15 Vegan Women Activists of Color You Need to Know About – VegNews

Women have long been the heart and soul of the animal rights movement and a huge catalyst for the shift to mainstream veganism, and these brilliant and brave women-identified activists continue to make veganism more accessible, widespread, and approachable. From literary theorists to undercover investigators, and so much more, these fifteen incredible vegan activists are proving that in order to make history, you must first disrupt the status quo.

1. Aph KoDecolonial theorist, independent digital media producer, author, and public speaker are just a few of the many roles Ko holds. She founded Black Vegans Rock in 2015 to spotlight the voices and experiences of Black vegans after writing the first article that listed 100 Black Vegans, and she is a founding member of the North American Association for Critical Animal Studieswhich is a conference that takes place every other year for anti-speciesist research in human-animal relations. Her newest book, Racism as Zoological Witchcraft: A Guide to Getting Out (a combination of critical race theory, social commentary, veganism, and gender analysis), was published late last year.

2. Rubaiya AhmadThis Bangladesh-based animal activist was spurred to action more than a decade ago, after one of the dogs she cared for was killed by government cullers as part of an ineffective effort to control the countrys rabies problem. In 2009, she founded the countrys first animal welfare organization, Obhoyaronno (meaning Sanctuary), and started a program to sterilize and vaccinate free-roaming dogs against rabieseventually petitioning Dhaka city to end dog culling, which is now nearly nonexistent across the country. The organization has spayed or neutered more than 16,000 dogs to date. She also works continuously to help local schools adopt Meatless Monday and to get giant grocery chains to install vegan sections, and plans to focus on legislative reforms in the future.

3. Angela DavisBest known for her racial justice and human rights activism, Davis is also a longtime vegan, saying in a 2012 interview with Grace Lee Boggs:

Her long history of social justice works includes being the author of over ten books on class, feminism, and the US prison system; co-founding Critical Resistance, an organization working to abolish the prisonindustrial complex; and working as the department director of the feminist studies department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

4. lauren OrnelasAn animal rights advocate for more than 30 years, Ornelas is the founder and executive director of the Food Empowerment Project (FEP), a non-profit food justice organization that encourages consumers to choose compassionate food choicesboth for human workers in the food system, and for the animals. Shes been credited with making Whole Foods CEO John Mackey go vegan, and has campaigns against chocolate produced by labor of West African slavescreating a list of approved, vegan, truly cruelty-free chocolate. Through FEP, Ornelas also helps organize an annual school supply drive for the children of farm workers, as well as a food drive.

5. Aryenish BirdieBirdie is currently the founder and executive director of Encompass, an organization that works to foster greater racial equity and inclusion in the animal rights movement and support activists of color. She previously worked as the Research Outreach and Legislative Policy Manager at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), promoting human-relevant alternatives to the use of animals in testing procedures, and helped secure legislative victories for lab animals. While part of PCRM, she was part of a four-woman team that worked to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act, ensuring that animal protection language was integrated into the law.

6. Dr. Amie Breeze HarperWith over 15 years of experience as a diversity, equity, and inclusion expertworking on everything from conference planning and publishing books and articles, to workshop design and facilitationHarpers experience is vast. Her work creating and editing Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society, a series of literary reflections from North American black-identified vegans, brought to the forefront a diversity of voices not previously given a platform by the vegan community. Harper currently gives talks that encourage literacy around how systemic racism operates in even the most ethical spaces, and offers consultancy services to help organizations with inclusion, diversity, and equity.

7. Michelle CarreraThis queer Puerto Rican vegan food justice activist founded NYCs Chilis on Wheels, an organization that works to make veganism accessible to communities in need by offering free plant-based meals, and the organization has since grown to 14 chapters in various cities. After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September 2017, Carrera traveled there to provide food relief through Chilis on Wheels and helped serve over 15,000 meals in nursing homes, orphanages, domestic violence shelters, and other institutions. But Carrera didnt stop there! In 2018, she also founded Casa Vegana de la Comunidad in Puerto Rico, a permanent headquarters for Chilis on Wheels, and a vegan sustainability-focused house which hosts a micro-sanctuary for rescued animals.

