(taken from Breeze Harpers youtube channel)

Breeze Harper’s talk “On Trayvon Martin, PETA, and Being a Black Critical Race Researcher in White Spaces” given on June 4th, 2013

The full title of this talk is actually “‘Never Be Silent’ and the Packaging of Neoliberal Whiteness: On Trayvon Martin, PETA, and Being a Black Critical Race Researcher in White Spaces”. I just could’t fit the entire title in the Wordpress title setup box.

I gave this talk on June 4, 2013 at University of California, Davis for the GGG Speaker Series. I critique the 'cruelty-free’ products that PETA promotes in their Vegan Shopping Guide which is accessible online. I use critical race materialism and decolonial world-systems analysis to question how any commodity sold to us vegans as 'cruelty-free’, can truly be ethical if it relies on human exploitation. For example, I speak about racialized-sexualized exploitation of indigenous Mexican females to harvest 'cheap’ tomatoes for the Global North. I also question how PETA can support a plethora of cocoa products that are 'free’ from animal-products, yet the cocoa from companies such as Nestle and Hershey source their cocoa using African Child slavery.

I examine PETA’s superficial use of Trayvon Martin’s murder as a way to 'boost’ their animal liberation campaign, and argue that PETA falsely constructs Trayvon Martin’s tragedy as 'true racism’ they are against. The problem is that PEAT never engages a dialogue about the structural racism and coloniality that make the 'cruelty-free’ vegan commodities they advocate, possible. It is contradictory to their 'intersectional’ animal liberation campaign that asks people to “Never Be Silent” about injustices in the world.

At the end of this talk, I explain why I am 'nervous’ and 'out of breath": because it is emotionally difficult for me, many times, to show up in a predominantly white space, as a black critical race feminist in a supposed 'post-racial’ era, and talk about 'whiteness’ and 'white supremacy’ to a predominantly white audience.

I have to admit that the most notable memory from this experience was the first question I received during the Q&A. This question was from a white male who said he was completely unfamiliar with the Trayvon Martin incident. He asked that I provide him information about it. I do not expect everyone to know everything that is going on in the USA, but there is something to be said about the question about Trayvon Martin being asked. As a 'survival’ rule, I personally need to be cognizant of racial profiling of us brown and black folk, here in the USA, so I stay up to date on these tragedies. 

If you enjoyed this video and would like to continue to support the work of the Sistah Vegan Project, you can donate to my new endeavor, which is to turn the Sistah Vegan Project into a 501 c 3.

Ms. Magazine: How does your feminist identity influence the way you think about food/food politics?

Dr. Amie “Breeze” Harper: I am always looking through the lenses of black feminism, critical race feminism and decolonial feminist world-systems analysis when I try to understand food in every aspect. I simply cannot look at food as an “everyday mundane object.” I understand the meanings applied to food as something that represents an entire culture’s ideologies around everything. For example, food can tell me a society’s expectations about sexuality, gender roles, racial hierarchies of power and ability.

Ms. Magazine: Why should people consider food a feminist issue?

Dr. Harper: Oh, that’s a great one. First, I think feminism is really broad, so I’m coming from the perspectives of black feminism and decolonial feminist world-systems analysis. So, that is how I define “my” feminisms, for now at least. I think one cannot understand structural oppression within the food system without understanding how structural sexism shapes one’s relationship within the food system, from seed to plate. For example, what does it mean that tomatoes coming out of Mexico since NAFTA have come to North Americans “cheaply” due to the exploitation of indigenous Mexican women and the myth that indigenous women are “more tolerant” of harsh chemicals and sun exposure than light-skinned mestizas who are usually found working in the tomato packing plants? Check out Deborah Barndt’s work on that.

—  Avital Norman Nathman, “The Femisphere: Foodies and Food Politics,” Ms. Magazine 3/12/13

Veganism is not a “white” thing but “Indigenous” and “Original People’s” Thing: Hood Health breaks it down.

I read from “Hood Health” Handbook, Vol 1.

Book can be found here:

Harper’s goal is not for everyone to eat massaged kale salad, squash-lentil soup, and dairy-free cookies. It is to understand veganism as a way to address institutionalized racism, environmental racism, speciesism, ecological devastation, health disparities, overconsumption, and other manifestations of social injustice. Harper emboldens us to reexamine the relationships and ethics of the most ordinary—and seemingly innocent—things we eat, and to look beyond the binaries of ‘good’ and 'bad’ choices within our complex commodity food system.

