Rachel Black

Activist Profile: September 24, 2014

Rachel_Black-2014Where are you from and where do you live now?

I grew up in Chester Springs, PA, a small woodsy town 45 minutes outside of Philly. I now live in Philadelphia and have lived here since 2010.

What got you interested in veganism and animal advocacy?

I became vegetarian after seeing Food, Inc. shown in one of my college classes at Temple University. After that, I went back to being pescatarian, and finally went vegan after starting volunteering at the Humane League-Philly. I decided to volunteer for such an organization after learning more about factory farming and researching on my own about the horrors of the meat industry. Someone’s got to speak up for the voiceless; they are at our mercy. So I decided to do everything in my power to help those suffering in factory farms.

Who has been a major influence in your life?

Rachel Atcheson. She is the first person I met at the Humane League, and she was my supervisor as I volunteered. I observed her incredible energy for this movement, watched as she tirelessly gave all of herself to helping animals, and she has inspired me greatly. I’ve learned so much in a short time with her about effective advocacy.

Can you tell us about your paintings?

I have painted several series of paintings featuring farm animals. The first was a darker series of large paintings depicting animals inside factory farms, my plea to viewers to see some of the suffering that goes on. The next series that I have built and am still working on is a body of paintings featuring pigs, chickens, and cows in interior settings. The backgrounds are minimalistic, contrasting a more detailed animal. The settings include living rooms, kitchens, and a child’s bedroom. My thoughts behind this series are to close the distance between us humans and farm animals, by placing them in familiar comfortable settings. If you want to see for yourself, my website is here.

What’s been your favorite leafleting experience on your current tour?

My favorite leafleting experience so far has been at Montclair State University. Volunteer Mara Collopy joined me, and we fed off of each other’s enthusiasm and positivity all day. We got 4,450 out and stayed there for 7 hours but had a blast the whole time. It was crazy busy, not much downtime, which made it exciting.

Do you have any advice for those hesitant about leafleting?

It has been a great experience for me, as it has forced me out of my comfort zone, and I gained valuable social skills. I enjoy all the conversations that occur while leafleting, and talking to a variety of people. I still get butterflies each day right before my first leaflet, but that quickly disappears at the second one. It’s easy to get on a roll, and just remember who you’re doing this for!