Wild and Free, a New Animal Rights Children’s Book!

Wild and Free is Sanctuary Publishers’ first published children’s book!

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The author, Andrea Zimmer, is an elementary school teacher in OC California.  Her love for all animals led her to transition to veganism, and after having her daughter, Andrea became inspired to work towards creating tools that would help parents introduce young children to the concepts of animal rights, wrong versus right, compassion, and kindness for all.

Andrea tells us about her new book in 5 questions…

Sanctuary Publishers: Hi Andrea! We’re so excited for your first ever children’s book, Wild and Free! Can you tell us about it and how you became inspired to write a rhyming book that succinctly helps children make connections about their choices at such a young age?

Andrea Zimmer:  Hi and thank you! That’s a very good question! Being a teacher, I have seen what a huge impact a good book can have in a child’s life.  After I had my daughter 2 years ago, I was searching and searching for good vegan children’s books for “very young children” to help her understand “why vegan” and how our actions can greatly affect other nonhuman as well as human beings on this planet.  I found some that I liked, but thought, “I love words, especially rhyming words, and so do children. I can write my own book”. Then, one day while at school, the first verse popped in my head, and the rest is history.  I love it when a book “flows”, and Wild and Free flows with the truth in a kid friendly non-graphic way.

Sanctuary Publishers: Maritza Oliver, a well-known Vegan Children’s book author and illustrator, noted how the book and illustrations get this message across, as you mention, in a non-graphic way. Could you tell us more about that and what age group you wrote the book for?

Andrea Zimmer: Sure, I’d love to. This book was written for a younger audience from babies to toddlers but could also be a great first reader for preschool children too.  It’s a wonderful book to use to introduce our young children to the ethics of veganism and help them understand right vs. wrong without being graphic. However, it’s still being specific enough, so they can understand that it’s wrong to do what we are doing to our fellow nonhuman beings; thus, the kids still get a basic understanding of animal rights.

Sanctuary Publishers: What would you say is your favorite verse in the book and why?

Andrea Zimmer: That’s a tough question since I love all the verses, but honeybees are very close to my heart and are often a subject of debate in the vegan/plant-based communities. Without bees everything else is a moot point. Bees work very hard to make their honey, and they need it to survive. During the winter they feed on the honey they collected during the warmer months and it takes about 35 pounds of honey to provide enough food for a smaller colony of bees to survive the winter. Honey collection is destructive to a hive. A hive must travel far and wide to visit over 2 million flowers in order to produce just 1 pound of honey.  They fly approx. 55,000 miles to produce that 1 pound of honey.  Honeybees make their honey to provide for their hive, and we depend on them to help pollinate our plants. Without the bees our food chain collapses.  They are gentle little beings who help us do a big job, so why do we take away their food?

Sanctuary Publishers: What about the illustrations? Do you have a favorite?

Andrea Zimmer: I love all the illustrations, which were done by Julia Feliz Brueck. She is such a talented person and did a beautiful job bringing my words to life. The illustration at the end of the book with all the children standing united together with the animals touches my heart. It helps me remember that if we start with our younger generations and give them the information and tools they need, they will become empowered to use their compassion to fight for truth and justice for all beings – both nonhuman and human alike.  I like to say, “We are planting the seeds of change, one book and one child at a time, for a brighter future for all Earthlings”. I hope that my daughter’s generation will be the one that finally ends the exploitation of all living beings on Earth.

Sanctuary Publishers: One other unique thing about your book is that it ends with a list of 10 things kids can do with their parents to help raise the voices of both non-humans AND humans. So, it’s not just a book about connections – it’s also about taking action when we can. Why do you think this is important?

Andrea Zimmer: It’s extremely important that we as adults show our children that although we feel strongly about something it’s just as important to act and use our voices to make positive change.  They need to know they aren’t powerless and should be taught that their voices matter.  The future is in their hands, and they need to know how to make positive changes whether they are large or small.  Kindness has a ripple effect and one person can make a difference.  I’ll be working on more actions we can do with small children, so keep an eye on our Wild and Free Facebook page and Instagram for more. Together we can make this world a better place for ALL!

Wild and Free is now on sale!

-Available as eBook and hardcover from Amazon and bookstores-

Sales from each book sold will help support the residents at PreetiRang Sanctuary!

Read about the great work they are doing and about their residents, here:

http://www.preetirangsanctuary.org/

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NEW RELEASE: “Veganism in an Oppressive World”

 

Veganism in an Oppressive World

A Vegans-of-Color Community Project

Edited by Julia Feliz Brueck

New Release Out Now!

Get your Paperback or eBook copy HERE.

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What would it take to raise the voices of nonhumans and spread veganism further than ever before?

Veganism in an Oppressive World, a Vegans-of-Color Community Project edited by Julia Feliz Brueck will revolutionize the way you see our movement. A must read for new vegans and seasoned nonhuman animal activists alike, this community-led effort provides in-depth, first-hand accounts and analyses of what is needed to broaden the scope of veganism beyond its current status as a fringe or “single-issue” movement while ensuring that justice for nonhumans remains its central focus.

