The Weapon of the Word “N*gger” and Backlash Against Talking about Racism

I talk about Backlash by Dr. George Yancy and what it means for Black folk to talk compassionately and honestly about race in the USA…and the rage and threats one receives to their life for simply speaking the truth as a ‘gift’. I talk about briefly, the backlash I got from talking honestly about animal advocacy and anti-Black racism and white supremacy. I gave a keynote talk at Animal Expo Care in May 2018 talking about radical diversity, equity, and inclusion to 1400+ an I did experience a lot of support but also quite a bit of ‘backlash’…in combination with the continued backlash of violence and aggression from white people (in animal advocacy and beyond) over the last 12+ of me doing this scholarship, giving workshops, and talks.

“N*gger” is not just a ‘word’ (Somatic pain beyond just being ‘brainy’ about it)

When a troll calls you a “n*gger”, in response to your public work that addresses racial injustice (i.e., a book you have published, a lecture you have given, a piece of art you have painted, a podcast you have given, etc), what is your somatic response?
I ask that because I never reply to these comments because I know that that is what they want me to do… But my body, nonetheless, replies…
“Intellectually”, I know they are there to be trolls and to incite terror and I am not “supposed” to let it “bother”  or “get to me”… but that’s just brainy Breeze saying this… My body isn’t convinced and often, I feel and experience what could be symptoms of racial battle fatigue and trauma (deep trauma from my ancestors who were enslaved, lynched, and knew that “n*gger” isn’t just a word, but an action, a system of thought, a philosophy, and act of terror on Black bodies).
Do you deal with the somatic and convincing yourself that racial epithets are “just words”? Because I am realizing more and more that that brainy critical race feminist Breeze thinks she is able to just let it bounce off of her, but I know it isn’t just that easy and her body lets her know through nightmares, anxiety, and knowing that she is not as “safe” as she thinks she is.
 
Dear Black folk who mean well: Let’s talk about the somatic and let’s stop telling Black people to “be strong” when racial epithets are used as weapons against us. I know many Black folk have tried to help me by telling me to stay strong and don’t let it get to me… but like I said above, my body isn’t having it. If you feel this way but have been afraid to talk about it, I understand.
 
This morning, I got a pop up notification from YouTube. Someone commented on my Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Consumption movement video I had posted. Their only comment? “N*ggers” is what they wrote.
And today, I couldn’t be brainy rationale Breeze about it, or convince myself that “it’s just a word and racist trolling.” Today it f*cking hurt and it made me physically sick.
 
There is a reason why, in my 2nd novel “Scars”, that I start with the preface about being called “n*gger” and then I end the preface with, “N*gger hurts, and never heals….” 

12 Women Who Helped Shape Me: A Black Feminist Pays Homage on International Women’s Day 2018

 
Here are some of the influential women that I would like to thank that helped me in various ways with having the confidence, resources, activist heart, etc that I needed to get me where I am today as Sistah Vegan, Dr. A. Breeze Harper, and Black Feminist Mama raising 4 babes while tackling a white supremacist racial caste system through scholarly inquiry, speaking, and book writing…
 
1. Patricia Harper (the woman who gave birth to me). She literally told my twin and I that if she ever heard us bullying or making fun of anyone due to race, class, sexual orientation, gender, religion she would “kick our a*s”. She also fought tooth and nail within a predominantly white rural school system in New England to make sure her Black children were not held back due to racist beliefs about Black folk.
 
2. bell hooks. I didn’t know what black feminism officially was until I read Black Looks: Race and Representation at Dartmouth College in the mid 1990s. It changed my life. Finally, I had language for the sh*t I had been dealing with since I could remember. I look forward to meeting you finally in real space/time in April 2018 at Berea College.
 
