Thanks to all who entered my latest giveaway for two pints of ice cream and an ice cream sandwich from the socially responsible, vegan company Three Little Birds! Congrats to the winner: Katherine Earnshaw.
Unfortunately, due to the class readings calling my name and the Vegucated screening I’m hosting on campus tonight with the Vassar Animal Rights Coalition (VARC) (complete with a vegan ice cream sundae bar), I’ll need to keep this post a bit abbreviated. However, as yesterday marked the beginning of my twentieth year on this earth, I would like to take this opportunity to briefly reflect upon where I’ve found myself after two decades of living and learning, particularly over the past year.
Since September 14, 2013, I’ve successfully completed my second year as a Geography major at Vassar College. I’ve led VARC through a year of campus animal rights activism, helping to grow our humble organization such that we now enjoy a team of seven executive board members. I’ve increased my blog readership substantially and developed a concrete idea of what exactly I want to accomplish with my small space of the interwebs. I’ve returned to a place near to my heart – Florence, Italy – for the first time in three years. I’ve interned with the multimedia hub of animal activism known as Our Hen House (and now officially work for them as their Media Coordinator), falling head over heels in love with Brooklyn in the process. I’ve fostered a number of fulfilling relationships with some truly wondrous individuals who have taught me important lessons about the world, being a decent human being, and myself.
Most notably, in my opinion, I’ve gained some clarity as to where I want to focus my activist energies. After becoming increasingly disillusioned with the animal rights movement thanks to fellow activists and a growing consciousness regarding the multiplicity of human oppressions in our world that much of AR perpetuates, I took the summer to immerse myself in progressive media and literature on movement organizing, critical race theory, feminism, and social critique in general. I sought to develop a fuller understanding of what I feel called to offer to the world at this point in my life, and think that I’m now well on the path toward that understanding.
Staunchly committed to animal liberation, I want to continue my activism in that struggle (always grappling with the social privilege that allows me to do this work rather than having to fight for respect and well-being based upon my very identity). But just as I see the urgency in shifting societal paradigms in regards to our conceptions and consequent treatment of non-human animals, I see another urgency in ensuring that the AR movement does not uphold forms of human oppression in the process. Collective liberation involves all marginalized groups – whether human or non – and forgetting about or co-opting one of these groups in the name of furthering any particular struggle maintains the very social ills we strive to combat. Working as a critical voice within AR feels right, accessible, and valuable to me right now, and I what I’m calling my “Big Ol’ Project” has begun to formulate in my activist psyche. It’s this project (sorry I can’t say more on it yet!) that I hope will serve as a driving force through to next September 14 and beyond.
Speaking of driving life forces, I’ve taken one recipe with me throughout high school and into college, from Madison to Poughkeepsie to Washington D.C. to Brooklyn, treasuring it on a near daily basis through all of life’s travails. I published the original iteration of the Liquid Gold Dressing I adapted from Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina’s Becoming Vegan over three years ago now, and have tweaked it to suit my needs and taste preferences many a time since. The recipe below constitutes the version of LGD I’ve been loving most recently, and its improvement in depth of flavor hasn’t at all subtracted from the substantial nourishment it has dependably provided over the years (can you say over the recommended daily supply of omega-3 fatty acids and 40 percent of the RDA of Vitamin B12 in just two tablespoons of the stuff?). Here’s to another year of this life-defining salad dressing.
Liquid Gold Dressing 2.0
Makes 2 cups.
3/4 cup flax oil
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 cup water
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
6 tbsp tamari
6 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
Combine all ingredients in a large jar. Shake well before using.
In solidarity, Ali.