We think it’s important to remind people that veganism does not save animals, it simply spares them. Veganism is the moral baseline, it just means you are not participating in the violence. To save animals, and work toward animal liberation necessitates action.
VEGWORLD MAGAZINE: When Animal Rights warriors Shannon Blair, Trey Morrow, and Mikee Yago, had to curtail their street activism during the COVID-19 pandemic, they were inspired to rethink strategy to remain impactful. After rigorous brainstorming, they found a solution. They were going to grow the animal rights movement by empowering new activists to harness their unique skills and join the animal liberation cause.
Thus, in April 2020, the Animal Activism Mentorship (AAM) Program was born. Mikee points out, “It is often quoted that only one percent of the world’s population is vegan, and not all vegans are animal rights activists. If we could motivate more people to use their voice, we would have a stronger impact.”
From their personal experiences, the AAM co-founder team understood the importance of having guidance when embarking on their activism journeys. “It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of where and how to get started. We want to help new activists bypass that initial slump, and help them find their footing as activists,” says the terrific trio!
They graciously chatted with VEGWORLD about AAM’s ambitions and global actions- fighting the good fight for ALL Earthlings:
VW: How would you describe AAM and its purpose?
AAM: AAM is a program with a mission to motivate and empower animal rights advocates to create a positive systemic change for all animals. We want to encourage new and seasoned activists to learn about different kinds of activism and decide what they feel called to participate in. We don’t believe that there is only one single most effective form of activism. Keeping that in mind, we created this mentorship program where we pair an interested, aspiring activist, who signs up for mentorship, with an experienced mentor in the kind of activism that they want to learn about…
VW: You’ve pointed out the need for more vegans using their voice for animals. How do you encourage vegans’ participation in activism?
AAM: We think it’s important to remind people that veganism does not save animals, it simply spares them. Veganism is the moral baseline, it just means you are not participating in the violence. To say that someone saves animals by being vegan is like saying someone is a lifeguard when their only credential is that they don’t actively purposefully drown people. That doesn’t make any sense. To fight for change, save animals, and work toward animal liberation necessitates action. Sometimes, the worst thing we can do is doing nothing at all. We feel the majority of the population would take action in some way, shape, or form. This especially resonates with ethical vegans- they know they would seize the opportunity to take action for the animals. However, the opportunities to do so might not be apparent to them yet. This is where AAM can help them exercise their values in a form of deliberate action…
VW: Tell us about the program model- you are committed to a non-hierarchical framework. Why do you feel that is a crucial element for AAM?
AAM: Some organizations need hierarchies to meet their goals and that’s fine, but working without a hierarchy has been working well so far for our program. We feel it empowers each mentor to take initiative and make their own ideas happen. They can use AAM as that platform so that they have the support of other mentors to help them succeed.
One challenge of any non-hierarchy is staying organized and keeping the needle moving. Our solution to this is what’s called the Support Team: a small group that keeps us running with everything from pairing mentees with mentors, running social media, scheduling meetings, and serving our mentors in any way they need. Our model also avoids the “wait for instructions” bottleneck that can often hinder efficiency…
VW: That was so beautifully said, and you’re all doing remarkable work! How can our community support your efforts?
AAM: People can support us by following Animal Activism Mentorship on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Sharing our content and spreading the word is helpful because it encourages people to sign up for our program and become effective activists! Our content and resources are available for all to utilize and helps us broaden our reach through education. We would also encourage the public to start a mentorship program of their own too if their passion calls for it. This is not a competition anyway- we just want the animals to be free.
Lastly, whenever we are planning multi-day events, we do Facebook fundraisers. Contributing helps finances not be an issue for those who want to come to get hands-on activism experience with the support of experienced activists. Being a part of these actions helps people to get more involved when they go back home because they have the tools, experience, and a network of experienced activists to consult. These events are so crucial and by contributing, you can make them possible! SOURCE…