Chicago VeganMania, one of the largest vegan events in the country, with thousands of attendees, is coming up in just a few days -- September 21.
I was lucky enough to catch up with one of the founders and organizers of the event -- author, activist, and feminist agitator Marla Rose -- to discuss the process of organizing such a huge event, dealing with in-fighting, and the interplay between feminism and animal rights.
How do we measure social change? Do we measure social change in terms of how many people are becoming Vegetarians and Vegans? While doing so may seem to be the answer, there may be different and better measures.
In three weeks -- just three short weeks -- we mobilized thousands of activists, in 41 cities and 17 countries.
There is latent energy out there, waiting to be realized. We are tired of apologizing, of begging, and of pretending that atrocities are not being committed. And when we come together for animal liberation, as we did on August 24, we can achieve great things.
It's 3:49 am, and I've barely slept in the past three days. I destroyed my car in a highway accident. I am arguing with supposed allies of the animals, about whether it's wrong for tortured bodies to be eaten. My mom is suffering from a horrendous disease that will eventually take her life.
And yet I am filled with hope. Because I can see the path forward.
Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, perhaps the most prominent writer in the country on issues of social justice, asks the country today:
Some day, will our descendants be mystified by how good and decent people in the early 21st century — that’s us — could have been so oblivious to the unethical treatment of animals?
What shapes our behavior and beliefs, more than anything else, is the one thing that most people will not admit to being affected by: the people around us.
But a massive body of research has proven the myth of independence. Human beings are not willing to believe their own eyes, if social pressure pushes them not to. Ethical people become abusive tyrants, when the institutions around them encourage it. And they will even kill defenseless victims, when they believe it’s expected of them by an authority figure. We are, in other words, highly social creatures.