3. Frances Ufkes, PhD. The professor at Dartmouth College who believed in me and literally got me into this whole discipline of geography and food as well as critically thinking about commodities, space, and place. It was an interesting adventure for both of us as women in a predominantly white male dominated discipline of Geography. I took her “The Geography of Food and Hunger” class and I had no idea. I had no idea that that ethnographic trip for my research paper, back in 1994,  to the town’s grocery store to analyze the ‘meaning’ of food objects would come back to me through my interest of the racial meaning applied to vegan food objects as a graduate student seeking PhD programs.
 
4. Katherine McKittrick, PhD. She wrote Demonic Grounds— the first groundbreaking black feminist approach to geographies of struggle focused on Black women. After reading her work in 2006, I was inspired to apply to PhD programs to interrogate the geographies of struggle and the vegan praxes it would produce amongst Black women vegans.
 
5. Luz Mena, PhD. She was one of my advisors at UC Davis and believed in my ability to do innovative scholarship around veganism and critical studies of race. 
 
6. Psyche Williams-Forson, PhD. My remote advisor for my PhD program at UC Davis. She also wrote the book “Building Houses out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, and Power” and it was that book that articulates a critical race and black feminist approach to materialism and food that I would use for my analysis of vegan food objects in vegan food guides.
 
7. Patricia Leavy, PhD. After nearly giving up to find a publisher for my 2nd book “Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England“, she read my manuscript within one week. With passion and enthusiasm told, she me how innovative and amazing my book was (despite me being told by a plethora of potential publishers the opposite because they didn’t think anyone would be interested in critical race engagements with rural geographies, Black life, and sexual orientation unless it was ‘urban erotica’). She put her confidence in me and supported the publishing of my first social fiction book. 
 
8. Elise Aymer. One of my bestest friends (yes, I said “bestest”) and amazing business partner and confidant. Her raw and compassionate honesty and acute sharp mind has helped me develop self-care practices and learning to become more assertive with what I want in life. 
 
9. Zenju Earthlyn Marselean Pierre-Manuel. You wonder where I get my engaged buddhism framing of anti-racism and Black feminism? I read Zenju’s first book Seeking Enchantment about a decade ago; finally, someone who was mindful, compassionate, seeking ways to understand intersections of spirituality, self-love, mindfulness, and healing within a racist, sexist, and homophobic society. She really inspired me (and still does) to think about one’s role in social justice and anti-racism within the Sangha and beyond. She and Konda Mason organized a women of African Diaspora Buddhist retreat about five years ago and it changed my world.
 
10. pattrice jones. I wrote her shortly after her book Aftershock was published. She emailed me back saying she saw I had a new book coming out (Sistah Vegan) and asked who the publisher was. I admitted that I actually didn’t have a publisher yet. She said she would see what she could do…and introduced me and my project to Lantern Books. They read it took it as one of their first engagements with race and veganism. She wrote the brilliant afterword. Her book The Oxen at the Intersection is my ‘go to book’ for explaining to mostly white vegans, the intersections of ableism, whiteness, non-human animal rights issues, and ‘nostalgic’ narratives around [white people] getting back to traditional farming. She helps run Vine Sanctuary in Vermont.
 
11. Queen Afua. Sacred Womanby Queen Afua, is the reason why I transitioned into veganism. Hers was the first afrocentric approach to veganism I had ever heard and read about. When I read her articulations of the Black womb space and the consequences of colonialism, racism, white supremacy on our wombs (at the spiritual, nutritional, and health levels), I was blown away by that perspective. Finally, a vegan ‘dietary’ practice that came from a black racialized consciousness unapologetically. Even though it is my own story, it was her Kemetic vegan whole foods womb health regimen that helped me shrink my ‘incurable’ fibroid tumors and fade away years of painful menstrual cycles. She inspired me to seek out more decolonial methods of food, healing, and consciousness. (Her work is in the 3rd chapter of my dissertation.)
 
