Animal Rights Activist Profile: Cassie King
Q: What inspired you to first get involved with activism and to join DxE?
When I came to Berkeley to attend Cal, I was vegetarian, but there must be something progressive in the air here because within a few months I had gone from vegetarian to vegan to activist. Really, I have to thank the compassionate people who helped educate me, like my residence hall roommate, Serah Almeyda. After learning about the violence behind all animal products, I joined the student animal rights group, Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy. From Kitty Jones and others, I learned about Direct Action Everywhere, a network of animal rights activists who took the message of animal liberation to the streets... and inside restaurants? The idea of disruptions was certainly hard to picture, but it also made sense to me even before I heard the social justice theories behind it. I was a new vegan, just woken up to the horrors happening all around me, and I felt compelled to help others see the truth, too.
Q: What is your favorite or most accomplished moment in activism or other DxE activity?
The most meaningful moment in my activism so far has been directly liberating animals as part of an Open Rescue team. Although I have been part of Open Rescue since the first time I came to a Saturday meetup and added my voice to the DxE community, it was an incredibly powerful experience to physically carry a sick hen out of a place of violence and bring her to a sanctuary, where I saw her take her first steps outside. Maya helped me understand animal liberation as a reality, and her story inspires me every day to work toward this goal.
Q: Are you a part of any working groups or unique activism in your chapter and how do they influence your activism?
In the SF Bay Area chapter, I am part of a few different working groups. One that has definitely influenced my activism is the protest working group because it has given me the resources and assistance needed to marshal actions. The third protest I helped marshal took place during the DxE Forum this past May and involved over 300 activists. Explaining the action plan to so many people (while my instructions were also livestreamed!) strengthened my confidence and now I know that with planning and support, we can all do more than we ever thought was possible.
Q: How do you stay motivated as an activist?
I eat A LOT of cookies.
Q: What advice would you give to new activists?
The most challenging things are often the most rewarding. If you only do what feels easy and comfortable, you miss out on the opportunity to grow as an activist and a person, to reach new heights, and to inspire others by your example. The struggle for animal rights is a struggle. Embrace the challenges that come your way. Face your fears. Learn from your mistakes. Turn to others for support when you need it. And always remember the animals for whom you are fighting.
Q: Why Animal Liberation?
If we were in the situation that so many nonhuman animals are in now, we would not be happy with anything less than liberation. Some people's choice not to eat us wouldn't set us free. Larger cages wouldn't keep us from being killed. Only animal liberation would give us the lives we truly deserve.
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