Day 42 of my ongoing protest for animals.
And I'd just like to make it very clear to all southern rednecks (mostly males) that I get it. It pisses you off that you can't be as openly racist anymore. You have to hide your confederate flags. You can't talk about keeping your wife in the kitchen. I totally understand that it sucks to be you. You are filled with hate and prejudice and here I am asking you to care about the last beings that you are allowed to abuse without any threat of punishment. You want to keep indiscriminately killing and abusing animals. So, when you yell about your love of bacon, flick me off, pretend to shoot me with your finger, or smirk at me... I know you are really saying, "Come on, let us openly hate and harm something!" Sorry, can't do that. The world is changing. Time for you to catch up.
'You know if you succeed, someone is going to kill you, or worse destroy your reputation.'
DAY 30! 30 Days Straight of Protesting for Animals
Today my wife and kids came to join in the achievement of my initial goal of 30 days. I wish I could say mission accomplished, time for a break. But, I know myself better than that. I'll be out there tomorrow. But, when I started this effort, my hope was to show that it was possible to get out and protest with just a sign, a sidewalk and an audience. I hope that some of you out there are gearing up to start your own effort. My advice is don't do it every day. And don't do it longer than you can handle. I don't do well with 'self-care'. And I'd be worried about burning out, but I'd be lying if I say I remember what it feels like not to be burnt out. But, I inherited the genetic defect of not having an off switch. So, the take away from this first 30 days is not that you should be out there everyday until you are physically and mentally exhausted. The point is more that you can make a huge difference by just making a sign and getting out where people can see you. People are curious and some are actually thoughtful. You won't reach everyone but you will reach the people who matter. And then your message will spread far beyond those that see or interact with you.
I've had far more positive than negative reactions and I've never left the experience without feeling like it was completely worth the time and effort. And yes, you'll deal with some idiots that want to yell ignorant things. Apparently some redneck idiots drove by a few times to yell about hating vegans and loving bacon at my wife and kids. But, just use that as fuel to your fire to make those dipshits feel more and more alienated by the world leaving them behind. Focus on the positive aspect that you are raising their blood pressure and ruining their day by giving a shit.
So, please, if at all possible, try to make protesting and raising awareness in a direct manner, a part of your daily life. And to everyone already doing this, please know that you are my heroes! I'm so grateful for all who put themselves out their for animals. Just reading about Lola Kay not regreting having to spend time in prison for her protest against the Jewish ritual of Kaparos (where chickens are brutally swung around and killed) fills me with hope that we are not part of a movement that will just sit by the sidelines forever but will begin to refuse to allow the abuse to continue. We are willing to risk our own freedom for a cause far greater than ourselves.
And to explain the initial quote I wrote up above, it is actually in part what my wife said to me a while back and then strangely, it is what I was told by a police officer last night (and not in a threatening way, as he was not the least bit opposed to my efforts or anything but genuinely friendly and supportive). Fortunately, we fight for something where if that is the cost of succeeding, I'd like to believe the vast majority of us wouldn't flinch from fighting on.
And thank you to Chase Avior for inspiring me to start this journey by always reminding us that we need to be out there fighting for the animals, not just enjoying potlucks!
And the good parenting award goes to...
Day 17 of my Ongoing Protest for animals. (Joined by my pig puppet and a mini pig stuffed animal)
An overwhelming amount of honks, waves and thumbs up as usual! The compassion of people is shining through every day! There are good people out there and they are revealing themselves! You just have to look for them.
Today's Idiot Awards:
So today a dad decided to yell in front of his wife and two elementary school aged children, "I love Bacon, pigs taste good." So I responded with, "Great parenting, teaching your children to be cruel and deaden their compassion is a great way to raise them. That should make you very proud." He seemed caught off guard, fumbled for words and then yelled, "Get off the corner." I'm not sure everyone's opinion on this, but I feel like stupid behavior in front of children should be called out. No wonder we have so many rude people if that is how they are being raised.
Another person was up close and rolled down the window to say he loved bacon, so I put my hand to my ear and said, "Sorry, I don't speak guilty conscience." Again, I don't think they were prepared for this.
But, really not too many idiots today. Mostly supportive people or people staring at my sign and then my pig hand puppet that I had waving and moving to stare at people as they passed by. I'm sure a few people were wondering if it was real. You can see in the picture the two mini pig's that I had with me today. I think it helps having something to draw in the eye and also turn on the heart a little to make the message sink in.
This is how we will change the world.
4 hours of protesting today with one hour I. Williamsburg and 3 outside of the Smithfield Slaughterhouse (day 17). Interesting day... sorry if my live feeds were rough. Still learning and hopefully it'll get better. Have some footage to share later on my real video camera. Huge tumors on pigs, spray paint marked pigs... and just pure sadness seeing those poor pigs going to their death. But such an amazing group of people out there today. And so many people from Farm, Peta, and more. So much compassion. And while I know the police were just following orders, immoral orders to protect murder and abuse should not be followed.
If only we could have protests like this everyday everywhere!
Hooray for School Buses (filled with curious kids)!
Day 18: What a great day of activism. I'm sure that my mind and body meet all or most of the definitions of what it is to be burnt out. But, self-care and backing down are two things I'm terrible at (a fun mix, I assure you). Fortunately, I some how manage to rekindle the flame the instant I reach full burnout. And one thing that keeps me going when my legs don't want to lift my body and my body doesn't want to leave my bed is knowing that the cars driving past Vegan Corner (as I'll call the corner I stand on here in Williamsburg) may have someone with an open heart driving by. And if I can get there, maybe, just maybe it'll spark their passion for fighting for animal rights. And then once I get there, I have a hard time leaving. There is always more cars coming and this means more chances to reach people.