Veganism in an Oppressive World is

“…a must read for anyone committed to doing serious work around the dismantling of speciesism and all other systems of oppression…” –Kevin Tillman, Vegan Hip Hop Movement

…an insightful guide to creating a truly inclusive vegan world.” – Pax Ahimsa Gethen, photographer, writer, & activist

&

“…moves beyond cosmetic diversity and into the realm of complex discussions about intersectionality and consistent anti-oppression within veganism. These…timely essays…provide relief against the danger of it being co-opted by the very status quo it sought to decenter.

– Dr. A. Breeze Harper, author, speaker, & critical race theorist

From conception, art, and prose to design, editing, and publication, Veganism in an Oppressive World is an international vegans of color community book project.

From start to finish, in an attempt to raise the voices of nonhuman animals higher than before, the following writers and artists give readers the tools and guidance needed to spread the AR/vegan movement father than its current reach:

 

 

Contributors

 

Bipasha Ahmed is an activist and works as an academic psychologist with interests in inequalities research, particularly in relation to PoC communities. She is also a trustee of a South Asian womxn’s domestic violence service and has been involved in activism in relation to Violence Against Womxn and Girls (VAWG) and anti-racism for many years. She lives in London, England with her two daughters and partner.

 

Michelle Carrera is a professional translator, writer, and founding director of the vegan non-profit Chilis on Wheels, an organization that helps to provide people in need with warm vegan meals via chapters across the US and in Puerto Rico.

Website: www.chilisonwheels.org

 

Julia Feliz Brueck is a decade-long vegan of color from Puerto Rico. She is the author of the first ever vegan-themed board book, Libby Finds Vegan Sanctuary, and most recently, the Baby and Toddler Feeding Guide, a dietitian approved evidence based guide for raising young ones on plant based diets safely and simply. Julia is also a published book and magazine illustrator, as well as a research scientist (B.Sc. & M.Sc.), and a mom of two dedicated to standing up against all oppression and to raising the voices of nonhuman animals.

Website: www.juliafeliz.com

 

Rama Ganesan lived in Chennai India until the age of 10 when she emigrated to the UK with her family.  She graduated from the University of Oxford, and then got a PhD from the University of Wales. She then moved to the US with her spouse, and she has lived there ever since. She has two grown children, and a dog and two cat companions at home. Rama became a vegan after reading “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer, set as college reading for her son. She then began to work to promote veganism, and currently works as field educator for Ethical Choices Program, where she presents to thousands of students on the topic of compassionate eating choices.

 

Shazia Juna was born in Reading, England (UK). She has lived in both Pakistan and England during her childhood. Shazia began her scientific career as a laboratory technician in the chemical industry for a few years prior to studying for her undergraduate degree in Chemistry at University of York, UK. Shazia worked as a Development Chemist in the paint and printing ink sector for a few years and later, returned to academia and completed her MPhil (Organic Chemistry) at Bath University, UK, as well as her PhD (starch/natural materials) at Glyndwr University in North Wales, UK. Shazia worked as a postdoctoral researcher for over three years at Karl-Franzens University, Graz, Austria. Throughout her scientific career, she has been interested in renewable materials. Shazia currently lives in Vienna, Austria and is learning to draw and paint with a goal of exploring her scientific works through an artistic lens. Shazia also has a keen interest in the use of vegan art materials that are commercially available or homemade. She is also working on fiction novels based on the ecology and chemistry of trees/flora and has been travelling across Europe. Shazia has been a vegetarian since she was 18 and a vegan since August 2009.

Website: www.shaziajuna.com

 

Melissa John-Charles Carrillo has been vegan since 2001 and is passionate about wildlife, works with refugees, and writes about being a person of colour in a mostly white society.

Website: http://livingincolour651.wordpress.com

 

Vinamarata “Winnie” Kaur is a Ph.D. candidate in English and Comparative Literature at the University of Cincinnati (UC), Cincinnati, Ohio, United States with research and activism interests in Sikh studies, South Asian studies, feminist theories, critical human-animal studies, digital scholarship, and film and media studies. She teaches courses on writing, feminism, and film, media, and sexuality studies and offers writing assistance as a tutor to UC Health’s and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s medical professionals and UC’s undergraduate and graduate students. During her spare time, she enjoys offering online and in-person advice to those looking to transition to veganism, reading recent peer-reviewed medical research (human and veterinary), hiking with her canine companion, playing wand and light toy games with her feline friend, and exploring new vegan cuisines with her partner.

Website: www.winniekaur.com

 

Laila Kassam has a MSc in Development Management from the London School of Economics and a PhD in Development Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She has worked in the international development sector since 2003. Her work has focused on conducting research related to poverty and food security for rural development projects in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Her research has been published in peer reviewed journals and by international organizations including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. She became vegan in 2013 and co-founded the Veterinary Vegan Network with her partner Shailen Jasani, a vegan veterinary surgeon, in 2015.