Breeze Harper: “I remember there were times when I didn’t understand that certain things—like dandelions, nettles, and burdock—are not actually weeds. What are the politics of naming something a weed, and how do these social constructions benefit biopharmaceuticals? What does it mean for me to decolonize my mind and realize these are really cheap, accessible holistic herbs that I can use in place of toxic and damaging things that women or young girls are taught to consume when they have menstrual cramps? That I can do chamomile over Advil? Just thinking about these things is what it means to decolonize.

From that point, looking at my own specific geographical, social, financial location, how do I start to make myself healthy in a way that doesn’t support neoliberalism and neocolonialism? Which, of course, is not 100 percent [achievable] because by default, just being here, I do benefit from those systems. I think it’s about mindfulness and awareness: being aware of the extent I should take care of my own needs, but also not exploiting others, the environment, and nonhuman animals. I’m trying to find that balance." 

Full interview here.

Breeze Harper is such an inspiration on so many levels. 

Whether you are vegan or not, if you are interested in any of the aforementioned issues and haven’t heard of Harper’s work, please check out the Sistah Vegan Project


Breeze Harper talking about the upcoming book project Brotha Vegan (sibling to Sistah Vegan)

Signal boost for contributors! Extended deadline for abstracts is September 15, 2012. Final completed piece deadline: February 15, 2013.

Abstracts (approximately 2 paragraphs) can be sent to sistahvegan[at]gmail.

From Breeze’s blog:

This anthology isn’t only about veganism. It’s actually critical perspectives and arts coming from a black male vegan consciousness. You can talk about veganism, but you can also talk about other topics that intersect with your vegan consciousness. What are the ways in which black vegan males think about:

  1. Hip hop culture and vegan activism
  2. Environmental and nutritional racism
  3. Meat eating as a “masculine” stereotype
  4. Class and food access
  5. Structural racism’s effects on food access
  6. “Obesity” and diabetes in the African American community
  7. Access to clean water as a race, class, and gender issue.
  8. PETA
  9. Going Green; green jobs; green economy
  10. Fatherhood
  11. Teenhood
  12. Ageism
  13. Sexism
  14. Food sovereignty
  15. Occupy movement
  16. Experiencing life as a black male who is queer and vegan
  17. Disabilities studies and race
  18. Prison industrial complex
  19. Afrocentricism
  20. Spirituality and consumption
  21. Critical analysis of Afrocentric and Afrikan Holistic Health movement
  22. Decolonizing the body
  23. Animal liberation
  24. Raising vegan children

This volume will be loving and open-minded. I am not going to accept media that is sexist, homophobic, or anti-trans. This volume should be a safe artistic space for all black men, but in particular, marginalized black males such as sexuality minorities (black males who are gay, for example) and black men living with disabilities.

Whether you’re veg*an or not, Breeze consistently provides intelligent commentary on food politics within the context of structural racism. Check her blog out.

The animals of the world exist for their own reasons.  They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men.
—  Alice Walker, Sistah Vegan

Black Folk Don’t Go Green?

Feat. Nubia Sutton, Breeze Harper, and others. Get into it!


This panel will explore the process of making and unmaking “whiteness” as a latent part of the animal rights movement. It will touch on the shortcomings of animal rights in incorporating critical race politics, geopolitics, and the dynamics of privilege and oppression into its ideological background. In doing so, it will highlight a path to a future, more inclusive, and more successful movement.

T.O.F.U. Magazine: there is an alternative

Veganism and Forms of Oppression
This most recent issue covers the intersection of veganism with forms of oppression, such as racism, homophobia, and emotional abuse. Highlights include interviews with Jasmin Singer (Our Hen House) and Breeze Harper (Sistah Vegan), and articles from Naomi  Martinez (Hermana Resist) and Dan Hanley (The Gay Vegans).

The new issue can be downloaded for free, or with a donation, at


UC Berkeley Talk Part II: Queen Afua and Race-Gender Conscious Veganism

Breeze Harper (Sistah Vegan) explains “the Afrocentric approach to veganism that is race-gender conscious, decolonial, and revolutionary black feminist. I did this because I wanted to explain that there are more than just Eurocentric philosophical ‘ethics’ behind why some people choose veganism. By Eurocentrism, I mean the philosophical canon of ‘ethics and animals’ that dominate the mainstream academic literature in the USA. While Eurocentric philosophy focuses on the ‘ethics’ of non-human animal consumption and non-human animal exploitation, Afrocentric veganism (through Queen Afua) focuses on how veganism becomes a decolonial tool against the unethical abduction and enslavement of Africans and the institutional of chattel slavery; an unethical institution that took away their original plant-centered dietary philosophy and “forcing” them to eat a carnicentric diet. This is what a vegan methodology of the racially oppressed can look like!”