12. Lauren Ornelas . Why does Breeze talk so much about “cruelty-free” vegan commodities being suspect if human exploitation is involved (despite there being no non-human animal exploitation?)? Lauren founded Food Empowerment Project. Her work taught me to question the neoliberal capitalist approach to veganism and to turn the lens onto the consequences of modernity (i.e., coloniality: to be a ‘modern’ vegan consumer there is the underbelly of modernity which are tens of thousands of exploited mostly non-white racialized laborers harvesting ‘vegan’ commodities like cacao , strawberries, kale). Food Empowerment Project is the 4th chapter of my dissertation work.
 
I’m only at 12 women… but I cannot write anymore (quite tired). The list would be much longer if I had infinite amount of time and I wasn’t nursing a baby while one hand typing…. I just want to acknowledge that there are far more women who have greatly influenced me and I am honored to have had them in my life. 

About Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a senior diversity and inclusion strategist for Critical Diversity Solutionsa seasoned speaker, and author of books and articles related to critical race feminism, intersectional anti-racism, and ethical consumption. As a writer, she is best know for as the creator and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men use hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies. In 2016, she collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the backgrounder Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked off FoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system

Dr. Harper is the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project which has put on several ground-breaking conferences with emphasis on intersection of racialized consciousness, anti-racism, and ethical consumption (i.e., veganism, animal rights, Fair Trade). Last year she organized the highly successful conference The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter which can be downloaded.

Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. Her current 2016 lecture circuit focuses on excerpts from her latest book in progress, Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist’s Journey Through ‘Post-Racial’ Ethical Foodscape which will be released in 2017, along with the second Sistah Vegan project anthology The Praxis of Justice in an Era of Black Lives MatterIn tandem with these book projects, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”

In the spring of 2016, Dr. Harper was nominated as the Vice Presidential nominee for the Humane Party— the only vegan political party in the USA with focus on human and non-human animals.


BECOME A MONTHLY DONOR. THE SISTAH VEGAN PROJECT ALREADY HAS SEVERAL THOUSAND FOLLOWERS. JUST IMAGINE WHAT COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED IF HALF OR MORE FOLLOWERS PLEDGED $5-$15 PER MONTH.

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Black girl hair and bullying…and affirmations (Racial Battle Fatigue Part II)

Black girl hair magic ….

Eva Luna, 6.
Eva Luna, 6.
Eva Luna, 6.

This morning Eva Luna told me again that the same two girls at school continue to tell her that her hair is stupid, that straight hair is “easier” and “looks better”. She was upset about doing her hair again this morning because she didn’t want it to look ‘stupid’ and be made fun of. It looks like I am going to have to repeat to her to love her self as well as her hair and try to explain anti blackness that many kids have learned . It is a difficult talk to have with a six year old but at the end, we did her hair “like mama” and she was happy again. She was also tentative about putting the Alaffia curl enhancer leave in conditioner in her hair because she told me that the kids make fun of the smell and that her hair may often look ‘wet’ and some tell her it is ‘gross’. I told her that this is super magical and that there is geranium oil in it and mommy puts tea tree oil in it so she doesn’t get lice like many kids.

…and to think, my mom and dad had to remind me everyday that I am beautiful, as well as smart despite the white kids in my all white school system teasing me about my “nigger do”, or teasing me that my hair looked ‘gross’ for putting traditional butters and creams in it… I was 6 in 1982… And in 2018 I am doing the same with my 6 year old….and it shouldn’t be this way still….

…and then there is my 8 year old son, who has long hair and and bullied and teased for his gender expression of wanting to identify as a boy who wears long hair pulled back in a pony tail. These everyday talks of empowerment for kids are essential and I remember it was the same talks and affirmations that my parents gave to me and my brother to get us through the racial hostility of the Reagan years and to convince us that we were smart and beautiful (inside and out).