Website: www.everyday-justice.com

 

Deepta Rao has an M.A. in Experiential Health and Healing from The Graduate Institute, Bethany, Connecticut, United States and an M.B.A. in Marketing from Institute of Technology and Management, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. She also has a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from The T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutritional Studies and eCornell. If she is not volunteering at her kids’ school, she is digging into the neural networks of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. She is also a student of the Chinmaya Mission San Jose and volunteers at the mission during weekends. Besides feeding her family delicious vegan food, she loves making beaded bracelets and elaborate travel plans.

 

Meneka Repka is an artist and teacher living in Calgary, Alberta.  She completed a BFA from ACAD in 2007, and a BEd from the University of Lethbridge in 2010. After teaching junior high and high school, Meneka became interested in expanding her knowledge in art education, and finished an MA from Concordia University (Montreal) in 2013.  She recently finished a PhD in education at the University of Calgary.  Meneka loves teaching, and feels just as engaged in her teaching practice as she does in her art practice.  As an illustrator, Meneka is interested in the animal, links between humans and nonhumans, nature, and environment.  In her work, she investigates the complicated relationships between humans and other animals.

Website: http://meneka.carbonmade.com

 

Margaret Robinson is a bisexual and two-spirit scholar from Eski’kewaq, Nova Scotia, and a member of the Lennox Island First Nation. A community-based researcher since 2009, her work examines the impact of intersecting oppressions and draws on critical, postcolonial, and queer theories, intersectionality, and third wave feminism.

Website: http://www.dal.ca/faculty/arts/sociology-social-anthropology/faculty-staff/our-faculty/margaret-robinson.html

 

Saryta Rodriguez is an author, editor, social justice advocate, and educator. Their first book, Until Every Animal is Free, was published in 2015, and they are currently working on a compilation of essays examining food justice from a variety of lenses. Saryta’s past writings have focused on food justice, veganism, race, and gentrification. Their articles have appeared on such notable social justice websites as Free From HarmCausa Justa/Just Cause, and Reasonable Vegan. Saryta edits manuscripts of all genres, having worked previously for David Black Literary Agency (Brooklyn) and Penguin Publishing (Manhattan) and currently editing for Sanctuary Publishers. They also specialize in literacy tutoring for students in Grades K-12. Originally from Bay Shore, New York, Saryta currently resides in Harlem.

Website: http://www.sarytarodriguez.com

Danae Silva Montiel is a two decade-long vegan currently working as a graphic designer and illustrator.

 

Meenal Upadhyay is a software developer and a corporate trainer, although she would rather be a movie reviewer fulfilling two of her favorite pastimes—watching movies and writing. She loves writing about feminist issues. When she is not “mothering” her two daughters, she teaches coding to little kids.

 

Rayven Whitaker is a 9th grade Home-Schooled Student, who chose to go vegan in March of this year after attending her second Triangle VegFest. She has been the co-host and co-producer of numerous Podcasts (dating back to 2012 at the earliest). She is looking forward to the continuing pursuits of her interests in (Music (composing, producing, singing and songwriting), Dance (as well as choreographing), Film (screenwriting, cinematography, directing, producing and acting), Photography, Writing, Journalism, etc.) and outside of the Arts.

 

Destiny Whitaker is an 11th grade Home-Schooled Student with a passion for arts and music. Her many titles include: Musician, Arranger, Writer, Podcaster, Producer, Actress, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Activist, Journalist, Fangirl and much more. 

Websites: www.DestinyWhitakerProductions.Weebly.com & www.OurWorldAndFandomsGalore.com

 

Ankita Yadav is a research scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India and her areas of specialization include human-animal studies, interconnectivity of oppressions, and gender. She has published various scholarly and animal welfare related articles. She is a vegan, an animal welfare activist, and a leading blogger about cats in Delhi. She has pioneered a community effort project, based purely on volunteer engagement and local resources, to rescue, rehabilitate, and save from suffering and superstition, more than 750 cats (and counting) in the city. In 2016, TEDx Delhi recognized her as a Superhero of Delhi. When Ankita is not writing or rescuing cats, you would find her experimenting with funky earrings and lip colors and having interactive sessions with people where she educates them about veganism and animal welfare policies.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/everythingmeow.india/

 

 

Grant Support from: http://www.deutscher-jugendschutz-verband.de

 

 

Paperback & eBook available HERE.

“A Better World Starts…” with LibroMobile & Barrio Writers!

 

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This past Spring (2019), Sanctuary Publishers released its 7th book, “A Better World Starts Here: Activists and Their Work” by Stacy Russo, a punk-rock feminist, librarian, author, artist, and vegan living in California.

A portion of sales from Stacy’s book are donated to the Activists of Color whose stories are featured within its pages.

The following excerpt is a short preview of Stacy Russo’s chapter where she speaks with Sarah Rafael García about her activism, which includes the foundation of LibroMobile and Barrio Writers.

LibroMobile is a bookstore and community gathering space located in Santa Ana, California while Barrio Writers is a program that provides college-level creative writing workshops for youth that leads to publication in an annual volume.

