Activist Profile: June 15, 2011
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I’m originally from North Carolina, and moved to California after college. My husband and I spent the last five years in vegan heaven (aka Portland, OR) but recently returned to Southern California where the sun is always shining and there’s always a school to leaflet!
What are your favorite things to do outside of leafleting?
We love to go camping with our cats, some of whom actually seem to enjoy it also. I’m also a big fan of gardening, hiking, cycling, reading, and hanging out with friends.
Who has been / is a major influence in your life and why?
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about my mom, who passed away last year. Although we didn’t see eye to eye on every issue, I know that I got my great love of animals and strong sense of compassion from her. I’ve also been lucky to have had the chance to work with some of Vegan Outreach’s full-time leafleters, and they have really inspired me with their passion and drive.
How long have you been involved in animal rights and how did you get interested?
I’ve always loved animals and was surrounded by cats growing up (and even now!). I became interested in Buddhism while living in Japan about 20 years ago, and decided to go vegetarian based on that philosophy. Back in the States, one day I happened to see Animal Liberation by Peter Singer, on a library shelf next to the Buddhist book section. As soon as I started reading I realized that I’d be vegan before I put it down. That was 15 years ago and I haven’t looked back.
What was your most positive leafleting experience and why?
Every time I Ieaflet I can tell I’ve made a difference for the animals. Just today at Cerritos College I gave a leaflet to a woman who returned 10 minutes later to ask for a starter kit. She had been thinking about going veg and this is going to help her do it. I’ve had people say they are never eating chicken again after looking at the information, and others have thanked me for being there and asked how they can get involved. So I know that this kind of outreach really works!
What would you say to individuals hesitant about leafleting?
Go with a friend your first time or two. Set an easy goal, like handing out 25 leaflets. Don’t be attached to the end result – just know that you are doing your part to educate people on the horrors of factory farming. I know it can seem scary at first to approach total strangers and offer the leaflets. But most people are polite, even if they decline a leaflet. I’ve never had a bad experience leafleting – the most obnoxious comment I get is “I like meat.” And like everything in life, the more you get out there, the easier it gets. I used to be nervous handing out my first leaflet of the day – now I just jump right in! I know this is the best way that I can get the information out about animal suffering, and am happy I have the opportunity to do this work.