rights.
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