Once in a while, I come across a vegan-authored book that seems especially relevant to the times in which we live. Such is Carol J. Adams’ and Virginia Messina’s Protest Kitchen.
Why did I find its message to all protestors fighting for justice and equality so powerful?
Because two weeks ago, when violent protests broke out after the senseless murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, we were forced to close both of our Fruitive restaurants in Washington DC.
We had some personal property destroyed and our restaurants’ windows graffitied. To protect the windows from being smashed and our merchandise stolen, we boarded up the storefronts.
Then we went home to prepare to protest. First, we had a long discussion with our kids. We’ve had many conversations before about race and inequality, but they asked good questions about current affairs.
For the next couple of days, we were part of the protest in front of the White House. As a family of seven, we naturally stood out in the crowd. One black father approached us with his two children and asked to take a picture of my kids holding the signs they’d made themselves.
Other people asked if we weren’t concerned about our children’s safety.
I was not only unconcerned! As someone who discusses with my children and blogs every day about promoting healthy bodies, a healthier planet and animal welfare, I would have found inactivity unacceptable. I couldn’t write what I do without also standing with my marginalized brothers, employees, customers, neighbors and friends when they cry out for justice.
Protest Kitchen mirrors my own very strong feelings on resisting oppression. Further, the authors reveal the unique activist opportunity that comes with every meal:
“Veganism is an act of resistance as well as a resource for hope and healing. This is resistance that starts in your kitchen, making it the ultimate in local activism.”
Protestors focused on human rights often ask them, “Why do you care so much about animal suffering when so many people suffer?”
Of the eight reasons they list in response, these two resonate most with me:
“Compassion isn’t divisible. It’s not either/or.”
“Some people have excellent skills in helping people; others in caring for animals. We don’t ask vets why they aren’t brain surgeons. We accept that care for animals is needed.”
In addition to being an activist guidebook, Protest Kitchen includes over 50 plant-based recipes.
And my kids?
They’ve thanked me many times that we as a family could express solidarity with DC’s black community — while also expressing compassion in our daily lives with every healthy vegan meal we share.