Empowering the Individual: Personal, Stealth, and Online Advocacy
by Adam Little
Hello there ARRNT and fellow supporters! I’d like to take a moment and speak with you about what you can do, as individuals, to benefit other animals today! Activist groups should be encouraged because of the camraderie and cooperation they bring, but it is, of course, always still important to realize the power of one! Similar to groups, individual advocates are capable of educating others at local, national, and international levels.
Recognizing Advocacy Opportunities
When speaking with friends, famliy, co-workers, acquaintances, etc. there are no doubt times when the subject of “veganism” or “animal rights” will come up. This is the perfect time to educate others. Generally, I believe it is best that we not “preach” the message and instead let the person or persons your talking with “steer” the conservation so as to make them feel comfortable and become overall more receptive to our message. Of course, when asked straight out “why are you vegan” or “why you support x” I believe it is beneficial to remain truthful, which your audience will be appreciate, even if they do have an aversion to certain topics such as the “ethical argument” of veganism.
Outreach to Strangers
They don’t have to be people you know either! Go out and buy some leaflets and other reading material, and hit the streets! Generally, it is best to find outlets that are closer to what we believe in such as natural food stores or farmer’s markets. Always be careful though, and be sure to leave when an employee or manager asks you to leave. You getting arrested in this instance will not help other animals in any way.
Personal discussions are great, but what about that great mass of people we may never reach? How can we possibly, as individuals, sway that average and anonymous Joe or Jane on the street? There are certainly a lot of ways to approach this, but the one I find to be the most effective is “stealth” advocacy. Stealth advocacy can mean many things, but mostly it entails grabbing a leaflet or poster and slipping them into places where people may find them. You can do this at work (although be discreet), your local library, city hall, dentist, restaurant, etc. This is a great way to reach a great sum of people in a short amount of time. It is also fantastic for those “shy” activists among us!
Finally, I’d like to talk about what I believe is the most important tool for individual advocates. The internet! The internet is a great resource and outlet for reaching a large number of people at a national and international level. And cheaply too! Facebook, twitter, and online public forums in particular are your best friends when attempting this endeavor. They make it easy and appropriate to bring up topics on social justice and promptly debate them. You might be interested in Dr. Roger Yate’s view on this matter!
Remember: Be respectful, coherent and, in some situations (depending on your audience), simplistic and to the point. For the sake of your mental health, you may want to adopt the “post and flee” approach in which you merely supply some information, move on, and let onlookers judge for themselves. Some of these people are simply relentless and going point by point with them doesn’t always help.
What Works for You?
As always, we appreciate those of you who deeply care about these issues, and seek to extend the moral paradigm past the limited scope of “humanity.” As individual advocates, I truly believe you make up some of the greatest people on this planet. Thanks for reading. Comments and discussion are always appreciated!