Activist Profile: February 25, 2015
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I grew up in San Diego and moved around quite a bit after that. I lived in Santa Cruz, Memphis, and Denver, and then spent 7 years in Anchorage. Now I live in Seattle.
What got you interested in veganism and animal advocacy?
I started doing activism pretty soon after becoming vegan. Up to that point, I had no idea how horribly the animals were treated and was really shocked when I started learning about it. I thought other people might have a similar reaction and I wanted to get the information out to as many people as I could.
Who has been an influence to you for your activism?
Shortly after getting involved in outreach, I came across Bruce Friedrich’s essay “Effective Advocacy: Stealing from the Corporate Playbook.” It completely changed my approach to veganism and activism. One of the biggest things I realized was that I’d been putting “personal purity” above “effective advocacy.” It helped me see the bigger picture and be more effective. The Animal Activist’s Handbook was also extremely helpful. I try to follow Matt Ball and Bruce Friedrich’s advice very closely.
You make music, right? And what else do you do for fun?
I enjoy spending time with family and friends, playing with my dog, camping, writing instrumental music, and collaborating with other musicians on projects. I play guitar and a little bit of keyboard, and I’m learning the drums.
What was your most positive leafleting experience and why?
I’ve had a couple experiences where I got to see an immediate effect. One time I was leafleting at a festival, and I gave a guy a leaflet on his way in. He passed me as he was leaving a couple hours later and said that he’d read through it and was going to stop eating meat. Another time, at a community college, I handed a woman a leaflet and she brought it back about 30 seconds later. She said, “Those pictures are enough, I’m a vegetarian now.”
Another great experience was a conversation I had with a guy who said he wanted to help animals, but felt like going vegan was “too extreme.” I asked him about trying it one day a week, like doing Meatless Mondays, and he said, “That I could definitely do! And I think I could even get the rest of my family to do it with me!” He walked away seeming really excited.
Do you have any advice for those hesitant about leafleting?
I think most people are nervous their first time leafleting, but it gets more comfortable the more you do it. I’m extremely shy and wasn’t sure if I’d ever get used to it, and now I actually love leafleting. All you have to do is smile and nicely offer someone a leaflet. Even if you’re feeling shy, you can do a great job at it!
I think it helps to start off somewhere like a college campus, where you’ll have a high take-rate. If you can find someone who’s leafleted before to go with the first couple times, that will help too.
If you get nervous, just think of all the animals you’re helping. And remember that anyone who becomes vegan because of a leaflet you give them will probably look back and be so grateful they encountered you that day!