Sistah Vegan serving up some knowledge and a Kale smoothie


Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter

Presented by Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Resistance Ecology Conference 2015.
Portland, Oregon.

Sistah Vegan Conference Recordings Now Available!!!

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The Sistah Vegan Web Conference took place on September 14, 2013. It was titled “Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies.” It was a terrific 8 hours as we listened to talks and held discussions about Black women, veganism, and sizeism; whiteness and patriarchy as problematic in the USA animal liberation movement; how the ‘white savior complex’ complicates and causes stress for Black women [vegans] within certain USA yoga spaces; the politics of industrialized and processed baby food in indigenous communities and reclaiming nutritional knowledge through indigenous veganism; and much more!

The recordings of the 8 hour conference are now available to purchase here. You must complete the registration form in order to access the recordings. This means you MUST also create a password to access the recording. 

If you already registered for the live conference, you actually already have access to the recordings by going here and typing in you email address and then typing in the password you selected for the conference. 

For those of you just finding out about it, the speaker line-up and talk titles are below. ——————- Critical Food & Health Studies Web Conference: “Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies” Date: September 14, 2013 Time: 10:00am-6:00pm PST (USA) Location: Online Web Conference Through SPEAKER LINE-UP AND SCHEDULE 10:00 AM: “Introduction: How Veganism is a Critical Entry Point to Discuss Social, Animal, and Environmental Justice Issues for Black Women and Allies.” Dr. A. Breeze Harper, University of California-Davis. 10:15 AM: “How Whiteness and Patriarchy Hurt Animals.” Anastasia Yarbrough, Inner Activism Services. 10:50 AM: “PETA and the Trope of ‘Activism’: Naturalizing Postfeminism and Postrace Attitudes through Sexualized Bodied Protests.” Aphrodite Kocięda, University of South Florida 11:25 AM: “An Embodied Perspective on Redefining Healthy in a Cultural Context and Examining the Role of Sizeism in the Black Vegan Woman Paradigm.” Nicola Norman. 12:25 PM: “Cosmetic Marginalization: Status, Access and Vegan Beauty Lessons from our Foremothers.” Pilar Harris, Pilar in Motion. 1:00 PM: Open Discussion: “‘Why I Relinquished the Gospel Bird and Became a Vegan’: Girls and Women of African Descent Share Their Reasons for Choosing Veganism.” 1:50 PM: “Midwifery, Medicine and Baby Food Politics: Underground Feminisms and Indigenous Plant-based Foodways and Nutrition." Claudia Serrato, University of Washington. 2:30 PM: “Constructing a Resource Beyond Parenting as a Black Vegan: Discussing Geography and Theology and Their Contradictions Within.” Candace M. Laughinghouse, Regent University. 3:05 PM: Panel Discussion: “Yoga for the Stress Free Soul Sista And Radical Self-Care Teaching: Exploring Privilege in Yoga & Veganism for Girls of Color” w/ Sari Leigh & Kayla Bitten 4:20 PM: Open Discussion: Reflections on the Sistah Vegan Anthology. 5:00 PM: “Is Black Decolonization Possible in a Moral Economy of Neoliberal Whiteness? How USA Black Vegan Liberation Rhetoric Often Perpetuates Tenets of Colonial Whiteness.” Dr. A. Breeze Harper, University of California Davis. Conference Information, Registration Details, and Complete Speaker Abstracts: Contact Organizer Information: Dr. A. Breeze Harper 510-564-7870


Breeze Harper (a.k.a. Sistah Vegan) gives a very contemplative discourse on how and why whiteness and white privilege is antithetical to Buddhism. 

