Yesterday, November 17th, a friend as well as a former employee called from across the continent. We talked for quite a while. During the conversation, he mentioned that he believed that I hadn’t been happy with him when he last lived and worked here because he wasn’t vegan. He told me that it takes some time to “digest” the information regarding the health effects of a vegan diet vis-à-vis the animal based American diet. He said that I had time to understand all of this but he hadn’t had enough time.
He was wrong. First, I wasn’t disappointed that he had not become vegan. I knew that he didn’t understand. Second I hadn’t become vegan for physical health at all.
I told him that it was a simple change: Twenty-four years ago, I injured myself and couldn’t work for a couple of weeks and something – maybe a show on TV or a book – caused me to realize I could not kill an animal for food, yet I ate meat. “Aha,” I suddenly knew that I was a hypocrite: Essentially I “asked” others to kill for me. This realization meant I was vegetarian and done with meat. I told him, that I grabbed this opportunity to reduce my hypocritical burden.
While we talked a 15 year old Bronx Latin student was shot in the back of the head down the street from the school. Our daughter, Kate, called to tell us, crying. The girl who was shot, Vada Vasquez was Kate’s student when Kate was with Teach for America. A vibrant, talented musician and student, Vada is presently in an induced coma and not breathing on her own.
Vada Vasquez was shot by a 16 year-old boy when he fired a salvo of bullets at a 19 year old. Up to that time he had a “clean” record. His cohorts did not.
Of course, we didn’t know this when we talked. But Vada’s shooting reminded me how much we need to reduce violence in our lives – from the violence on the streets erupting from poverty to the violence which brings food to our table. We need to do this with love – as nurturers, helping to nurture one another, the animals who are in this world with us and the very planet itself.
I am unable to finish this post on an upbeat note. For too long we have tolerated violence. Perhaps our unwillingness to confront violence and the problems which underlie it comes from our failure to acknowledge the violence that feeds us – our treatment of all but a few dogs, cats and horses. Where is our outrage?! We have become inured to it and that is wrong.
This article was written by stanford