Through Sarah Rafael García, these initiatives will be the recipients of donations from sales during the next few months.

A Better World_New Release

 

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The following excerpt from the book begins with Sarah describing Barrio Writers:

Barrio Writers is for ages thirteen through twenty-one. We offer free college level creative writing workshops to youth. Originally, it started as a ten-week program, but now, we have condensed it into a one-week program. They produce more writing in one week than in ten. The workshops are held in the summer. Once the youth participate in the five-day workshop series, they get to submit their work for publication, and then they present their work at a live reading.

Barrio Writers is completely grassroots. It exists through community collaboration. We solely discuss writers of color and LGBTQ writers. We mentor youth to become workshop facilitators themselves. When we read, we read as a community. There is no hierarchy in the workshop. Everybody is on a first name basis. We’re not there to tell them where to sit. We’re not telling them to be quiet. We spend the first half of the workshop reading, deconstructing, and critically examining. During the second half, we learn style and they create their own work. The youth get to share their work. They gain empowerment through positive and constructive criticism. We always end the day by telling them something they do well and something they can improve on.

We started out as one chapter in Santa Ana. We now have ten chapters. We have three in California and seven in Texas. Each chapter is run by volunteers. By this point, there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of youth involved.

Each year we publish a volume with writings from the workshop. Everyone who participates is included, unless they do not want to be. They also create a bio that is published. I always tell folks, “Your job is to write. My job is to publish.” They all receive a copy and we sell copies to help fund the program. The first five editions were self-published. When we started a chapter at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, their press expressed interest. Since the sixth edition, they’ve been publishing Barrio Writers, which is great, because we no longer have to raise the funds to publish the book.

That sounds so empowering. Let’s talk about another project related to your activism: the creation of LibroMobile. How did that come about?

LibroMobile came as a response to the last bookstore closing in Santa Ana. The mission is to bring literature that is relevant to the community. The focus is on writers of color, LGBTQ writers, marginalized voices, women’s voices, mental health, and local writers and artists. At first I decided to set up a mobile bookstore, because of the problem bookstores face with rent and space. I wondered, “How can I counter the idea of needing to have funds upfront to pay for space and still offer books in our community?” Delilah Snell from a business called Alta Baja Market had this planter on wheels that she had no use for. I looked at the planter and I said, “That’s a bookmobile.” I thought I could put books on this mobile thing and take it out to the community. I would have books for sale on a sliding scale and have a little free library for people who can’t afford books.

In the process of doing all this, I discovered there’s a law in Santa Ana not permitting selling any products on the street. You can actually get a license to sell food and drinks, but I could not get a business license to pop up on a corner and sell books. I started looking for ways to do it. I partnered with an art organization during the city’s monthly Art Walk and I set up for special events. Then I applied for a city grant and got it. I was able to hire a local female welder named Diana Markessinis to retrofit the planter into a bookmobile.

The bookstore has evolved over time. What started out as a bookmobile for 100-200 books and transformed into a stairway that held about 300 books. From the stairway, it has turned into a 300 square foot warehouse with over 1000 books, along with the bookmobile that still goes out to events. We have books on a sliding scale, as well as free books and $1, $3, and $5 sections. We have a mobile little free library that’s also on its own wheels. Our bookshelves have books that are under $20. Although we have new books and those are sold at full price, we try to still only keep books that are $20 and under.

LibroMobile initially started with support from Red Salmon Arts, which is connected to a bookstore in Austin, Texas, called, Resistencia Bookstore, which was started by Raul R. Salinas and is now maintained by two queer women of color, Lilia Rosas and Tañia Rivera. Raul is an indigenous Chicano ex-con who started a safe space for folks that were being immersed back into the community from the prison complex. He extended that to youth and then eventually extended it to everybody else in that community. He was an inspiration behind LibroMobile. We call him the Padrino of LibroMobile. He’s our godfather.

Now that we have the space, we are open most afternoons. I have volunteers and part-time workers. In addition to books, we sell art by local artists. They keep 100% of their proceeds. Artists from surrounding areas, like Los Angeles, receive a 70/30 split in order to create equity for local artists. We continue to provide a space for artists of color to gain exposure.

The main audience I’m reaching on a daily basis at the bookstore are Spanish readers. We have not had one single day where someone doesn’t come by and ask for a book in Spanish. We can’t keep the Spanish books on our shelves. They are looking for books they can take home and call their own. It’s not the hipsters and the affluent people coming into the bookstore on a daily basis. It’s people in my community who are looking for books that are relevant to their daily lives. My focus is on them. That is the heart of my activism.

How do you stay positive with your activism?

Honestly, I love giving away books to Spanish-speaking children and teens. It reminds me of my own childhood and the gift my parents provided each time they encouraged us to read. I believe we are raising adults rather than children. We need to treat them like the adults we want them to be. Give them the opportunity to see themselves on the page and as role models for others, give them a space to be critical yet also empowered to take action and create change—books offer just that, they allow readers to gain new perspectives, challenge stereotypes and dream of a better world. But I can’t pretend I don’t have days that I feel mute and defeated, on those days writing keeps me positive. I too need to purge my thoughts and create a better world through characters that embody my culture, gender and that one day will be read by people who need to see themselves on the page too.

