Let Live 2010: creativity, passion, and so much love
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I’m back at home now after Let Live, an inspiring weekend of talks, conversation, and some really good food.
Let Live is an amazing animal rights conference. I love it because it focuses on the grassroots – people who are dedicating their spare time to making change for animals.
There are a lot of really great talks, and I was very impressed how the sessions were organized to provide ample opportunity for conversation and interaction. It felt less like there were experts and audience, and more like we were in a room full of activists, each with one with valuable perspectives and ideas.
One Sunday, I was part of 2 separate panels. I was on the first one, “Creative Outreach,” with Andrew Stepanian and Gary Lowenthal. Andrew is one of the SHAC-7 and is really smart and experienced. His latest project is Sparrow Media, created to provide publicity services to organizations and activists working for good causes. Gary Lowenthal is the mastermind behind the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale.
I felt a little outclassed by my far more experienced co-panelists, but the discussion was great, and I learned a lot from the audience and my fellow panelists.
Just a few of the ideas and resources we tossed around during the conversation (some are new, some are things people are already doing):
- When leafleting or tabling, have a big sign that says “free vegan information” or “free vegan recipes” or “Do you care about animals” as a way to attract attention
- give people incentives to take information (this is the basic idea behind Pay-per-view)
- Veg 101 classes (great idea from NorthwestVeg)
- Prepare a list of references and resources to have available to people (organized by topic)
- donate books and dvds to libraries
There were many more ideas shared. One of the points that was made was that creativity doesn’t need to mean brilliant and original ideas. Instead, creativity can be adapting existing ideas, modifying or adjusting to fit a new or novel situation.
Another point was to choose your tactics based on your audience and situation. And try to be smart about using resources efficiently. In other words, don’t spend a bunch of money on an ad that won’t be seen by the audience you hope to reach.
A little later in the day I was on another panel, “Making the most of your situation.” This time I shared the front of the room with lauren ornelas (Director of the Food Empowerment Project) and Christopher Greenslate (co-author of On a Dollar a Day). The panel was moderated by Jasmin Singer.
Once again, I learned a lot from the audience and my co-panelists. I can only hope that I’m able to have even a fraction of their insight at some point in my life. We each had a slightly difference perspective on how we’ve made the most of our situation in our activism.
I made a couple of points in my talk:
- We are almost always free to change or modify our situation. In other words, the situation in which we find ourselves does not have to stay that way.
- If you want people to do something, you have to become those people. By this I mean, there’s no point in saying “someone should do this” – instead, say “I will do this.”
- Don’t be afraid to learn how to do new things, if it helps to make you more effective and helps to get things done.
Christopher and lauren were both completely brilliant during this session. It was a humbling experience to sit next to them – humbling but also energizing.
I guess that was my theme for the whole weekend: being humbled and energized. I’ve seldom felt so much like we have a real chance at success. There are so many smart, talented, and dedicated people working for animals that it really feels like our victory is inevitable. Inevitable through our hard, hard work, but still inevitable.
Now I’m ready more so than ever to plan and act as strategically as I can to end the exploitation of animals. Events like Let Live serve to build connections, a network, a web of activists and organizations that WILL change the world.
Now we’ve just got to get to work and make it happen!