Activist Profile: April 29, 2015
Where are you from?
I was born in Sheffield, Alabama, but my dad was career Army and we moved frequently. So I’m not really from anywhere.
What got you interested in veganism and animal advocacy?
I was vegetarian, but not vegan, when I moved to Richmond, VA. I saw a flyer for a vegetarian society and thought it would be a good way to meet people. A woman I met there kept inviting me to her animal rights group meetings and events. I finally went to one, Fur-Free Friday in 1990.
The group tried to cover all issues, so I assume my first veg event was the Great American Meatout the following March. We also did outreach for Earth Day, anti-veal demonstrations for Mother’s Day, etc.
Who has been a major influence in your life?
I could never list them all. But the woman I met at the vegetarian society also guided me to veganism. I remember when I was considering giving up cheese (there were no good vegan cheeses in those days), she suggested I could start with giving up cheeses with rennet. After she told me what rennet was, I was happy to take that step. It wasn’t that hard, and soon I took another step. And here I am.
There are many like her out there. Few would recognize their names, but they influence many.
You’ve been leafleting for a long time, totally as a volunteer. What is it about leafleting that compels you devote so much time to it?
I think leafleting is what I can do best. I’m not a good speaker, writer, etc. I promote veganism because of the sheer number of animals and because what to eat is a decision everyone must make every day. Also, when I went to the vegetarian society events in Richmond, I went for social reasons. I was still exploring where to volunteer. The more I learned about veganism, the more I realized by promoting it I was also working for many other causes I cared about – the environment, world hunger, etc.
What do you do for fun when you’re not leafleting?
I recently retired and thought I’d do things I didn’t have time for when I worked, like learning to play bridge. But instead I help with college leafleting, weekday protests, etc. – things that are difficult for those who have work to do. I find that these activities bring me more satisfaction, and I enjoy being around other vegans and activists.
Do you have any advice for those hesitant about leafleting?
Just give it a try! You might be surprised by how much you like it. I was. I’m not usually that outgoing.