***

Read more from Sarah’s story and the 24 other activists featured in the book in A Better World Starts Here: Activists and their Work by Stacy Russo.

A portion of sales from this quarter will go towards supporting LibroMobile and Barrio Writers.

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Queer Vegan Anthology: Submissions Open!

Submissions Open

for Upcoming Book Project!

 

WHO?

By LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, intersex, and asexual/aromantic) vegans for our community and as a “calling-in” for non-vegan LGBTIA+ folks.

Queer Vegan Anthology to be edited by Julia Feliz Brueck and Zoie Mcneill (we’d like to also invite the editorial collaboration of a Queer Black Trans woman/MaGe. If you are interested, please get in touch with us: info@sanctuarypublishers.com for details)

WHAT IS IT?

This will be a community-building and activist book project that will prioritize the voices of vegan BQTIPOC (Black, Queer, Trans, Indigenous, People of Color), disabled folks, neurodivergent individuals, and other marginalized peoples.

Potential topics include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • How you conceptualize the dual identities of being vegan and LGBTQIA+
  • How being a LGBTQIA+ person informs your consistent anti-oppression veganism and vice versa
  • How you as a LGBTQIA+ experience vegan spaces (NGOS, festivals, sanctuaries, ect.)
  • What you would like to say to non-vegan LGBTQIA+ folk
  • How queer politics/queer theory could inform vegan activists
  • Why the animal rights movement should prioritize consistent anti-oppression activism
  • Personal journeys as a queer person to animal rights

What to Submit?

We are interested in receiving the following types of submissions:

  • essays
  • poems
  • narratives
  • short reflections.

No word limit or minimum for submissions. Write as much or as little as you’d like.

IMPORTANT: Please note that all submissions must be pro-intersectional and nonhuman and ethics focused since veganism is a movement to fight nonhuman animal exploitation. However, you may also incorporate other aspects (environment, health, history, spirituality, etc.) in your piece that have had an impact on you related to veganism since we all experience veganism differently.

Who can Submit?

If you are a LGBTQIA+ MaGe (marginalized gender, i.e. cis women, trans and queer femmes, and intersex folks) please feel free to submit.

No prior writing training necessary and no educational requirement (no need to have a GED, high school diploma, BA, MA, or PhD).

Sanctuary Publishers is committed to helping to guide and publish neurodivergent folks and those with little to no writing experience, as well as non-maternal English speakers wanting to help raise the voices of nonhumans and other marginalized communities. This is important in order to ensure everyone has an equal platform and opportunity. Just let us know of your needs or make a submission, and we will work with you to get it to publishing quality with your approval each step of the way.

Is there Payment?

For this book, there *may be* a possibility of stipend available for contributors if your submission is accepted. Details to be announced at a later time.

Where do I Submit and When?

Send submissions to: info@sanctuarypublishers.com

First Deadline: September 1, 2019

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Other relevant information:

Consistent Anti-Oppression Veganism encompasses the following ideas (as defined by http://www.consistentantioppression.com/):

  1. Recognizing that accessibility is a very real root issue that veganism must work on (access to healthy foods, classism, homelessness, etc.). Solving root issues is imperative in order to ensure access to all.
  2. Promoting veganism as a whole, not in pieces (single-issue veganism versus veganism as a movement centered on working against the oppression of nonhumans from human supremacy and one that is consistently against ALL oppression and exploitation – not just for some nonhumans and not a movement that adds to the oppression of marginalized people).
  3. Recognizing that different communities experience veganism differently. Therefore, ensure marginalized vegans lead on their own issues. Do not target people of color or marginalized groups with campaigns, instead support vegans of color working in their own communities (veganismofcolor.com is a good place to start).
  4. Recognizing that anyone’s vegan activism is not more important than their participation in oppressive behavior (ie. sexual assault, ableism, racism, transphobia, sizeism, etc).
  5. Tolerating human oppression means failing nonhuman liberation because human and nonhuman oppressions are intertwined. Therefore, make a commitment to address other “-isms” when you see them.
  6. Ensuring marginalized vegans have an equal platform within your organization/event beyond tokenism. Avoid cosmetic diversity. And SUPPORT those vegans by giving them a platform and compensating them as you would non-marginalized vegans.
  7. Working on root issues, do not target individuals (i.e. medicine shaming versus campaigning for vegan medicine/against animal testing; infant formula shaming versus supporting efforts towards maternity leave/vegan formula/maternity support)

5 Questions with Author Stacy Russo!

A Better World_New Release

 

Sanctuary Publisher‘s seventh book is a collection of first-person stories from activists dedicated to all different forms of activism in many different communities.

A Better World Starts Here by Stacy Russo is a book that inspires, re-kindles, teaches, and gives hope.

