I never wanted to be that person who held up the posters at Rodeos. Or that person who went to slaughterhouses to film the appalling conditions of the animals.
I always wanted to be the quiet vegan, the one that shared their knowledge with those close to them in the hopes of helping them to make the change.
I would share what I had learned and hope they joined me, comfortable with the fact that I had helped a little.
They would then share their knowledge and it would spread, quietly and efficiently across the globe. Word of mouth works right? Also, I can just lead by example, right??
This view has now changed after an enlightening conversation with an activist friend.
She was talking to another friend of hers about activism and trying to understand why her friend wasn’t an activist. Her friend answered basically the same as I would: I don’t want to be one of those pushy vegans. She too was quite happy just doing her own thing, confident in the knowledge that she was part for change.
Then my friend said something that would change my mind. Quite simply and lovingly, and for that I love her.
Her argument went something like this: if it wasn’t for all of those women getting out of their lounge rooms and fighting for what they believed in, we wouldn’t have the opportunities we have today.
The truth of this statement struck me, like a mallet to the chest.
In the past, I have connected with this energy, the collective of strong women who came before me, and it’s real and still exists inside of us today. I have had moments of intense gratitude for the women who came before, who fought for their rights so I could enjoy mine.
I just know my friend is right – if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have what I have. If they had all sat on their bums in the safety of their own happy marriages, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
And the dichotomy is real. I have one grandmother who was treated with respect and love, allowed to do what she wanted when she wanted, who had control of the money and the house, who was effectively the boss of her home. I also have another grandmother who was raped and beaten on a regular basis by a drunken husband and had to watch as her kids were beaten as well. This grandmother is now completely deaf in one ear because of the abuse she suffered. I know all too well the extremes of the patriarchy.
If it wasn’t for the women who had the courage to stand up, I probably would not be here today, as at least one grandparent could have been beaten to death. If she didn’t have the courage to fight for her own right to be safe and those of her children, to stand up for her beliefs, my life would be totally different.
So I made a choice. If not for the animals themselves, then for all of the activists that came before me, for women’s rights, against racism, to end Apartheid, against slavery. If these people didn’t stand up for what they believed in and had the courage and strength to make this world what they believed it should be, our world would be much different and I have nothing but respect and gratitude for them.
I believe we do not need animal products to be healthy.
I believe that to subjugate and exploit any being, to do things to them without consent and against their clearly visible will is wrong.
I believe that we need to stop animal abuse, because for me, all life is sacred.
So I’m going to start on my activist path. I’m not one to jump right in the deep end, I’m going to test the waters of some groups and see which one is the best fit. I’m going to give my time the best way I know how to promoting Veganism and helping to end animal abuse. This might mean simply volunteering at vegan events or it might mean holding banners outside of rodeos, who knows?
I am going to devote more time to being active in what I believe in.
For the animals and in the memory of all of those people who came before me and helped shape the world we live in.
I am also thinking I will include women’s rights to this list, but I’ll see what the universe sends my way. 😁