|Enewsletter • January 16, 2013|
Notes from Vegan Outreach
Activist Profile: Dawn Ratcliffe
What made you decide to start leafleting?
Having done a considerable amount of tabling, event organizing, and other forms of activism, I came to realize that just because a particular project requires countless hours of preparation, doesn’t mean that it’s the most effective and efficient use of time. And while leafleting may lack the glamour of other types of outreach, it is not only one of the best uses of time but one of the simplest forms of activism for effecting change. The work of Vegan Outreach definitely had an impact on me, although I didn’t quite understand how college leafleting could be so impactful until I actually did it.
What was your most positive leafleting experience?
There have been so many over the years, but it was an outing in September of 2012 at the University of North Florida that had a profound impact on me and reminded me how important this work is. A woman shared with me a story about two pet lambs who she had befriended and spent countless hours with every week over the course of two years during her childhood. One day, her parents slaughtered them and then fed them to her before telling her that she was eating her friends. She went vegetarian that day. She was thankful for the Compassionate Choices booklet that I handed her and is committed to going vegan, as she sees it as not being consistent with her values to continue eating animal products, especially when she thinks about her animal friends she lost years ago. Needless to say, we both started crying as she relayed the story to me. Her absolute love for those animals was so intense and her experiences will undoubtedly influence others to make positive dietary and lifestyle changes.
From “Your Daily Dose of Vegan Outreach!” & Jack Norris RD Blogs
Product of the Week
Dawn: “Beyond Meat is in many Whole Foods in CA, all of AZ, some places in MD, UT, KS (shock, right?), NM, and CO, and is being launched elsewhere soon.”
Photo: Beyond Meat
Notes from Our Members
I leafleted a woman today at Mt. San Antonio
College [Mary, left] who had wanted to go vegetarian for
years! She didn’t have any good resources, and
her husband repeated the usual misconceptions
about the standard American diet. I talked to
her for a while, showed her part of the Guide, and she stood nearby reading for a few minutes.
I left her alone as I leafleted other students,
but she came back to me with more questions.
She is giving a vegan diet a shot, and she even
joined me in leafleting for almost two hours!
She’s a natural leafleter, too!
This was my most productive semester of leafleting
yet! Not just in terms of total people reached,
but in how many people were interested in moving
towards vegetarian and vegan diets! Students
are becoming more familiar with vegetarian and
vegan eating through popular culture, documentaries,
and their college courses. Many people are open
to it, we just have to reach them and give them
that final push. As one student told me at Miami Dade
College, it’s just not fair what we do to animals.
At the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, I met 7
vegetarians and 3 vegans. A bunch of folks
were super supportive and thanked me for what
I was doing, and quite a few people passed me
saying, “No” or “No, I don’t
want to look at that,” but then came back
after a few steps and requested one, saying
genuinely that they’d read it over. One person
hailed me down when I was walking through the
union and said, “I wanted to thank you
for giving me that booklet. I read it all. I
was hiding in the corner of the union, bawling
– that stuff is horrifying. I was just on the
phone with my friend from South Dakota – we’re
going to eat less meat.”
Huge day at North Centers Community College
and Fresno State – Jonathan and I reached more than
1,600 students. Highlight of the day at Fresno
State for me was chatting it up with a small
group of sorority women [right] who were doing a breast
cancer awareness display. I bought some raffle
tickets and noticed they had VO booklets, so
we chatted. At least 2 of them were already
seriously considering changing their diet, so
I’m glad I stopped by. I gave them all
Yuri, Nick, Jennifer, Boyd and I had a great day
at Florida International University, with good
interactions. For example, a janitor at the
school said that he had seen stuff on TV which
led him to Google factory farming. He was appalled
and disgusted but was still struggling with
the diet. I gave him a Guide.
Sigrid, Sheila, and I had a huge day of outreach at Vancouver Island University. Memorable quotes:
Huge new record
at the University of Louisiana, Monroe. There were
lots of smiling, booklet-taking kids, and I
reached over 1,000 students. One guy came back
several times to ask questions; e.g., about plants
feeling pain. I told him that there was a difference
between responding to stimuli and the experience
of what we consider suffering, and that without
a central nervous system, a brain, there would
be no suffering, that any reputable biologist
would say the same thing. And if we were really
honest with ourselves, we’d accept that there’s
a big difference between mowing the lawn and,
say, slitting a dog’s throat. He left saying
that not only would he relay his good experience
with a vegan to others in the future, but he
would also go vegan for the next week. I thanked
him, shook his hand, and Guided him.