Activists Profile: October 19, 2011
Kate St. John and Aaron Ross are longtime dedicated activists and co-directors of the Maryland Office of The Humane League. (Answers by Aaron.)
Where are you from and where do you live now?
We are both from Baltimore and currently live in Ellicott City, MD.
What are your favorite things to do outside of leafleting?
We love playing with our dogs, hiking, lifting weights, going to punk shows, partying, and eating good food.
Who is a major influence in your life?
VO has set a great example for us in terms of taking a smart, pragmatic, and effective approach to activism. My long-time hero and good friend, Nick Cooney, has been the biggest influence in my activist life. I can’t write this without blushing, but Kate says her biggest influence has been me, since I helped her get involved with activism and I inspire her to always be doing as much as she can to help animals (her words, not mine!).
How long have you been involved in animal rights and how did you get interested?
In high school, I was bothered when I learned that in some Asian cultures, people eat dogs and cats. That led me to think about the animals I was eating. So I looked up vegetarianism on the internet, went veg on the spot and then read a couple books and I was sold. I started my own animal rights group that eventually teamed up with The Humane League, who I now work for. Kate got involved in animal rights in 2008 after attending a couple conferences and now also works for The Humane League.
Why do you leaflet?
We used to leave leaflets around town and pass them out at educational events. VO’s Adopt a College inspired us to do it on a much larger scale.
What was your most positive leafleting experience and why?
By far, leafleting the Warped Tour year after year and meeting all the kids who tell us they have gone veg and vegan after reading a leaflet. Plus, it’s uplifting to connect with all the movers and shakers across the country.
What would you say to individuals hesitant about leafleting?
I was once shy and hesitant, but once I got out there and started leafleting, all of that melted away. You will be empowered by how easily you can change someone’s life and save a number of animals by simply handing someone a piece of paper. It’s powerful stuff!