Saturday, September 21st will mark the 5th annual Chicago VeganMania – the midwest’s premier social justice conference centered on the personal choices all of us make every time we sit down to eat – and this year OutJustice will serve attendees with a heaping helping of actions each of us can take to help end bullying and hate crimes!
Last year VeganMania reached more than 4000 social justice activists (and curious visitors) during what was only its 4th year. This year? The festival is right on track to rack up record attendance again while opening the hearts and minds of thousands to the meaningful actions each of us can take to help end needless suffering – whether that is learning about our food choices or becoming an active member in OutJustice‘s groundbreaking advocacy efforts.
Founded by long-time peace and equality activists – and friends and supporters of OutJustice’s mission to advocate visibility and integrity for the LGBTQIA community in the face of injustice – Chicago VeganMania is a first-class educational conference as well as live music & entertainment festival celebrating businesses, organizations, musicians, authors, entertainers, and so forth – the movers & shakers that and who are actively pushing for and creating a more compassionate tomorrow within their daily business interactions, organizational work, and the powerful acts each individual takes. That could be ordering only ethically-responsible materials or the impactful action of speaking up and standing against injustice whenever and wherever we see it.
The festival’s vision is:
[T]o help create a world based on compassion, peace, and respect for all living things, where people live in radiant good health and have the full capacity to be active participants in all matters of government and commerce as well as their own livelihood, a world where everyone has a sincere appreciation for the interconnectedness of the entire web of life.
With the constant challenge facing OutJustice’s offices to appropriately handle, discuss, and assist victims of discrimination and violence based on being associated with the LGBTQIA community, OutJustice is regularly discussing the unavoidable interconnectedness of every type of person with those we serve and the communities around us.
The complexity of cross-sectionality in OutJustice’s work cannot be overlooked.
None of us is defined merely as lesbian, transgender, intersex, gay, or an ally – to name a few; rather, we are also of or a part in our ethnic identity, the language(s) that we speak, the profession in which we work, the markers and other identifiers assigned to us by “our” state (whether federal or state governments, local or foreign), our spiritual and/or religious belief(s) (or lack thereof), and even the dietary and/or other moral and/or ethical choices that we make every day. All of these pieces of us build us into the persons we are. They make you and me – YOU and ME.
And if you don’t see the connection between this event and OutJustice’s mission, or even if you do, let’s dig deeper:
It was January 2010. Three men gay bashed Daniel Hauff of Chicago after he stepped up to help their first victim, a young gay male who never came forward. Daniel would become our first client. OutJustice formed to support Daniel. Several years later Daniel stepped up to help our organization, becoming president of board.
That painful evening, the three gay bashers taunted Daniel about his sexuality and even brought up his ethical choice to eat without violence. They saw he identifies as vegan via a “Vegan” patch sown onto his winter coat that evening.
Within minutes the white area of that patch was stained with Daniel’s own blood.
The three men punched and kicked him violently over his sexuality. Photographs of the patch served as evidence to state authorities in the trial against the three men who were charged with aggravated battery with the felony hate crime attached. His ethical stance against the taunting and violence toward the gay bashers’ first victim and his ethical stance against unnecessary violence toward animals stood side by side that night.
Just because you might not see yourself as an animal advocate doesn’t mean you wouldn’t have stood up for Daniel that night. And just because the founders of this event do not identify as queer, that didn’t stop them from supporting OutJustice’s mission. To them, a fellow animal advocate and friend had been attacked. His sexuality didn’t matter to them any more at that moment than it had at any other time they’d known Daniel. That’s just one example.
We are all connected.
When we are discriminated against or become the victim of violence due to our “membership” in the Queer Community (LGBTQIA), those actions affect our loved ones, friends, colleagues, classmates, and neighbors. Our interconnectedness crosses into all other sectors of our lives.
At OutJustice we work with our clients to find resolution to pain, to regain our integrity, and to stand publicly with our clients, so that they may move forward stronger and helps us as a community to visibly push forward. Help us at OutJustice to Help Them.
Be sure to say hello to OutJustice’s representatives when you see our outreach booth. Offer to help out for a while! Or, be sure to fill out the Get Active form and return it to our representatives so that you can help out at future events and in our behind-the-scenes efforts!
Chicago VeganMania 2013 is a FREE event:
This Saturday, September 21st, at the Broadway Armory 2917 N. Broadway St, in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood. The event runs from 10am – 5pm.
[Special thanks to Marla, John, and the Chicago VeganMania crew for bringing OutJustice into your life-changing event. We truly appreciate your efforts, kindness, and the extent of your circle of compassion. Thank you!]