Many adults didn’t like my mom because she called oppression out immediately. She didn’t hold back and would tell teachers and parents if they were being racist as well as holding on to ridiculous gender stereotypes. My twin brother played the flute and was a cheerleader. Several man teachers were annoyed that he didn’t play soccer or basketball like “real boys”. Mom and dad supported us and didn’t bow down. I was so blessed to have had that support and foundation.

Whitesplaining Black Girl Hair and Bullying: (Racial Battle Fatigue Series Part I)

On my personal Facebook page…After I posted my concerns about my 6 year old being bullied and teased for having a natural hair style (big puffy curly afro) by non-Black children, my concerns about the racist and white supremacist nature of the bullying was “white-splained” and derailed by a well intended white woman vegan. She insisted that the bullying was a “human” problem and not a white supremacy/anti-Blackness problem and spoke of all types of violence against humans and non-human animals that currently exist. She framed it that “HUMANS HATE AND OPPRESS HUMANS and NONHUMAN ANIMALS” and it’s not white supremacy it is a HUMAN problem. It was how she tried to explain the bullying of my daughter’s afro.

Her explanation was basically “All Lives Matter” rhetoric and it was frustrating but very indicative of neoliberal white misunderstanding of a white supremacist racial caste system (USA) and that yes, there is violence against humans by humans, but we need to locate this specific one , name it as ‘white supremacy’ and anti-Blackness if we’re ever going to tackle this specific problem my daughter is having.

At the end, me and the women of color trying to explain why we center of “Racism” and “anti-Blackness” and not simply the white-centric liberal ideology of “ALL HUMAN OPPRESS, ” we were told that our refusal to prescribe to her “All Lives Matter” rhetoric equated to us being ‘violent’, ‘attacking her’, and confirming her belief that we humans are addicted to bullying and violence.

Apparently, centering and naming ourselves as non-white racialized subjects in a white supremacist USA while raising our non-white children means we are “violent” for not agreeing with the general assessment “Well, all humans oppress and are bullies” as we try to figure out (as mostly femmes and women vegans of color), how to protect our non-white children from systemic racism producing racialized bullying. (sigh)

So, how many of you are still remaining silent on these issues?

And if you recall, I was nominated as the VP candidate for the Humane Party and I made it clear that I’m not taking a post-racial approach to veganism and human rights issues in 2016:

 


Dr. A. Breeze Harper has a PhD in Critical Food Geographies. She is the creator of The Sistah Vegan Project and the editor of the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society, is a sought-after speaker, writer, and consultant at Critical Diversity Solutions (www.criticaldiversitysolutions.com).

Her most recently published book is Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014). Scars interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of protagonist 18 year old Savannah Sales, the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. In 2018, her latest book project will be published, tentatively titled Black Mama Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, And Toddler Tantrums .

Overall, Dr. Harper’s work focuses on how systems of oppression- namely racism and normative whiteness- operate within the USA. She uses food and ethical consumptions cultures, within North America, to explore these systems. Her favorite tools of analysis are critical whiteness studies, decolonial world systems theory, Black feminisms, critical race feminism, critical animal studies, and critical food studies. She is known for using engaged Buddhism as the choice method to explain her research and broach these often difficult topics of power, privilege, and liberation.

Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. Her talks explore how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality and physical abilities.

If you are interested in having A. Breeze Harper speak at your college, conference or organization please contact her at breezeharper@gmail.com. Learn more about her on her author and publications page here.

RIP: Intersectionality (or is it too soon to quit?)

Over the last year, there have been debates amongst mostly non-white vegans and non-white animal rights folks about how “intersectionality” has been co-opted by mainstream veganism and has lost its original intention and meaning. Furthermore, there is suggestion that “intersectionality” doesn’t dismantle systems of oppression, it just shows how either social identities and/or struggles are “connected” (i.e., one isn’t “just” Black, but that their Black identity is influenced by sexual orientation, gender, socio-economic class, ability, etc).

Why do I start with “Intersectionality” , despite there being a rising backlash against it by many non-white anti-racism activists (vegan and non-vegan)?

