by: Kim Sheridan, Award-winning author and filmmaker
No Apologies at Thanksgiving Dinners
My husband Jameth and I were building a business, HealthForce Nutritionals. We had been working around the clock, crafting our messaging and labeling in a way that would not offend anyone. We weren’t seeing great success.
Then, we had an epiphany. We decided instead to put ourselves out there: the real us; the hard-core, stand-up-for-those-who-can’t, do-the-right-thing-already conviction, proud vegan warriors. We didn’t mince words when explaining why our products were vegan; what that meant; what animal ingredients really were (organs or flesh or whatever); and why exactly we didn’t include or endorse them. And with that, we found our niche. The company took off, our customer base grew, and we finally had a dedicated following.
What’s the bottom line? That it’s good to stand up for what we believe in. In fact, it’s important to do so. People recognize and respect conviction. There’s such thing as being too politically correct. If no one ever stood up for anything, then slavery would still be legal, and I wouldn’t have the right to vote.
Likewise, my original decision to go vegan was triggered by some very disturbing literature I received in the mail from Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
Had they chosen to offend no one, they wouldn’t have sent such honest, blatant depictions of the truth in the mail. It was that very hard, cold, full-color, disturbing reality that inspired me to make the leap to a vegan lifestyle. Yes, it was disturbing, but it was the truth.
We need to stop apologizing for being vegan. We’re not doing anything wrong. Our dietary choice isn’t meant to fluster the hostess at Thanksgiving dinner. It is meant to honor and stand up for the voiceless victims who can’t stand up for themselves. It’s something to stand by proudly. Not in a holier-than-thou, I’m-better-than-you sort of way; but rather, in an I-won’t-back-down and I-invite-you-to-join-the-peaceful-crusade sort of way. I call it “Vegan with Backbone.”
Because veganism is not just a choice; it’s not just a lifestyle; it’s truly a cause. And that’s a good thing. Causes are what help the world to evolve.