Growing up in the little American town of Lebanon, it was difficult for me to argue with peers and teachers about the importance of addressing racism and whiteness. Simultaneously, I felt isolated and frustrated by speciesism that was also accepted as the norm, and which surrounded me daily. Neither peers nor teachers understood why I refused to participate in dissection, and why I did not “appreciate” deer hunting (a huge “sport” in my town). After I told my fifth-grade teacher that I didn’t want to drop a live worm into alcohol to kill it, and then dissect it, he told me repeatedly that worms do not have central nervous systems; hence, they “do not feel pain.” Only through repeated stories, in my household, which exposed how our people were treated, did I become fully aware that pro-slavery whites deeply believed that Africans could not feel pain; that we were believed to be “just animals” who had no feelings, spirits, souls; we were just machines available to serve the purposes of white America. Perhaps my fifth-grade teacher did not know this.
There are many facets to critical animal studies and animal rights activism. It is important to note that, as an activist, I simply cannot ignore the very clear connections among racism, racialization, and whiteness on the one hand, and people’s treatment and attitudes toward nonhuman animals (regardless of whether they are vegan, supporters of “humane” meat and dairy, omnivorous, or “big game” hunters) on the other. For me, navigating a country in which speciesism, racism, and whiteness are an accepted reality, and to stay silent about these acts of indifference and overt cruelty, would precipitate miserable lives for all beings and would continue to create communication gaps and animosity among racial and ethnic communities with differing perspectives on the treatment of certain humans and nonhuman animals.
So, here I am, asking these questions. If you’re sincerely interested in ending racism, you must recognize racism’s roots in our relationships with, and constructions of, “the place of the animal.” And if you’re sincerely interested in ending nonhuman animal exploitation, you must educate yourself on the connections between the social constructions of whiteness, racialization, and racisms (as well as sexism, nationalisms, etc.) and animal abuse.
—  a breeze harper, “connections: Speciesism, Racism, and Whiteness as Norm” Published in Sister Species page 76

This video features both Breeze Harper and Angela Davis. SCORE! These ladies are so inspiring, their intelligence and eloquence is off the radar. Angela Davis recently spoke at a Social Justice Conference at UC Davis, which Harper attended and asked “about extending compassion beyond humans as part of social justice and making the Occupy movement successful.”

The intersections between race, class, sexuality, and gender are so important in relation to veganism, yet we don’t talk about it enough! If you haven’t yet read Breeze Harper’s work, get on that! She is just brilliant. I love her work, which deals with veganism and critical race theory. Did you see her speak at UC Berkeley in November? I did and I bought her book soon after. Don’t cry if you missed it, you can watch the video here.

Vegan diets can be risky for babies and kids? A response to Nina Planck's NYTimes Article

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The other week, Nina Planck published an article about the risks of raising vegan children and I thought I’d answer some of the statements she made. You can find the article here that I’m referring to: Is Veganism Good for Everyone? I wanted to just offer some of my own information, in response to Planck’s concerns of raising children on a vegan diet or being a vegan while pregnant.

First, Nina Planck wrote that vegans are deficient in many things which “include fully-formed vitamins A and D, vitamin B12, and the long-chain fatty acids found in fish.”

Breeze Harper’s response: Fish get DHA from ALGAE, and that is one way how vegans get their DHA.  Chia seeds outshine Wild Alaskan Salmon in terms of Omega 3 6 9. Vegans aren’t deficient in these things because of veganism being a deficient diet. It’s usually because people just don’t know they need to eat certain foods to get what they need. And let’s me honest here, there are plenty of omnivores who don’t know what they should be eating, while they are pregnant or not; whether they have children or not.

Planck wrote: “The quantity, quality and bio-availability of other nutrients, such as calcium and protein, are superior when consumed from animal rather than plant sources.” Breeze: No this is not true either, in terms of Calcium. There is an amazing algae based source of calcium that is vegan and has an incredibly high absorption rate called Algaecal. I took it during my entire vegan pregnancy and drank kale smoothies and ate a lot of chia seeds and nettles (both high in Calcium). I did this while pregnant and breastfed my 1st child (who was 2 at the time) until I was 33 weeks pregnant with my 2nd. Not only did I not have a calcium deficiency, I had so much calcium that my 2nd baby was born with teeth. My midwife and doula are witnesses, and they let me know that when babies are born with teeth this  indicates she had enough calcium. Protein? I got this from raw hemp, Organic Hawaiian spirulina, chia seeds, chlorella, avocado, seeds, nuts, legumes, to name a few. I easily ate 70g of protein per day while pregnant. Had a home birth . No complications. My placenta was well nourished. The midwifery team was blown away by how healthy it looked.