I start with “intersectionality” because most people in the USA do not have a literacy around reality beyond a ‘one-dimensional’ approach. I can’t just jump into Black Marxism or decolonial world systems analysis without using “intersectionality” as a “bridge” and a way to move beyond one-dimensional or binary ways of trying to understand history, politics, economics, the food system, law, etc. Most of my work over the last decade uses “intersectionality” but is not bound to it or limited by it; it’s one of many pedagogies I use  (others are Engaged buddhism, Black Marxism, Decolonial World Systems Analysis). I am employing Intersectionality because I am getting ready to set up the next phase of action—> which is to then “decolonize” and “dismantle” this current inequitable system.

I find that most people I work with or talk to cannot dive into decolonizing and dismantling this oppressive system  that currently has existed for 500+ years (at least here in the USA) until I first begin with “basic” concepts that social-identities are not existing in a vacuum, void from being affected by and affecting a “system.” The goal is not to get “stuck” in swirling around in making a game out of how “everything is connected” (i.e. intersectionality) without taking the plunge to dismantle it; even if it means for many of the white racial status quo to give up their possessive investment in whiteness ( I mention the racial aspect of oppression first because I come from a critical race studies and anti-racism background as it relates to my ethical consumption scholarship and have written about possessive investment of whiteness within the ethical vegan movement).

Interestingly, I keep on seeing more and more non-white activists who are actively taking a stance against oppressive systems (namely white supremacy, racism, neocolonialism, and neoliberal capitalist) claiming that “intersectionality” cannot do true justice or create equitable systems since it does NOT seek to abolish the present inequitable system (i.e., its current co-opted framing doesn’t eradicate white liberal possessive investment in whiteness despite intersectionality gaining popularity among white liberal identified crowd.)

So, how do I approach the “end” goal (dismantling the present exploitative neoliberal capitalist model of equality) without addressing that we don’t live in a one-dimensional vacuum? Like I wrote earlier, I use “intersectionality” as one of the tools but not the only tool.  I start here with these steps:

  1. Step One: We live in an inequitable system and are not post-racial. Our identities are not monolithic or stagnant.
  2. Step Two:  We don’t live in a post-racial society: racism and white supremacy in the USA are systemic, endemic, and normalized. I  address the delusion that we live in a “the post-racial” USA and debunk it. Then, I show that the reality of racism is one piece of many parts of an oppressive system (this is how intersectionality comes into play with my pedagogical style).  I show that racism doesn’t operate in a vacuum (nor is it just an individual act by a self proclaimed Nazi) but that it is actually systemic racism and is one of many moving parts within a neoliberal capitalist moral system. For example, racism needs to exist to benefit capitalism (even “green” capitalism that ethical consumption like veganism is a part of).
    3. Step Three: Now that my students know what intersectionality is (through a talk, writing, or workshop I give), I tell them that one needs to take the next stop to abolish the current system of oppression to make real equitable changes because the taken for granted neoliberal [capitalist] approach to ‘equality’ and ‘social impact’ will never alleviate suffering, exploitation, etc of human and non-human animals. You just can’t learn about intersectionality as some fun exercise to analyze the world or make fun connections like a puzzle game. Now you have learned that it’s all connected to the wheel of neoliberal capitalism/neo-colonialism you need to take next steps need to be something outside of neoliberal capitalist solutions. For example: Decolonization, Black Marxism, for example. 

Why I started with Intersectionality, years ago and continue to use it

I come from the camp of “intersectionality” as used by and mostly for the unique situation that Black women in the USA were in (and currently continue to be) when Crenshaw first coined the concept several decades ago (when it was not hip for white folk to use, period). For me, my engagement with Crenshaw’s intersectionality is in continuation of and part of the Black radical tradition and even Black Marxist roots I come from– as thousands of Black women are aware that sexism, poverty, anti-black racism, white supremacy are a result of a CAPITALIST/NEOCOLONIAL arrangement of power, resources, rights, etc. I’d argue that our collective intersectionality is not the same as the one that is now hip and even lucrative for white mainstream businesses and organizations to employ. It’s more like a cosmetic diversity “add-on” that is a façade and even used many times of cultural capital for those least likely to be negatively affected by systemic racism.

