Renee's Vegan Transformation

I am grateful to have found veganism and the animal rights movement. It has changed me at my core. It has made me question so much about myself and come to some very different conclusions about how I see the world and live my life. Veganism opened my eyes and caused me to widen my circle of compassion to include all animals—human and nonhuman. I want to fight for justice for animals of all species and people of all races, genders, and sexual orientations.

The animal rights movement is rooted in reaching out to people and changing their hearts and minds about the way we treat animals. As activists, we learn that we can be most effective by meeting people where they are and helping them understand that compassion and justice should be extended to all sentient creatures. And I am one of those people. The message of compassion reached me and I am forever changed.

I didn’t always see the world the way I do now. Back in 2012 and before, I used to have very different views and beliefs, not just about the animals most people see as commodities and as food, but about other people, too. My political views used to be very different than they are today. I used to have very different views about LGBTQ issues than I do today. My former views were rooted in the biased and hateful traditions that surrounded me as I grew up and I regret having been influenced by them. I used to eat innocent animals. Now I do not. I used to fear innocent people. Now I do not.

Today I stand here in absolute solidarity and affirmation of people of every race, gender, and sexual orientation. Today I stand for justice and fairness for all oppressed people including those in the LGBTQ community and believe that love is love, pure and simple. I fight for justice for all.

Isn’t it wonderful that we can be moved by life experiences to change our hearts? The capacity within each one of us to become more compassionate and justice-driven is the very hope of the animal rights movement. Without this hope, our movement is nothing. With this hope and with the action it brings, we are changing the world to be more just and compassionate.

I am the change I want to see in the world. I am choosing love, each and every day. Love continues to transform me to help me do our work—and there is much work to do for our fellow humans and nonhumans. I hope you will join me in putting that love into action and not let the demons of our past sabotage the deeds we do today.