Here’s what Stacy had to say about the book, her own activism, story-telling, and much more…

1. Call you tell us a little about yourself and what forms of activism you partake in?

Thank you for inviting me. I’m a librarian and associate professor at Santa Ana College, a community college located about 30 miles from Downtown Los Angeles. My activism started in the 1980s when I was awakened to human rights and animal rights issues through the punk rock scene. Back then, I created a political zine with my friends titled Anti-Establishment. Early on and through the years, I participated in various protest actions related to war, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, animal rights, violence against women, and police brutality. Most recently, my activism is directly connected to my writing and art. I also participate in my community in different ways beyond the library, such as organizing an annual community poetry reading and providing zine and art workshops.

I try my best to live a life rooted in non-violence. It begins with veganism for me and spreads out from there into all actions I take during the day, including where to spend my money, how I treat people, and continuously educating myself about the experiences of others, especially individuals from marginalized communities. Because I now receive a steady income through my job, I am also able to donate monthly to various social justice organizations I wish to support and on an as-needed basis when I am made aware of an individual, including a nonhuman animal, needing emergency financial assistance. It is important that people who are able to financially support activism and activists in need do so.

 

2. How did you come up with the idea for this book?

I have always enjoyed reading oral histories, memoirs, and autobiographies. Something about a first-person story is very compelling. Several years ago, I attended an oral history workshop through a San Francisco, California, based organization called Voice of Witness. This brought together social justice work and first-person narratives. I learned about how to conduct interviews, including the important ethical aspects, such as being aware of power dynamics if the interviewer has more privilege and ensuring the narrator maintains ownership of their story throughout the process. I’m so grateful for that workshop, because it greatly changed my life as a writer.

After the Voice of Witness workshop, I embarked on a long oral history project that resulted in my third book: We Were Going to Change the World: Interviews with Women from the 1970s and 1980s Southern California Punk Rock Scene. The voices of women are so often left out of historical movements, including those of music and art, so this book presented voices that would otherwise not be heard. I then interviewed ten amazing activists for my next book, Love Activism. After working on that, I decided I wanted to do more to bring activists’ stories to an audience.

This book, A Better World Starts Here: Activists and Their Work, turns the spotlight on activists, who I believe are the real champions in our world – not the celebrities and culture of the wealthy and privileged that dominates the media. With this book, there is the educational aspect of hoping to inspire readers who may be interested in activism work to discover all the different avenues they may take. I also want the book to be inspiring for those who are already deeply engaged as activists. Beyond all of this, I’m hoping that people who may even be resistant to some forms of activism in the book will read the personal stories captured here and deeply listen without judgment or assumptions. I believe it is through stories that we can find our interconnections and shared humanity. 

 

3. You made sure to include the voices of activists from many different communities, including activists from varying ages. Why was this important to you?

I wanted every reader to be able to find voices in the collection that spoke to them personally. It is also very important to me that we move marginalized voices to the center and disrupt white supremacy and other power hierarchies related to gender, sexual orientation, and so on. The culture in the U.S. and other countries is also obsessed with youth. Not only is youth connected to beauty on a societal level, but it is also how someone’s worth is determined. I used to work as a vocational rehabilitation counselor, and I recall all of the statistical reports in our library overwhelming confirming how a person’s perceived worth in the labor market begins to decline if you are 40 or over. This reality is compounded if you are a Person of Color, a woman, or an individual viewed as disabled. It was important to include voices from across all spectrums, including age, which is why readers will discover young activists, those in their middle years, and one who is close to age 90.   

 

4. What do you hope readers will walk away with after reading “A Better World Starts Here”?

I hope that readers will see the interconnections between all forms of oppression and how activism must be interconnected in the same way. All of the forms of activism presented here are necessary. The book is a statement against single-issue activism because you cannot liberate in one direction while being oppressive in another. All beings need to be liberated, and this includes nonhuman animals, which is why several vegan activists are included. The best scenario I can imagine is someone discovering how they may be contributing to a form of oppression, and they decide to learn more and make changes in their life to work against the oppression they were previously promoting.

 

5. As activists, continual learning and working towards becoming better activists should be something we strive for, did you find yourself learning something new from the activists featured in the book?

Definitely. I learned so much from this project. I talked with individuals who have experienced horrible forms of racism, violence, and what we can call an “everyday terrorism” that I, as a white cisgender woman, will never know. It is not that I was unaware of injustices before but talking with someone one-on-one when you are fully present brings an awareness that I don’t believe happens in other contexts. There were also some very specific things I learned, such as the intersections of race and public transportation rights and access that Lark Lo made me aware of when I spoke with her. I also discovered concepts discussed by the people I interviewed, including “root shock,” “body terrorism,” and “intuitive eating” that I was not familiar with.  I have already referred students and friends to some of the activists and organizations I discovered while working on this project.  I’m incredibly thankful for the book and the gifts of stories and information others were willing to offer. I absolutely believe the voices in the book show us the path to a better world.

