Why “Challenges in the Black Community” is Missing from Until Every Animal is Free

Why “Challenges in the Black Community” is Missing from Until Every Animal is Free
By Saryta Rodriguez

I have a confession to make. If you read the book already, you may have noticed that while I address challenges to veganism and animal activism in the Hispanic community, and the same in the Asian community, I do not address challenges in the Black community. This is not because I don’t care about the Black community, or because Black people don’t care about animals. The reasons for this are simple:

a) I had two sources in mind, women who I wanted to interview for the book, and neither was available because they are both such industrious and diligent people, and

b) there were initiatives I hadn’t yet heard of when writing the book, and by the time I discovered these and sought to add this information to it, the book had gone into production, and I was forbidden from making further changes to the manuscript.

I could have summarized their points, or what I thought might be their points, without their input, but as the discussion of the Hispanic community included a voice from that community (mine) and the discussion of the Asian community included a voice from that community, I didn’t feel it would be appropriate to piece together a section on the Black community without a single Black voice contributing to said section.

I would like to acknowledge the two people whose insights I had hoped to include in Until Every Animal is Free:

Brenda Sanders is the founder of the Vegan Living Program in Baltimore, MD and a member of the Open the Cages Alliance. Read an interview I conducted with her in February 2015 here.

Tamearra Dyson is the owner and creator of Souley Vegan Café in Oakland, CA. As the website rightly claims, this fun and friendly 100% vegan soul food joint “…creates an atmosphere of fun, love, culture and happiness that is centered around the distinctive flavors of the South.” It is perhaps my very favorite restaurant in Oakland.

In April of this year, I was thrilled to attend the Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter conference, through which I became familiar with the amazing work of Dr. A. Breeze Harper. Sadly, my book was due early that month, and after I attended the conference on the weekend of the 25th, I pleaded to add a few pages about Breeze, the conference and the praxis in general— how the broader animal rights community has tried and, for the most part, failed to include a Black perspective without appropriating or exploiting it—to no avail.

I submitted this article to a blog I wrote for often at the time, and it was rejected. Sadly, I did not know of many other places to submit it at that time, so ultimately I decided to save it for this book site. Hope you enjoy it!

Finally, I was not on social media for many years until a few months ago. While my return to social media has not always been stellar, one reason for which I am eternally grateful to have done so is that it was through Facebook that I encountered the incredible Kevin Tillman and the Vegan Hip Hop Movement. Highly recommend you follow this blog for amazing music, and the Facebook page for interviews, inspirational quotes and other goodies.

 

 

 

 

 

All content © Saryta Rodriguez, 2015