8. Brenda SandersSanders is the founder and president of Afro-Vegan Society, a non-profit organization that makes the vegan lifestyle accessible and approachable in predominantly Black areas and neighborhoods, and is also co-founder and co-coordinator of Thrive Baltimore, a community resource center that provides education and support to those interested in adopting a healthier lifestyle. Sanders also helped organize and start the first Vegan SoulFest, an annual festival that celebrates culture and veganism. She is a founding member of PEP Foods, now called A Greener Kitchen, a collective of vegan food activists who aim to produce healthy foods that offer an affordable alternative to animal products in the Baltimore area. And thats just a few of Sanderss many accomplishments.

9. Jaya BhumitraWith nearly 20 years of experience with campaigns and public affairs, Bhumitras work for animals is multifaceted. From serving as Director of Corporate Outreach for Mercy for Animals and Director of Campaigns for Compassion Over Killing (now called Animal Outlook), to her current role as the Managing Director for Animal Charity Evaluators, a non-profit whose mission is to find and promote the most effective ways to help animals, she has worn many hats. In 2016, Bhumitra also established the corporate outreach department at Animal Equality, and in just three years, led 24 people across eight countries to achieve 120 animal welfare policies from the worlds largest food companies. She currently also serves as an Advisory Council Member for Encompass, an organization focused on racial equity in the animal rights movement.

10. Toni OkamotoThis multi-time cookbook author, former Food and Lifestyle Coordinator for Vegan Outreach, and founder of Plant Based on a Budgeta website that creates free and low-cost resources for individuals on a budget that demonstrates easy, affordable, plant-based eatingis on a mission to make veganism accessible for everyone. Okamoto created the Plant-Based on a Budget Meal Plans, which have helped thousands of people greatly reduce the costs of their grocery bills. She currently co-hosts The Plant-Powered People Podcast and regularly speaks at institutions and conferences about ways to make a plant-based diet healthy and affordable.

11. Dulce RamrezIn 2013, the Mexico chapter of Igualdad Animal (Animal Equality) was founded, with Ramrez leading the charge. In the seven years since its founding, she has worked with her team to end the use of animals in circuses in the state of Jalisco, develop educational programs, petition for legislative changes, and work with companies encouraging them to adopt policies that benefit animalssuch as offering more vegan options. Ramrez is one of only a few female investigators in Mexico working to document the lives of animals on factory farms, turning that footage into public campaigns.

12. Pei-Feng SuSu is the Executive Director and co-founder of ACTAsia, an organization dedicated to humane education in Asia, who puts her focus on educating young people to help them understand the interdependence of all living things. Since the organization was founded in 2006, they have taught more than 65,000 students and trained over 1,000 teachers, in addition to having more than six years worth of humane curriculum being taught in 130 schools. In 2011 the organization launched Fur Free Life, an anti-fur campaign that has recruited 30 retailers in Asia to commit to using ethical alternatives to fur.

13. Dr. Charu ChandrasekeraDirector of laboratory science with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and the Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada, Chandrasekera is working towards a future without animal testing. Her early-on first hand experience in labs showed her how animals are ineffective as models for human disease and now she works on biomedical research, regulatory testing, and developing courses and degrees focused on shifting away from the use of animals in labs and finding human-relevant alternatives.

14. Sneha ShresthaSnehas Care is the shelter for Nepals street dogs that Shrestha founded in 2014 and runs outside of Kathmandu with a team of veterinarians and technicians, caring for more than a hundred dogs with varying degrees of medical issues such as paralyzation and missing limbs. Since she cant buy dog wheelchairs in the country, she imports them for dogs in need and works to educate the public and improve the perception of street dogs in their community, who are often subject to horrific abuse. Her work with street dogs encouraged her to adopt a vegan lifestyle and she has campaigned for many animal rights causes, such as getting the Nepalese government to adopt the countrys first ever animal protection law.

15. Seble NebiyeloulNebiyeloul co-founded International Fund for Africa (IFA) in her native Ethiopia, an organization that has a large vegan food and health program for school children which serves two vegan meals a day to hundreds of children, works to improve sanitation in schools, helps girls make reusable menstrual pads, provides mobile clinics for sterilization and vaccinations for street dogs, and so much more. Today the organization works with A Well Fed World, a food security and environmental advocacy organization, to continue their sustainability focused work. She hopes to expand her activism to one day open a vegan restaurant and a sanctuary for unwanted and abused donkeys and horses.

Sarah McLaughlin is the New Products Editor at VegNews who is endlessly inspired by these incredible activists.

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15 Vegan Women Activists of Color You Need to Know About - VegNews

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