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Get a copy from our shop: SanctuaryPublishers.com/Shop

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The 25 featured activists and their work:

Aquila Hope, trans activism

Marisela Gomez, gentrification activism

Sandi Torkildson, community activism

Carol J. Adams, ecofeminist activism

Sonya Renee Taylor, body activism

Kate Jessica Raphael, feminist activism

Michelle Carrera, food justice activism

Celeste Chan, queer activism

Helène Aylon, art activism

Julia Feliz Brueck, consistent anti-oppression advocacy

Ruth Behar, anthropology activism

Steve Bell, prison advocacy

Kamekə Brown, vegan advocacy

Judy Grahn, poetry activism

Bamby Salcedo, trans activism

Sarah Rafael García, literary activism

Michelle Habell-Pallán, scholar activism

Hilary Kinavey, body activism

Yago S. Cura, library activism

Beth Pickens, art activism

Lark Lo, intersectional activism

Ardeth De Vries, senior dog advocacy

Sara Vander Zanden, homelessness advocacy

Janet Holmes, photography activism

Edwin Ramirez, comedy activism

Wild and Free at PreetiRang Sanctuary

Sales from Andrea Zimmer’s brand new childNew Release Banner squareren’s book Wild and Free will help support residents at Preetirang Sanctuary!

Caretakers of PreetiRang Sanctuary nonhuman animal residents explain that,

At PreetiRang it is our mission to provide the most peaceful and loving environment possible. An environment that allows our family of animals to be themselves, be free of oppression and the violent tendencies of humans. To not feel anxiety, injustice, fear or pressure to be who they are not.  Our slogan is “Every life deserves a chance to express itself” because in considering the most basic and essential aims of our work, it seemed that the central focus of all life forms is simply to live and express their own purpose. Free from violence, oppression or subjugation. We wish this for beings, human and nonhuman animal. 

You can learn more about PreetiRang Sanctuary’s residents here:

http://www.preetirangsanctuary.org/our-animal-family/

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Andrea Zimmer and PreetiRang Sanctuary hope to bring children in the CA area some fun reading events in 2019.

Stay tuned for that through the Wild and Free Facebook page!

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Order a copy of Wild and Free through Amazon, your favorite bookstore, or the Sanctuary Publishers’ shop.

Thanks for your support and for spreading the word!

 

About Wild and Free

Written by Andrea Zimmer

Illustrated by Julia Feliz Brueck

A catchy, repetitive rhyming picture book with beautiful illustrations, Wild and Free helps introduce young children to the concepts of wrong versus right when it comes to animal use and exploitation. It also teaches them to extend their care and empathy towards all.

Written by an elementary school teacher, children will become captivated by the bright imagery of animals they love while examining what it means for them to have a choice in how they interact with and impact others – both nonhuman and human

5 Questions with Saryta Rodríguez on Food Justice

Saryta Rodríguez is the the editor of our newly released book “Food Justice: A Primer.” Saryta recently sat down with us to discuss the book and her work as a vegan food justice advocate.

Food Justice: A Primer is your newest book just released under the Sanctuary Publishers label. Could you tell us about the book?

Saryta: Food Justice: A Primer is a compilation of essays examining food justice from a variety of angles, including economic, environmental, ethical, and social. The essays range in tone, from academic to personal; and in scope, from local to global. I wrote roughly half of the essays, have collaborators who have written a few others, and in one essay I conduct an interview with someone who has worked with the MST landless workers’ movement in Brazil, the global peasants’ movement organization Via Campesina, and the Occupy the Farm movement in Berkeley, California. So he is sort of a co-author to that chapter, the focus of which is on land rights struggles.

What made you pursue this collaborative project?

Saryta: I have become increasingly aware in my food justice work, both when advocating for nonhuman animals and when advocating for the rights of hungry humans, that these camps are unnecessarily divided. While their goals are the same— to create a world in which everyone’s right to healthful food is respected and food is grown and distributed in a way that benefits the planet and all life forms on it— rather than sharing resources and collaborating, these camps tend to keep to themselves and even often demonize one another. For instance, those trying to feed hungry humans around the world often accuse vegans of being naïve, of imagining that everyone can just go vegan right now and that that would solve all food-related problems— neither of which is true. Meanwhile, vegans are often very disrespectful in talking to people who can’t go vegan right now for a specific reason, or who may not understand, for instance, why dairy is problematic because they are used to thinking of milk and eggs as items nonhuman animals “give” to us rather than items we take from them (and which require nonhuman rights violations such as involuntary pregnancy and kidnapping).

Therefore, one goal I had for this book was to try to bring these camps together. Another was to provide some basic information for people who aren’t in any specific camp, but would like to learn more about food justice in a broad sense and get some ideas on how they can contribute to it in their homes and their communities. Ideally, this will result in both more people getting involved in food justice and those who are already involved having a better understanding of the interrelationship between humans, nonhumans and our planet and how all three of these are negatively impacted by mainstream agricultural and economic practices.

Who do you expect will benefit from the topics discussed in the book?