However, do I abandon “intersectionality” now just because it is being ‘co-opted’ more and more by a status quo the uses it in a ‘trendy’ way but still doesn’t truly want to demolish capitalism and covert-systemic forms of white supremacy ?

RIP Intersectionality? Nah, I am not ready to bury it just yet….


Dr. A. Breeze Harper (Photo Credit: Sun Harper-Zahn)

Dr. A. Breeze Harper has a PhD in Critical Food Geographies. She is the creator of The Sistah Vegan Project and the editor of the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society, is a sought-after speaker, writer, and consultant at Critical Diversity Solutions (www.criticaldiversitysolutions.com).

Her most recently published book is Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014). Scars interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of protagonist 18 year old Savannah Sales, the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. In 2018, her latest book project will be published, tentatively titled Black Mama Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, And Toddler Tantrums .

Overall, Dr. Harper’s work focuses on how systems of oppression- namely racism and normative whiteness- operate within the USA. She uses food and ethical consumptions cultures, within North America, to explore these systems. Her favorite tools of analysis are critical whiteness studies, decolonial world systems theory, Black feminisms, critical race feminism, critical animal studies, and critical food studies. She is known for using engaged Buddhism as the choice method to explain her research and broach these often difficult topics of power, privilege, and liberation.

Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. Her talks explore how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality and physical abilities.

If you are interested in having A. Breeze Harper speak at your college, conference or organization please contact her at breezeharper@gmail.com. Learn more about her on her author and publications page here.

Surviving Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease with Plant Based Nutrition

Eva Luna and Sun, healthier and happier in spring 2014.
Eva Luna and Sun, healthier and happier in spring 2014.

In January of 2014, my kids (a newborn, 2 year old, and 4 year old) all got Coxsackie A Virus at the same time. Better known as Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD), this virus is something most kids in the USA get by the time they are ten years old. Though usually benign, HFMD is a miserable experience in which one gets a blistering sore throat, slight fever, and throbbing headaches for 1-2 days. After these symptoms have subsided, the virus produces painful and itchy blisters in and on the mouth, hands, and feet. It is about a week of hell wrought with sleepless nights.

Having not caught HFMD as a child, my body had no immunity against it. However, I didn’t end up getting HFMD past a sore throat. The sore throat only lasted about 3 hours! My secret weapon against this virus was a holistic anti-viral dietary regiment that I put myself on as soon as my sore throat hit me. Allopathic practitioners will tell you that there is no cure for HFMD. That may be true, but just because you get the virus doesn’t mean you have to get the full-blown symptoms. I am living proof that you can avoid the supposedly unavoidable! As a matter of fact, within a few hours of starting this regiment and then taking a 2 hours nap, I started feeling much better. My sore throat vanished, and I felt brand new. I stayed on this dietary regiment for 5 days.

Take the sugar and coffee out of your diet. Replace with mostly high quality plant-based proteins and lots of greens like kale.

Sugar weakens the immune system so take it out. I removed the sweets and replaced most of my meals and snacks with mostly dark leafy greens and protein. Viruses love caffeine, so take it out of your diet. Below is the super green smoothie I drank with my breakfast and lunch. Using a high-quality blender, like a Vita-Mix, is highly recommended to finely grind the kale and ginger root. Ginger is essential to boost the immune system, but it also helps most of us digest raw  or lightly steamed cruciferous vegetables like kale.

  • ¾”-1” cube of fresh ginger root.
  • ½ bunch of raw Dino kale
  • 1 tsp of Organic Hawaiian based Spirulina
  • 30 oz of water
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 apple (optional to make it sweeter)

Apply Neem Oil.

