It’s no secret that the vegan movement has taken off in a big way in recent years. But with so much positive change happening, it’s important to acknowledge the areas where we still need to improve. And unfortunately, one of these areas is inclusion—addressing racism within the vegan community. It’s something that can be uncomfortable to talk about, but we must do so if we want to create a movement that truly lives up to its values of justice and equality. Whether it’s the lack of representation of people of color in vegan media or instances of systemic racism within vegan activist groups, a lot of work remains to be done. But by recognizing the problem and taking steps to address it, we can build a more inclusive, effective movement that truly stands up for all animals, human and nonhuman alike.
We easily assume that vegans are all about equal rights, not just for nonhuman animals but for all humans too. But as with any movement, some individuals seem to have missed the memo. Unfortunately, racism can rear its ugly head even within the vegan community. That’s why we must pay attention to this issue and call it out when we see it. Racism is intolerable in any form and has no place in a movement that seeks to promote compassion and equality. Being vegan means advocating for the welfare of all living beings, and that includes humans. By being more welcoming and inclusive, we can help eliminate racism and build a stronger movement together.
The vegan movement is growing stronger each day, and as vegans, we want to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard. We recognize that many different factors contribute to a person’s decision to become vegan, and we want to be sure that we’re not catering only to the loudest voices in the room. One way to ensure that everyone feels welcome and included is to provide a variety of platforms for people to share their stories and experiences. Whether through social media, community events, or even just one-on-one conversations with friends and family, we want to make sure that everyone feels heard, respected, and valued. After all, the vegan movement is all about embracing compassion, empathy, and kindness—and that includes making sure that everyone feels seen and heard.
Everyone has to do their part in creating an inclusive and diverse vegan space. It is important to recognize structural barriers that impede the growth of veganism among marginalized populations and that we have the power to remove those barriers. We cannot be successful on this journey if we don’t include everyone’s voice in the conversation. It starts with being conscious of our implicit biases about race and how they shape our own behavior, as well as how these perceptions affect other people around us. It is vital that we take our commitment to anti-racism seriously, by educating ourselves and having uncomfortable conversations to make sure everyone feels respected. We need to start working together and create more open dialogue so that different perspectives can be heard, accepted, appreciated, and celebrated within the vegan movement. The liberation of animals depends on it!
Crystal Forman is an avid forager, gardener, and volunteer urban farmer. She is the founder of Holistic Wellness and Health. As a passionate health and wellness educator, she works to improve food justice and sustainable food access. She is a certified traditional Usui Reiki practitioner and instructor, group life coach, meditation facilitator, chakra instructor, permaculture designer, and Baltimore City master gardener and farm food safety educator.
Mercy For Animals is proud to support Holistic Wellness and Health as a People’s Fund grantee and grateful for their partnership in our mission to end industrial animal agriculture by constructing a just and sustainable food system.
*This article was written by a grantee of The People’s Fund and reflects their original thoughts and perspective. All questions or impressions of their work can be directed to their social media linked at the end of this piece.