Saryta: Those who are interested in food justice and want to contribute to it, but are not sure how, will benefit from some of these topics. For instance, there is a chapter on veganic farming that can help anyone with access to gardening grow food for themselves, their families, and their communities. Those who are interested in food policy work or helping with government programs such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) here in the US will benefit from understanding food justice from a racialized lens, such as in a chapter about food justice and race in the US. Such people would also benefit from understanding how legislation and policy are frequently used as tools to criminalize rather than assist the less fortunate, as explored in a chapter called “Food Waste, Feeding Bans and the Criminalization of Dissent.” Those who are interested in broader international trends and economic policy may be interested in an exploration of US-Mexico trade relations provided by another chapter.

Another group of people who will benefit are those who are already involved, but who may have an incomplete view of the picture, or may have been persuaded by either the nonhuman or the human side of things that that one side is more important than the other. Two chapters in this book clarify how nonhuman animal agriculture is an injustice to humans and nonhumans alike, while also wreaking havoc on the planet; meanwhile, humans working in these operations are subject to horrific conditions and low wages, which is addressed in the Introduction.

One of Sanctuary Publishers’ goals is to give back with every book sold. Who/what will the book be supporting?

Saryta: The book will be supporting “Casa Vegana de la Comunidad”, which is the latest project of Chilis on Wheels, a nonprofit organization devoted to feeding vegan food to anyone who is hungry. The organization currently has branches in Brooklyn, New York and San Juan, Puerto Rico; the Brooklyn branch also serves the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Casa Vegana de la Comunidad was founded in 2018 in San Juan, following Chilis on Wheels’s months-long food relief efforts after Hurricane Maria. It is the “home base” for Chilis on Wheels volunteers to cook and prepare food for distribution. There is also a spare room in which people from out-of-town can stay while they volunteer, and I am very much looking forward to pursuing that opportunity as soon as I have the necessary funds for a flight.

Casa Vegana is also the home of Silencio, a chicken who was rescued from my mother’s own hometown of Vega Baja! I sure hope I get to introduce them one day.

Is there a reason you chose “Casa Vegana de la Comunidad?”

Saryta: Well, for starters, I had already been following Michelle’s work for some time, and she is one of my personal heroes. (Michelle Carrera is the founder of Chilis on Wheels, and she contributed to the very last chapter of the Food Justice: A Primer, “Teachable Moments.”)  I also desperately wanted to do something to help after Hurricane Maria, but did not have the money to go down there myself and do anything; so I thought the next best thing would be to give money to someone who I know is doing something “down there.” I am deeply ashamed that it has been nearly a year since Maria and I have still not been to Puerto Rico— my mother’s homeland, which I haven’t visited in roughly ten years— but knowing now that there is a community in place that I can work with to make a difference makes me happy, and even before I can join it in person, I want to do everything I can to support its efforts.

I have also volunteered with the Chilis on Wheels folks on the Lower East Side, but only once, because then I was sick for a while and later I had to move away for the summer. It got too difficult for me to commute to where they serve on time to be of use. So I am waiting now until I move to Brooklyn in the fall so that I can hopefully start working with them again.

Read Food Justice: A Primer edited by Saryta Rodríguez by ordering a copy from Sanctuary Publishers or Amazon.

About the Editor:

Saryta Rodríguez is an author, editor, and social justice advocate. Their past writings have focused on food justice, veganism, race, and gentrification. Saryta is the author of the book Until Every Animal is Free (October 2015) and also contributed an essay, “Move to Berkeley! and Other Follies,” as well as part of the Introduction (regarding the distinction between intersectionality and diversity) to Veganism in an Oppressive World: A Vegans-of-Color Community Project (published in November 2017 by Sanctuary Publishers).  Saryta currently edits for Sanctuary Publishers, while also accepting unrepresented clients. Originally from Bay Shore, New York, they currently reside in Harlem.

Learn more about Saryta via www.sarytarodriguez.com

Support the work of Sanctuary Publishers via Facebook and Patreon!

Open for Submissions: White Passing PoC Guide Book

Book Project: White Passing POC Guide (title to be determined)

Lead Author: Karla Rosa Vargas, co-founder of La Raza for Liberation

What:

This book project is meant to guide white-passing people of color through recognizing and utilizing their privilege to better serve their POC communities, and advance our fight for justice and equality.

We would like to invite white passing PoC voices to contribute the following to this book:

Prompt: What does it mean to be a white-passing person of color? What privileges and responsibilities do we hold, and how should we responsibly navigate being caught between “two worlds”?

Details:

The following submissions formats are welcome from self-identified white-passing people of color:

-essays

-short reflections

-poems

No word limit. Submissions will be included in a specific chapter following the main discussion within the book.

Deadline is OCTOBER 15th, 2018.

Part of the proceeds from this book will be donated to Essie Justice Group.

“Essie Justice Group is a non profit organization of women with incarcerated loved ones taking on the rampant injustices created by mass incarceration. Our award-winning Healing to Advocacy Model brings women together to heal, build collective power, and drive social change. We are building a membership of fierce advocates for race and gender justice — including Black and Latinx women, formerly and currently incarcerated women, Transwomen, and gender non-conforming people.”

Contact: karlarosavargas (at) gmail (dot) com