And today I figured out what time the school buses go by filled with kids who are obviously the most open to the truth regarding animals. They aren't filled with as many years of brain washing and still are open to new ideas (or at least more so then most adults). So, it is truly wonderful seeing a whole row of windows filled with kids staring out at my sign and tapping others not looking and pointing in my direction. The world tries so hard to hide the truth from kids until their hearts are too closed off to care. Hopefully some of these kids will take what they saw on my sign and get curious to know the truth.
And the award for dipshit of the day goes to Woman in the SUV Giggling with Her Husband!
I knew she was brewing up something to say as she rolled down her window and her and her husband (clearly in their 50s) giggled and smirked back and forth until the light turned green. And then she let out a very disappointing, "Got Milk?" Really? Got Milk? That was the best they could do? Again, demonstrating just how brainwashed people are, they used the dairy industry catch phrase... So disappointed in them. If you are a carnist and are planning to drive by Vegan Corner, please think up more intelligent or at least clever comments. At least entertain me with your cruel heartedness...
Sharing my experiences at Smithfield with the local police...
Day 19: More friendly visits from the local police.
Today I met Officer Ed. He was very friendly and came over to ask why I had picked the corner that I had. So I pointed out how there is a three way stop and that nearly all the traffic in town has to go through this stop. He quickly agreed and let me share my experiences at Smithfield this weekend with him. And he even took a Gardein coupon with him. So, if he ever has to arrest me, at least I'll know it was being done be decent guy :)
And today my son was out with me. We had the large stuffed pig on the corner and I had my puppet pig waving to people. I don't remember a single negative reaction from today and we managed to catch several school buses filled with kids going by. And there were the usual honks, waves and smiles.
And this is slightly earlier than I had been going out, so hopefully I'm catching a few new people each day. Though, Officer Ed said he'd seen me out there several times. I'm starting to wonder if everyone in Williamsburg is going to recognize me as the dude in the William and Mary hat holding up the protest signs for animals. Hopefully it'll make people feel like they can approach me to ask questions if they have any.
Protest Day 16: DEAR CARNIVORES, YOU CANNOT BREAK MY SPIRIT, TOO MUCH POSITIVE ENERGY COMING FROM OTHERS!
So my day started with the man yelling rude things about loving bacon, eating pigs and such. So I held up my phone as if I were taking a video (which fortunately I do have an image of this guy should I go missing ;) ) So, he pulled into the nearby parking lot and this huge guy came charging at me shouting that he was going to take my phone, hurt me or call the police if I didn't delete the video. Stupid me, I just stood my ground and said I can take video in public but that I wasn't sure I even took a video. He just kept shouting about how dare I video his son. This is a grown man who thinks it is good parenting to shout cruel things to get a laugh. Eventually he wandered off as I walked after him joking I needed to get a photo of him for the police... The police did come but just drove off without talking to me.
But I did find out that it is apparently illegal to use my megaphone unless I'm doing it for religious reasons. Talk about discrimination (which I apparently spell wrong when taking video :( ). I will be looking into this. But, right now having my signs out there is my primary goal. I had my stuffed animals bracing signs (sort of like letting animals speak for themselves), and used trees and posts. What I lack in numbers I make up for in resourcefulness.
I had one man tell me to move to Venezuela... not sure why. Anyone who yelled at me, I tried to explain how sorry I am that caring about animals and standing against unnecessary suffering made them uneasy. One numskull showed me his muscles and made some comment about protein. When I told him about the strongest man being vegan he did what meat eaters love to do. He denied the facts. Because for them, if they deny it... it isn't true. I assured him we needed less muscle and more compassion in this world.
But again, the positive energy flowing my way was amazing. So many thumbs up. And to correct a stereotype regarding age, it is usually men and women over 50 that I get the most positive responses from. The bulk of the thumbs up come from retirement aged women. So, never for a second doubt that every person out there is worth trying to reach.
And several people would stop at the turn lane to talk to me. I was holding my dairy sign and so I would quickly sum up the misery of being a dairy cow or a calf born into that system. So many people seemed deeply moved by what I was telling them. And when people were going across the cross walk I would quickly share a fact or two with them as well. I try to be cheerful and pleasant so they leave not feeling negative feelings towards my message, but obviously the message is not one of sunshine and rainbows.
One girl going by said, I work on a dairy farm. She was clearly a W&M student. I joked, "Ah, the devil herself on my corner... be gone devil." Fortunately, her cold black heart that is immune to animal suffering had a sense of humor and she laughed (awkwardly... but laughed nonetheless).
And I'm pretty sure I'm on SnapChat saying 'Stop eating animals because they have to suffer to end up there.' I think this same guy does it each time he goes by... says say something to the camera.
THE HIGHLIGHT of the day was another person, this time a woman, pulled into the parking lot to thank me for being out there. She said she had to turn around and come back because she was so glad to see me out their doing this and wanted to thank me for her and the animals. People have no idea how inspiring it is knowing it touched someone so much that they went out of their way to thank you.
And now, after 3 hours in the sun I'm ready to not move for a while. But I can't describe how much better I feel after getting out there and speaking for the animals instead of just being angry at mankind. It really feels like I'm helping to spark thought in people's head. And no amount of taunting, anger or even harassment will keep me from continuing to speak for animals.