Though it smells strongly like a mixture of sulfur and garlic, don’t let it deter you from using it. I rubbed it all over my face, hands, and feet 2 times a day to prevent getting the blister outbreaks. I recommended applying about 3-4 drops on your face, as well as 3-4 drops for the hands and feet. If you have sensitive skin, mix the Neem oil extra virgin coconut oil. You can do a ratio of Neem oil and coconut oil that is 1:4. Add several drops of Lavender essential oil to the mixture to decrease the pungent smell. I ended up mixing ½ ounce of Neem oil with 2 ounces of virgin coconut oil. I highly suggest using coconut oil because it is anti-viral and anti-bacterial as well.

Elderberry.

 I made Elderberry tea and drank it 3 times a day. Elderberry is a superb anti-viral and immune system-boosting berry. I buy my organic Elderberries in bulk because the syrup they have in the stores are pricey. Be sure to decoct your Elderberries for at least 20 minutes, as sometimes Elderberries can cause illness if they are eaten raw. I always use organic Elderberries. However, if you prefer to use a high quality Elderberry syrup over making your own tea, that is fine too and a little more convenient.

1000 mg of Vitamin C per Day.

I took 1000mg of vitamin C each day in two increments, at 500mg per dose. I took 500mg of ascorbic acid based Vitamin C in the morning and evening, with food. Don’t take 1000mg all at once, as your body can’t really make use of more than 500mg within a few hour period.

Goldenseal.

 

I took a Goldenseal tincture 3 times a day. Like Elderberry, it’s a superb immune system booster and anti-viral herb. My brand of choice is Herb Pharm. I prefer the glycerite, as alcohol-based tinctures tend to make me feel sicker.

Apple Cider Vinegar.

I drank 1tbsp of apple cider vinegar mixed with 8 ounces of water, 3x a day. Apple cider vinegar helps to prevent the virus from replicating any further, once it enters your body. You must use apple cider vinegar and not any other form.

Good luck and happy wellness to you and your family!

 

 

Food Empowerment Project Needs You

Food Empowerment Project Needs Your Help Now
Please consider giving generously to support Food Empowerment Project’s food justice work as we start 2018.

Food Empowerment Project has been at the forefront of grappling with intersectional food justice for the past ten years.

They have worked to end the abuse of animals on farmsenvironmental degradationunfair and dangerous working conditions for agricultural and food production workersfood deserts and scarcity in communities of color and low-income areas and highlighted the importance of choosing not to buy chocolate that is sourced from plantations that exploit children as labor.

As part of an activist push around decolonializing our broader American diets (and in particular for brown and black people) and encouraging, compassionate, healthful food choices, Food Empowerment Project also manages Vegan Mexican Food which features numerous delicious Mexican recipes in English and Spanish.

Food Empowerment Project as a vegan food justice organization recognizes their work as intersectional, holistic, and anti-oppressive; focused on injustices against people, non-human animals, and the environment.

Vallejo Healthy Food Fest
Food to the people. Food Empowerment Project’s annual all-vegan Vallejo Healthy Food Fest.

NOW, Food Empowerment Project needs you. Please give generously to help them continue their work to create a more just and sustainable food system.

Food Empowerment Project’s founder and Executive Director, Lauren Ornelas is a friend of Sistah Vegan, serving as a panelist most recently at the 2015 web conference “The Vegan Praxis of  Black Lives Matter”  and her organization, Food Empowerment Project has featured on Sistah Vegan before.

Here she is speaking about “The Power of Your Food Choices for a More Just Society” and what vegan advocacy looks like from her personal perspective as a Chicana woman of color:

“The stronger we are, the more we unite these issues, the more we bring more like-minded people together we will grow and we will change this injust system.”
– Lauren Ornelas

Confronting a Racial Equity Problem in a Pro-Vegan Work Space: Ella’s Story

*Ella is a fictional character but her experience reflects real testimonies and legal cases of racism in the work place. Dog Synergy is a fictional organization.

