Occupy Vegan »
That Occupy Everything movement happening right now? You should get involved. Here’s why.
Around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, as Denver’s first big snowstorm of the season began to nose in, a friend and I started wondering about how our city’s little band of protestors were doing with the harsh weather. We hatched a plan to go find out. Then we hatched an even better plan: We’d bring the protestors hot chocolate.
Once we had the idea, everything fell into place. The thermos, paper cups, vegan marshmallows, and sleeves of Oreos I had lying around seemed joined in unified destiny. Good thing I had like four jars of cocoa powder in the cupboard and had just made a fresh batch of soymilk too. I made sure this cocoa was rich and hella good, because I wanted to show the Occupiers some love and also felt like I was proving something about vegan food.
There were only about 10 people hanging out on the sidewalk next to Lincoln Park as light snow fell, but another 40 or so were huddled like giant burritos underneath soggy tarps (Denver police won’t let the protestors set up tents, even in the snow. Fuck, just writing about this and looking at their website I feel guilty that I’m huddled warm inside here. It’s like we can never do enough!).
Obviously people loved the hot chocolate, but they loved it even more than I imagined they would. And they wanted to hear more about it being vegan. Minds were blown that Oreos have no dairy. Vegan marshmallows were declared “Way better than the regular kind.” In about 20 minutes, I had done more truly positive, accidental evangelizing than I could have pulled off in a week’s worth of PETA flyering.
I’m not that good an activist, you know? But I made hot chocolate. It was tiny. But it helped.
Beyond what you think about the wider Occupy Wall Street cause, this is an excellent opportunity to help people think about their food and experience the deliciousness of the vegan world.
Our Hen House has a really smart and well-researched post up about all this, so I’m going to quote liberally from them because I’m
“Those passionate about speaking up for the underdog—even if the underdog constitutes 99 percent of the population—are the perfect audience for the message, “you are what you eat.” In other words, as we stand against injustice, as we embrace the notion of breaking down the walls that marginalize and subjugate many of us, let’s not forget the non-human victims of oppression.
Also, let the cynical-me point out that cold, hungry people really love the food you give them. Context is everything. Not-cynical-me response: They say that hunger is the best sauce, but I’d add that a sense of community is pretty damn tasty also.
More Hen House wisdom:
"This is, famously, a leaderless movement. So start connecting. Go down to your local Occupy protest, talk to people, find out who is providing food, learn and follow the Twitter hashtags (like combining #OWS and #vegan), and get involved with reshaping our world.”
So consider this a nudge. I’m going to try to do more. You could too. We have a place in this thing.
[Ed.: I know a lot of our readers are in the S.F. Bay Area, which means there’s even more reason to get out to Occupy Oakland or Occupy San Francisco tonight. And if you can’t tonight, the next night. And if not the next night, the night after that. Or all the nights! And bring vegan cookies, yo! —Laura]
[Image via david_shankbone]