The speakers were a dynamic group of black movers and shakers in the black vegan and food justice movement, and included Chef Bryant Terry (Oakland resident, vegan cookbook author and leading voice in the black food activist), Kevin Tillman (Oakland resident and hip hop vegan activist). Finally got to meet Kevin in person after interacting on Facebook for over a year, so that was nice.
Shakirah Simley (Community Programs Manager at BiRite Foods in San Francisco), A. Breeze Harper of The Sistah Vegan Project, and Kalimah Preforce of Qeyno Labs (an organization which focuses on access to STEM education for minority youths and setting up Hackathons which gather together technologists (coders), artists (designers), and problem solvers (innovators) to brainstorm, design and build a web or mobile app that can change the world, create a business, or both!) were also on deck. I tell you this was the most inspiring event!
So glad I went.
Bryant, Shakirah and Kalimah gave a keynote panel presentation that was beyond awesome, addressing the politics of BLACK LIVES MATTER in every respect, including nourishment through and access to wholesome food, and the marginalization of minority vegans in a culture where veganism is viewed as the sole and exclusive domain of whites. I’ve included some video clips from the presentation below.
The laughs were long and hard when Nikki Thomas from KBLX got up and did the entire zombie dance routine from Thriller. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time, but sistah girl had all the steps DOWN and even did the Michael Jackson knee raised foot flick thing. LOL! Nikki brought down the house with a standing ovation.
The Bay Area Black Nurses Association was on hand to test blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol to help keep folks on track with dietary changes. Many black men are guilty of not getting wellness checkups at all, ever, so the likelihood of them in particular being aware of their declining health is high.
I also heard part of an inspiring lecture on vegan fitness and muscle development for men by vegan fitness trainer Gary Whitaker of PB Fitness. A. Breeze Harper gave a presentation as well on The Sistah Vegan Project, but I had to leave before she came on, so I missed it. I wish she’d been on earlier because I really wanted to hear what that sharp and informed sistah had to say.
There were local vendors of vegan food products – both commercial ventures and small shops. I ate my way around the room with a big ole grin.
Lots of prepared food to both snack on and purchase. The okra crisps supplied by The Mandela Food Co-Op were fabulous. So was the sample of okra and tomatoes I got from Patricia Sandoval, owner of P.S. Scrumptious! Catering.
The organic Mamma Chia squeeze packets were so good! I would never have thought to put chia seeds in a commercial energy vitality type of drink, but chia seeds are extremely nutrient dense and are something I eat often in smoothies, for breakfast, and in baked goods. I picked up a couple of those so I could share one with my daughter.
Theresa Perez of Lovecrafted Vegan Baking served up some Puerto Rican bread pudding was crazy delicious. I moved from her table over to the Hodo soy table and snacked on tofu burger and yuba noodles. I ate three samples of the Hodo Sesame Yuba Noodles and Raw Kale Salad, then bought some to bring home so I could make and eat more of it this week.
Also picked up a calendar of events for Oakland Veg Week and I tell you, Oakland has it going on! I’ll be busy this week attending cooking demonstrations, movie screenings, a pub crawl, and hopefully the hip hop green movement dinner on Friday evening.
Check out the calendar for yourself at www.OaklandVeg.com – maybe I’ll see you next Saturday at the Oakland VegFest.
Category: Veganism and African Americans