After Doug Jones’ Win: We are Activists, Not White America’s Mammy-Savior or Ignoble Savage

My thoughts on the recent “realization” (by the status quo) that Black women [have to] save the USA from white supremacy.  Should we be ‘honored’ of this recognition or not? I have mixed-strong feelings about the recent *news* (since the win of Doug Jones via Black women); how we supposedly have saved white America from themselves for decades and will have to continue to do so…usually without enough to thrive, struggling to make it on many fronts (materially, financially, etc).

Tarana Burke started the grassroots movement behind #metoo and doesn’t even make the cover of Time.

Remember it took Bree Newsome to literally climb up a poll and bring down that confederate flag?

Who founded Black Lives Matter after the murder of Trayvon Martin?: Black women.

I’m thinking of the plethora of Black women consistently fighting against ‘the system’– (not just FOR Black people, knowing full well that ‘the system’ isn’t there to support MOST people, so our work-activism-dedication end up benefiting the majority).

Simultaneously, what we do is [kind of] valued once it becomes trendy because the foundations we have built suddenly become the ‘ hip’ thing to do— especially if it makes certain neoliberal whites not [look] ‘racist’.

And one can’t forget the hundreds of Black women of the Black Panther party who laid the groundwork/blueprint for health and food activism that hundreds of organizations throughout the USA were inspired by (and continue to be).

Despite material realities of struggle, collectively, it has never been an excuse for us to feel powerless or do nothing– because that ‘excuse’ would be a privilege, wouldn’t it? 

And yet, at the end of so many of these Black women’s days, we don’t have the support we need to THRIVE. I could not believe it was acceptable for Rosa Parks to have died destitute, yet her struggle has been co-opted and exploited for years by the status quo while she remained  financially and materially insecure.

Dear white America: You may be into the whole ‘savior complex’ or seek to be ‘saved’ but this is an unfair burden put on the shoulders of Black women (as well as other non-white women, girls, and gender non-conforming non-white people in the USA).

Dear White America: You are dangerously walking on the fine line between [un]consciously expecting us to perform  Black mammy activism to save you from yourselves and expecting us to shut the f*ck up and ‘know our place’ when it doesn’t benefit you or your unacknowledged possessive investment in [neoliberal] whiteness.

Dear White America: Be careful not to narrate us through a new white imagination of ‘ignoble’ savage.

Do the work. Stop pretending you are helpless or don’t have the ‘natural’ courage and strength to do what is right [like Black women somehow ‘naturally’ can do]. Stop idolizing us only when it suits you and start dismantling this white supremacist system 24/7/365. 


Dr. A.Breeze Harper (Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)

Dr. A. Breeze Harper has a PhD in Critical Food Geographies. She is the creator of The Sistah Vegan Project and the editor of the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society, is a sought-after speaker, writer, and consultant at Critical Diversity Solutions (www.criticaldiversitysolutions.com).

Her most recently published book is Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014). Scars interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of protagonist 18 year old Savannah Sales, the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. In 2018, her latest book project will be published, tentatively titled Black Mama Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, And Toddler Tantrums .

Overall, Dr. Harper’s work focuses on how systems of oppression- namely racism and normative whiteness- operate within the USA. She uses food and ethical consumptions cultures, within North America, to explore these systems. Her favorite tools of analysis are critical whiteness studies, decolonial world systems theory, Black feminisms, critical race feminism, critical animal studies, and critical food studies. She is known for using engaged Buddhism as the choice method to explain her research and broach these often difficult topics of power, privilege, and liberation.

Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. Her talks explore how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality and physical abilities.

If you are interested in having A. Breeze Harper speak at your college, conference or organization please contact her at breezeharper@gmail.com. Learn more about her on her author and publications page here.