Planck: “For babies and children, whose nutritional needs are extraordinary, the risks are definite and scary. The breast milk of vegetarian and vegan mothers is dramatically lower in a critical brain fat, DHA, than the milk of an omnivorous mother and contains less usable vitamin B6. Carnitine, a vital amino acid found in meat and breast milk, is nicknamed “vitamin Bb” because babies need so much of it. Vegans, vegetarians and people with poor thyroid function are often deficient in carnitine and its precursors. ”

Breeze Harper: First, if you’re worried about getting B6, you can just take a vegan multi-vitamin during pregnancy and/or give your infant and toddler vegan supplements and vitamins. Want to not do vitamins? You can also get B6 from legumes, seeds, and nuts. Raw Pistachios and raw garlic are high in B6 (see: I made pistachio nut ice cream, lightly sweetened with dates. I threw pistachios, water, and dates in a blender and then put them in popsicle molds. Toddlers love ice cream or popsicle anything. Try it. For more information about B6 deficiency concerns, try going here: Jeff Novick  on B6.

Also, in terms of vegan nursing, there are plenty omnivorous people I have read about or met who had nutritionally deficient breastmilk as well and had to stop nursing and start using formula for their infants. However, my 8 month old Eva Luna is breastfed from my vegan diet and she has no  nutritional ‘deficiencies.’ She was born at 9.5lb, is in the 99th percentile for her age and appears to be healthy (she is the baby in the picture above).  Omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans can feed their children in a way that is balanced or not. It is not about veganism, vegetarianism, or being an omnivore  as much as it is just making sure your kid gets what they need. (And I know these factors are not just about vegan nutrition education, but factors such as environmental racism, socio-economic class struggle, your ability to get to healthier food- you could be prohibited, due to mobility issues because you lack transportation for example, or it’s actually not safe to walke around where you live during certain times of the day to find healthier foods. )

Planck: “The most risky period for vegan children is weaning. Growing babies who are leaving the breast need complete protein, omega-3 fats, iron, calcium and zinc. Compared with meat, fish, eggs and dairy, plants are inferior sources of every one.”

Breeze : There are many vegan sources of calcium and iron that are highly absorbable.  I used Nettles based Floradix iron for anemia prevention during my pregnancy. I took it in combination with World Organic chlorophyll and vitamin C source to mix (orange juice or a kiwi smoothie for example). Want a toddler to eat  EFAs like Omega 3 6 9? Blend chia seeds with water, liquid form of algae DHA, and a banana and dates in the blender and put it in a popsicle mold. Refreshing and not just high in critical long chain fatty acids,  you will be giving them and excellent source of calcium and Omega 3 6 9. Chia seeds are also high in iron and protein. A little goes a long way. Just be sure to soak chia seeds in water before eating, for at least 15 minutes or you’ll make yourself really sick. Still worried about a toddler not getting enough vegan based protein and Omega 3 6 9? Blend banana, hempseeds, and water together and put them in popsicle molds. If you made pops that have ¼ c of raw hulled hempseeds per pop, that is 11g of protein, lots of fiber, EFAs, and other trace minerals. ‎

Planck: “The breast milk of vegan mothers is dramatically lower in a critical brain fat, DHA, than the milk of an omnivorous mother.” Breeze: Eat algae based DHA and chia seeds and your breast milk won’t be deficient in critical DHA. I take 600 mg of DHA algae each day. If you combine that with Chia seeds and flax seeds, it’s awesome. There is also the brand Ovega which is vegan source of EPA and DHA vegan. B12 deficiency worries? Here is what Vegan Societyhas to say

In over 60 years of vegan experimentation only B12 fortified foods and B12 supplements have proven themselves as reliable sources of B12, capable of supporting optimal health. It is very important that all vegans ensure they have an adequate intake of B12, from fortified foods or supplements. This will benefit our health and help to attract others to veganism through our example. (source:

Seriously, just buy B12 supplements and take it and give it to your children; case closed. There are a plethora of vegan nutritional specialists who have published the ways in which you can get everything you need as a vegan. If you are pregnant and want to do a vegan pregnancy, believe me as someone who did a vegan pregnancy and had an amazing homebirth: it’s possible. Reed Mangels has a new vegan pregnancy books out The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book. Mangels is brilliant and lays it all out for you. It’s $11 well spent. And for a great informative and humorous approach get the Vegan Pregnancy Survival guide. Wanna raise your children vegan and help them be as healthy as possible? Read Disease proof your child  by Dr. Joel Furhman. A vegan diet is possible. You can thrive. Your children can thrive. Just inform yourself, find the support you need, and read read read.

Basically, if you are deficient in overall nutritional information for your diet, then your diet will be deficient. Veganism, planned properly, is not deficient.