6 Animal Rights Activists Share About Their Journey to Activism.

Cheyenne Danner

Photo Credit: Jesper Valencia Gonzalez.

I was really afraid of activism for several years. A lot of people I knew, in the vegan community in San Francisco condemned activists for one reason or another. A lot of it was one sided information or negative judgements without seeking to understand their methods. Since they were the only vegans I knew and I trusted them, I stayed away from activism and even told others to do the same. 
Then, I watched a video of Earthling Ed’s speech at the Official Animal Rights March in London a couple years ago. He included an analogy that changed everything for me. It goes a bit like this:

There’s a man beating a dog with a stick and a second man approaches. The first man tells the second that he has another sick and asks him to join in beating the dog to death. At this point the second man has three choices. He can join in beating the dog, which would be participating. The second option is to refuse to participate and leave. This is non- participation which is basically what being vegan is. The last option is to not only refuse to participate, but to also do everything in his power to try and stop the first man from beating the dog to death. This is the only option where the dog does not die, and that is why being vegan is not enough, we also have to be activists.

This made something click inside my head. I thought I was already doing what was necessary to end the suffering for animals, but I wasn’t. I was scared to get involved, especially because I didn’t want to be judged negatively by other vegans, but I knew I had to do something. I went to my first Cube of Truth on November 5th, 2017. It felt so good that a week later I decided to start a chapter in San Francisco! After just one month, I quit my job to pursue activism full-time. It’s been a bit over a year now and I can say with full confidence that becoming an activist was the best decision I’ve ever made and going vegan is a close second. Click here to learn more about Cheyenne Danner.

Rob Lopez

I never really knew about animal farming till the day I went to record the video for my friend. While I was recording all I could hear were the screams of innocent beings being mistreated and put through pain. I moved to Winton, CA the day of my first cube. The screams never left my mind. They were always in the back of my mind. I asked myself why is this going on and why did they never show us this part of what were meat came from.

As time went by living in the Central Valley of California all I would see is animal agriculture and I got a job in the fruit and vegetable fields. I worked near some of the places and would hear the sounds of beings trapped. So, I decided to look for a Cube of Truth near me to do more. As time went by, I kept getting more involved and learn so much from different communities and liked-minded humans. Click here to learn more about Rob Lopez.

Danielle West

Tell us about our journey to activism? Why are you an activist?

I have always been an animal lover and have always used my voice without hesitation for them. A year ago, I went on a trip to Thailand and I visited my favorite animals, elephants, at a sanctuary there (Elephant Nature Park)- It was here that I knew my life’s purpose was to be a voice for these animals…not just sometimes or when the ‘issues’ smacked me in the face, but forever, full time, all the time. It was in Thailand that my life changed. I came home to Portland, OR and got involved with Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants right away…I became vegan. I became…Elephant Dani. Click here to learn more about Danielle West.

Cheyanne Holiday

What lead you to veganism? How long ago?

After going vegan, I was instantly impassioned and called to action. I began seeing what non-human animals go through in this industry and knew that being vegan wasn’t nearly enough. After watching earthlings, I could no longer be silent. A month after going vegan I began organizing an event called “Walk for Love” with a friend of mine, Indy. This triggered a headfirst dive into activism. I began attending Vigils with Portland Animal Save, Cubes of Truth with Anonymous for the Voiceless and Disruptions with Direct Action Everywhere. Within a month of attending 3+ events a week, I formed PEACE: Promoting Equality, Acceptance & Compassion Everywhere. To date, PEACE has chapters in Portland OR, Seattle WA, Fairfield IA and Anchorage AK. We are actively looking for more organizers. We are also currently in the beginning of a campaign aimed at encouraging the ice cream shop Salt & Straw to stop supporting slavery and go vegan. Our intention is to protest and engage in meaningful conversations until that occurs. I believe that if we don’t take immediate and urgent action as a global collective then humanities fate of this planet will be less than ideal. I have grown up watching the world burn, and I am done silently awaiting an apocalypse. Each and every one of us has the ability to make substantial change, and I intend to spend every waking second I have encouraging people to wake up to their power. Click here to learn more about Cheyanne Holiday.

Vegan Batgirl

I started out joining other people’s activism in NYC and Los Angeles in 2013 and 2014.  I would join fur protests, marches and animal saves.  At the time, I didn’t feel like the marches aligned with my personality.  I felt like my sign was too small to be read from far and then the only thing that could play out was that people would hear us chanting and yelling. Now, while this is still an important part of activism, it didn’t get the eyeballs that something else could.  This is where the Vegan Batman Light was born.  You don’t need hundreds of activists to do it, just 1 activist and the message on the wall, along the freeway, a stadium or a popular area can be seen by 1000’s of people in seconds.  It’s a passive message that provides facts to get people to think in a cool, innovative way.

I am an activist because I feel like in the same way my life was changed by becoming vegan, that I want to unwire others from their health ailments and complicit participation in the suffering of animals and destruction of this planet. Any one person that I change will then lead a life that will ultimately be spiritually aligned with goodness…both outwardly for all of us and themselves. Click here to learn more about Vegan Batgirl.

Sandee Stewart

When I went vegan five years ago, I didn’t know what activism meant. It wasn’t a term really that I used or thought about. I’m not really sure why, maybe just because I wasn’t exposed to it, I didn’t know anyone who was an activist.

I was vegan for a few years and I whole heartedly believed that I was doing my best to stop suffering endured by animals.

One day a video came up on my Facebook newsfeed. I watched as one woman bravely marched into Safeway, confidently walked to the meat department, held up a sign, and with such bravery and might, she used her voice and presence to speak up for the animals. And she did it alone. It was so moving and yet again, a seed was planted. I remember thinking, “wow. I want to be like her. I want to speak up for the animals and affect change like that.”

That little seed sat for a few months.

In April of 2017, I was supposed to go to Washington D.C. to meet my cousin and attend March for Science. Unfortunately, a few days before I was supposed to leave the plans fell through and I was really crushed. I think only because of that I decided to attend the March for Science in Portland. I had never gone to a rally or march before, but the issue was something I was passionate about.

Then I saw that there was an event for a group of vegans who would be at the March for Science, but they would be there for the animals. I noticed the woman from the Safeway video was going to be there, so I decided to drive to Portland and attend this event.

I was scared, but I went. 

I held a sign and we marched through the streets of Portland, chanting and speaking up for the animals. I can’t really describe the feelings that came over me during and after the march.  But I knew that I wanted more.

Click here to learn more about Sandee Stewart.

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