VegFund was delighted to be a sponsor of this year’s Animal Rights National Conference 2018, in Los Angeles, June 28 to July 1. The event, organized and hosted by FARM USA, was a great success, attracting more than 1,700 attendees from 46 states across the United States and 17 other countries. Animal advocates gathered — with great passion and energy — to share, discuss, strategize, and network. It’s an exciting time for this global movement! We loved speaking with current and potential grantees and look forward to supporting their vegan advocacy efforts.
We’d like to share with you some of our top moments from this year’s gathering…
- Vegfest Organizers Meetup: The vegfest organizers meetup has become a staple of the AR Conference in recent years, co-hosted by VegFund and Compassion Over Killing, host of the DC VegFest. This year, we were excited to build on past years’ discussions and showcase our new Vegfest Organizers Network and VegFund website.
- Brenda Sanders (pictured left, below), ten-time VegFund grantee and founder of the Afro-Vegan Society and Vegan SoulFest, received the Henry Spira Grassroots Animal Activist Award for her work with low-income minority populations. We’d like to extend a huge congratulations to Brenda for receiving this recognition for her important work.
- VegFund’s digital marketing specialist, Fabiola Martinez, attended the Latinx Meetup and networked with a wide circle of passionate advocates from different countries, including Colombia, Mexico, Republica Dominicana, Venezuela, Brazil, the United States, and others. The majority of meetup attendees — about 35 in all — work full time in the movement with organizations such as Animal Equality, Vegan Outreach, Compassion Over Killing, and VegFund — to name just a few. Others promote veganism as individuals or within grassroots organizations in their own time.
- It was inspiring to meet Damien Mander (founder of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation), who is uniting conservation with compassion through the Akashinga (“the brave ones”) initiative — an all-female and vegan anti-poaching unit in Zimbabwe, Africa. VegFund is pleased to be providing funding to assist with the costs of food for their plant-based meals! Read more about this initiative.
- Genesis Butler of A Vegan Child’s Journey was awarded The Lisa Shapiro Young Animal Activist Award. Genesis is a committed young activist, just 10 years old, who started her vegan journey at the age of 4. She is already encouraging her peers to join her, and she charmed the crowd with her compassionate message. No doubt we’ll be hearing much more from this inspiring young woman!
- Food Empowerment Project founder, Lauren Ornelas (pictured second from left, below), another dedicated VegFund grantee, received recognition for her decades of commitment to the movement and social justice issues, becoming the first woman of color to be inducted into the Animal Rights Hall of Fame.
“Although the animals themselves are truly the ones who deserve to be acknowledged, I am honored. As a teen activist just getting started, I was nourished and encouraged by other grassroots activists, and I am forever grateful. I encourage all activists to be true to themselves to make sure what they are doing for non-human animals aligns with their own passions, as we need a diversity of voices and experiences to achieve liberation for all.”
—Lauren Ornelas, Food Empowerment Project
- We loved sharing our booth with Allison Argo. Allison is a tremendously talented filmmaker. Check out her latest film, The Last Pig, and consider hosting a screening in your community with VegFund’s support.
- And, of course, we took the opportunity for a selfie with plant-based athlete, John Salley! (yes, this photograph is to scale…)
This year’s conference was filled with landmarks in progress for the movement. We look forward to what next year brings.
Image credit: FARM USA – Animal Rights National Conference 2018. Pictured left to right: Daniella Monet, Ellen Ericksen, Erica Meier, Lauren Ornelas, Brenda Sanders, Genesis Butler, Dawn L. Moncrief
VegFund seeks to build on our support of our strong base of animal advocates and strives to expand our footprint into the realms of veganism in its critical importance to human health and to the health of our environment. This year’s conference has provided us with some great opportunities to set this in motion.
Missed us at the conference? Find us online and check out our grant programs and apply for funding. We’re on hand to answer any questions you might have along the way.
Feature image credit: Animal Rights National Conference 2018 – FARM USA