A new vegan abolitionist group started earlier this year,Animal Rights & Rescue of North Texas. It has been instructive, to say the least, as to the energy, time, and money necessary to get a grassroots campaign off the ground. First expenses included meetup fees, business cards, and a few office supplies for members. Then there was the first Kickoff meeting – with sixteen people expected. It started snowing lightly in the late morning, and despite the number planning to attend, the result was a disappointing zero in attendance. We even had the film,Bold Native, to be shown, with permission from the director. All in all, a big disappointment.
Kickoff Take Two and Beyond
Our Kickoff Take Two had a much better showing, with at least a few people in attendance. The energy was very high; every single one of us had been or continues to be in another form of animal activism, so the experience and vision were a plus. Our first project was selected — to host a vegan sampling table. After the meeting, I followed up by contacting the grocers who carry vegan fare, but to no avail. They were not interested in having our volunteers due to liability or for other reasons. We are currently researching other possibilities.
Undeterred, we scheduled support for an animal adoption event and then scheduled another meetup, this time at the new Loving Hut that just opened in Arlington, Texas. This meeting was very positive, with two new members and lots of great ideas to share, along with the wonderful food. It was like finding long-lost kin in some ways, so rare are we in these parts. Gratitude was expressed about the formation of the group; at least three members drove quite a distance, with one even taking off work to attend. Such devotion!
Promoting Peace For All Beings
Our next event, a garage sale benefit, will hopefully keep us alive financially for another year, until we can participate in an upcoming event and begin to do vegan outreach. Our plans to become rescue ready are still on the table, but on the back burner until we increase our membership. Realizing we are in our infancy and still need a more substantial number of members, we nonetheless came up with many ideas for future projects. There is work to be done!
We now have a vinyl banner for tabling events that reads, “Animal Rights & Rescue of North Texas – Promoting Peace For All Beings” and even have a potential venue for tabling. We are part of theFederation of Abolitionist Vegans, a new collective that owes its genesis to Chris Poupart of Canada. This federation will help struggling groups like ours survive by offering support, shared resources, and forums for discussing ideas. One of the challenges for those of us in the DFW metroplex is the distance between cities, making it difficult to remain united and to plan events within a reasonable driving distance for all members. Having an international home like FAV really helps the group to feel part of something larger, to feel supported, and to feel like there are others around the world who are working on similar issues. We know we are not alone. United, we can increase our ability to reach out to our respective communities more effectively.
Vegan Pioneers and a Vegan Abolitionist Nation
A recent article (Hello Donald) by Dr. Roger Yates, activist and sociologist with years of experience in the field of animal rights, mentioned that we are vegan pioneers. Out here on the prairie, it can indeed feel like we are in our metaphorical covered wagons (we pull our own, though, and do not use animals), slowly traversing the unknown lands ahead of us. But with more experienced pioneers such as Dr. Yates to help guide us, and the energy, enthusiasm, and dedication of our members, we are sure to succeed in building an abolitionist vegan nation.