"The important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men." ~ Mary Anne Evans (George Eliot)
Has the new year got you thinking that maybe you want to give a little more time, energy, or resources (moolah) to some of the great vegan and animal advocacy organizations out there? Been contemplating where and how you might volunteer with other rad Seattlites who refuse to be indifferent, who embrace compassion?
Let me make one suggestion: do it locally.
Instead of giving your money to one of the large national or international groups, consider giving locally where your dollar will go much farther. And even better yet, give to group where you can actually, personally get involved with either volunteering or outreach. It is amazing what can happen when good people get together.
In between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins - not through strength but by perseverance." ~ H. Jackson
At a minimum, you should "like" these groups on Facebook, subscribe to their newsletters, or follow them on Twitter so you can see all the good work that they do to provide information and fight against injustice. I for one am impressed, thankful, and in awe of people who give up their personal time and money to be a voice for the voiceless.
“The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that's the essence of inhumanity” ~ George Bernard Shaw
Seattle Animal Defense League (ADL): This is a brand new grassroots, all-volunteer group with a singular focus in mind; the abolition of all animal oppression, exploitation and abuse and the industries that profit from it. They work to educate youth on the fur industry and vivisection and protest corporations and institutions that knowingly and purposely abuse animals. Because this group is new, their first meetings are going to happen in January 2011. Email them to get in on the ground floor.
[web site] [Facebook] [email to get involved]
"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN): This all-volunteer group has been active in the Seattle area for decades and works constantly on outreach to inform folks about the benefits of veganism and the horrors of the meat, dairy, animal testing, fur, leather, and fishing industries. They have information tables at many of Seattle's events, but they also provide valuable information via VegSeattle.com, the Seattle Vegan Restaurant Guide, Events Calendar, and the Vegan Mentor Program while running campaigns such as Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants and organize protests against the UW's primate testing facilities. This is the group that I first volunteered with doing tabling outreach and really discovered how hungry people are for real information about veganism.
[web site] [Facebook] [Twitter] [donate via PayPal] [become a member]
""In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act" ~ George Orwell
Earth Residents United (ERU): also a newer animal advocacy organization that recognizes the interrelation of the earth and all of its inhabitants. They bring people together to work toward a better future by means of creative and professional strategies including events like Free Vegan Sausage outreach via Zombies at ZombieCon, respectful protests against Japan's dolphin slaughter, Seattle Vegan Drinks, and they are always open to more volunteers.
"Well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool By making his world a little colder ~ McCartney, Lennon
Action for Animals: this group is based out of Seattle, but they also do national outreach at large festivals like the Warped Tour. They promote a vegan lifestyle and strive to end animal exploitation through educational outreach, demonstrations, and media involvement. They make it VERY easy to get involved.
[web site] [Facebook] [Twitter] [donate]
"Words and thoughts concerning compassionate action that are not put into practice are like beautiful flowers that are colorful but have no fragrance." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Green Vegans: launched just this year, this group is unique in that they are interested in the interconnectedness of environment and animal suffering. They focus on: ecosystems, individuals of other species (wild and domestic), human population limits, social and economic justice, decreasing consumption for some people and increasing it for others, changes in consumer awareness, and a greener, organic, vegan human ecology.
[web site] [Facebook] [become a member]
"Revolution is not something fixed in ideology, nor is it something fashioned to a particular decade. It is a perpetual process embedded in the human spirit. ~ Abbie Hoffman
Animal Rights Education Alliance (AREA): this is for your more advanced animal advocates needing support and discussions of the legal, ethical, and environmental issues surrounding the usage of non-human animals. They endeavor to bring activist together to talk about topics like "Direct Action and Public Perception" and bring in guest speakers like Josh Harper and Sarahjane Blum. They also produce the podcast "Vegan Threat: Threatening to Make the World a Nicer Place" that goes into much deeper discussions of taking the personal activism of veganism to the public sphere.
[web site] [Facebook]
"I’ve always had the impression that real militants are like cleaning women, doing a thankless, daily but necessary job." ~ Francois Truffaut
Read this list and still not into it? You say volunteering and activism isn't your thing? I get it. We all have our different ways of making change in this world. I hope to be helpful with this little blog, Vegan of the Week, Lion's Share Industries. Maybe your heart is set on other goals related to compassion: homeless advocacy, child advocacy, poverty reduction, access to education, food and water justice issues, youth violence, environmental education, AIDS prevention, global womens' rights - what ever it is, I hope 2011 is the year that inspires you.
The world needs people with strong voices to fight against big power, to open peoples minds, to change the status quo, and to counter misinformation, so I hope you find your way of speaking up. If so, tell me about it. If you aren't sure where to start, ask me! Let's do something together.
"If not you, then who? If not now, then when?" ~ Hillel the Elder