Afro-Vegan Society: Making Plant-Based Living Accessible to Marginalized Communities
As part of Kinder Beauty’s continued work to support BIPOC individuals and communities, and in honor of Black History Month, we will be donating half of all profits from sales in the Kinder Beauty February Marketplace to three important change-making charities that serve BIPOC populations—Afro-Vegan Society, Black Girls CODE, and Loveland Foundation. Read on to learn more about Afro-Vegan Society and you will quickly understand why we chose them as one of the three beneficiaries of our February Marketplace.
Plant-based eating has been popular in cultures throughout the African diaspora for centuries, and many civil rights leaders have made the connection between systemic racial violence and of the abuses of animal agriculture. However, despite the strong historical connection between veganism and African American communities, today’s vegan outreach often neglects the latter. Afro-Vegan Society (AVS) was created to help individuals in those marginalized communities transition to a vegan lifestyle. Through classes and workshops, an abundance of fantastic vegan recipes, panel discussions, and more, AVS spotlights Black vegan influencers while offering support that speaks specifically to neglected populations.
Throughout February, AVS celebrates Black History Month, and the prominence of plant-based living in African-American communities, with Veguary. Veguary features a series of virtual events celebrating Black trailblazers, and asks non-vegans to take a pledge to commit to a plant-based lifestyle for the month of February. AVS will support all who make the commitment with lots of vegan recipes, online cooking demonstrations, panels, daily email updates, live Q&A sessions, prizes, and interactive check-ins via the Veguary Facebook group—all provided free of charge. Celebrated Black vegan speakers participating in Veguary include Olympian Seba Johnson, celebrated physician and What the Health star Dr. Milton Mills, and celebrity chef Rain Truth.
Kinder Beauty had the opportunity to catch up with AVS Executive Director, Brenda Sanders, about the change-making organization, and get the full scoop on Veguary.
KINDER BEAUTY: What was the inspiration for Afro-Vegan Society?
BRENDA SANDERS: Afro-Vegan Society was inspired by the need for a positive, supportive, culturally appropriate outreach aimed at helping people in marginalized communities to start making healthier, kinder, more sustainable choices.
KB: Why is it so important to support individuals who belong to marginalized communities in going vegan?
BS: People in marginalized communities often face a variety of barriers to making this kind of major life change, including access to fresh fruit and vegetables, and information about how to transition to vegan living.
KB: What is the Veguary pledge and why is it in February?
BS: The Veguary pledge is a 28-day vegan pledge program taking place during Black History Month, where Afro-Vegan Society will be offering daily programming as well as stories about black vegan trailblazers that will inspire our pledges to go vegan during February and beyond!
KB: How has Covid-19 impacted Afro-Vegan Society’s work?
BS: The restrictions on events and other gatherings has made it necessary for Afro-Vegan Society to move our programs onto our online platform. We were initially disappointed by this shift, but we've found that we've been able to reach so many more people since going virtual!
KB: What has Afro-Vegan Society accomplished so far, and what can we look forward to from the organization in the future?
BS: Since we started hosting virtual events in May 2020, the Afro-Vegan Society team has engaged with tens of thousands of people through our online classes, talks, workshops, panel discussions, cooking demos, and other events. We plan to continue to grow our platform in the coming year and inspire even more people from marginalized communities to make the choice to live vegan!
Afro-Vegan Society is extending a hand to those in marginalized communities who might not otherwise have access to the information and resources they need to make healthier and more compassionate lifestyle choices. In this way, the work of AVS is saving both human and animal lives.
To date, Kinder Beauty has donated nearly $35,000 to animal rights, human rights, environmental, and anti-racist organizations. In honor of Black History Month, we are so proud to support these three trail-blazing nonprofits—Afro-Vegan Society, Black Girls CODE, and Loveland Foundation—that are working in BIPOC communities to create long-lasting, positive change.
But we believe that every month should celebrate and amplify Black communities, and we are committed to do our part all-year long.
Maya Gottfried is the author of books for children and adults, including Our Farm: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary and Vegan Love: Dating and Partnering for the Cruelty-Free Gal.