Note: I realize not everyone has the privilege to donate. This blog post is about the distribution of collective wealth within the vegan community.
After witnessing many women of color (WOC) being silenced in the community I knew something needed to be done. What truly saddened me was becoming aware of the lack of funding for The Sistah Vegan Project created by Dr. A. Breeze Harper. For those who don’t know, Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a black female vegan social scientist who runs The Sistah Vegan Project which is a much needed academic resource for WOC who feel lost in the vegan community of mostly white individuals.
The Sistah Vegan Project has been asking for funding since May of 2013. The project has only received $7,536 as of Jan. 15 2015 toward a goal of $25,000! The goal amount is insignificant when compared to the revenue of large animal “rights” orgs. In fact, it’s about 1% of the year revenue for Mercy For Animals. Yet, the project hasn’t reached its goal, which is discouraging to say the least.
Posted by Dr. A. Breeze Harper on Dec. 27, 2014 in the Sistah Vegan Project Facebook group:
“Just wanted to give a heads up. I will be shutting my sistah vegan project down at the end of April 2015 most likely. I have repeatedly asked my five thousand fans for funding help for a long time. All I need was $5-$10 from each fan for a yearly pledge to do my work. I cannot do it for free and I am puzzled and frustrated the amount of people who contact me for free help and services […] This is not asking for charity, just a reasonable salary to do actual work that is helping to change things for the better. …. Thank you to the many who have funded the project.”
Here is a comment from the funding page:
“Thank you Dr. Harper for the intersectional work you do in critical theory and activism. Your writing has opened my eyes to so many existing connections and the Sistah Vegan Project has inspired me in so many ways. I cited your work several times in my honors thesis at Hunter College in NYC this past spring. Sincerely, Christine Galotti” – Christine Galotti
Even though many WOC and allies have done their part, it’s just not enough to keep the project running. Collectively WOC have very little to begin with when compared to our white counterparts. In 2010, the Insight Center for Community Economic Development studied the wealth differences in race and found that “single black and Hispanic women have a median wealth of $100 and $120 respectively; the median for single white women is $41,500” . This is definitely one factor for why the project hasn’t reached its goal but it isn’t the only factor. In our society, women in general aren’t seen as leaders but rather as nurturers. This is evident in the vegan community as most leaders are male in a social movement of 80% women!
“Again, the absence of women in powerful positions is reflected in the Nonhuman Animal rights movement. This reflects a general devaluation of women’s ability and input. In advocacy efforts, women are far more likely to make up the “rank and file,” working hard behind the scenes to accomplish the necessary, but largely uncelebrated, mundane tasks. Men write the theory, lead the protests, and lecture on podcasts, while women “make the coffee” so to speak. This is a terrible squandering of a powerful demographic. We’re leaving untapped the creativity and capabilities of thousands of women” .
Would it hurt the nonhuman animals to support more WOC leaders in our community? Of course not, it would only strengthen the movement and help the nonhuman animals who desperately need us to build bridges between other social movements. Educational vegan projects/organizations run by WOC are already few and far between, we can’t let them shut down because of lack of funding. Are you with me? If yes, (and I hope so) then you can help by doing any of the following:
- Donate to/support/follow The Sistah Vegan Project. Ask family and friends to help. Share on social media.
Here is the link for funding: http://www.gofundme.com/33mv2k
Here is the link for The Sistah Vegan Project conference on April 2015: http://breezeharper.wix.com/blacklivemattervegan
- Donate to/support/follow other women of color running vegan educational organizations. Here are some:
If I missed you please email me about your educational vegan project/organization. I would love to learn more. Here is my email: email@example.com