I was born to parents who instilled in me a sense of civic duty, compassion for the powerless, respect for status-quo-challengers such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and a love for animals, the environment, and the outdoors. Therefore, it’s not shocking that I opted to become a vegan – the ultimate expression of love for the earth and compassion for the powerless.
My “light bulb moment” regarding eating animals occurred when I was 14 while in my French class. We were learning how to pronounce the names of farmed animals, and the French interpretations of animal sounds (such as “groin groin” instead of “oink oink”). In that same class, we learned how to say the French terms for cuts of meat, such as “côtelette de porc” for “porkchop”. For the first time, I truly connected the meat I consumed nearly three times a day with the animals who died to become my food. I went vegetarian nearly overnight.
Throughout high school and college, I furthered my commitment to social justice by becoming vegan, playing an active role in protesting U.S. aggression in the Middle East, and creating my own undergraduate major at Evergreen State College called Environmental Economics and Policy. I took part in civil disobedience activities to end military recruitment of college students and shut down the operation of major coal plants before I earned the attention of Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), where I was brought on in 2009 as Online Outreach Coordinator.
These days, I spends more time agitating from the computer than on the activist frontlines. As Executive Director since 2012, I oversee FARM’s Public Outreach and Vegan Support program departments, Communications department, and Fundraising department under the Sustained Vegan Advocacy strategy, which moves hundreds of thousands of people from unaware consumers to informed aspiring vegans, a portion of them into full-time vegans, and a portion of them into dedicated activists through out 10 Billion Lives mini-documentary, Live Vegan support resources, and classroom lectures.
I believe that we vegans need to support social justice causes beyond only animals rights, which is why I continue volunteering regularly at a Baltimore-based organization combatting sexual assault and why I authored a viral letter to the Boy Scouts of America protesting their refusal to admit gay and transgender Scouts and leaders. I also believes that we vegans shouldn’t take ourselves seriously 100% of the time, which is why I’ve played bass guitar for several punk rock bands, refine my cooking skills regularly, and garden, hike, and do yoga when I can find the time. Vegans should be excellent advocates but also joyful company!