Stealth activism. Don’t worry; it’s nothing illegal or scary. It’s just planting little gems, sometimes in unexpected places, with the hope that they help someone find their way down the path of compassion.
You never know when a strategically placed leaflet, sticker, recipe or a kind word online will be just the thing to inspire someone to learn more about the wonderful world of veganism. And when a person discovers something on their own, the “It was Meant to Be!” Factor comes into play; that can be more effective than hearing about the issues from a friend or relative.
It’s as easy as:
- Placing literature from the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine in the waiting room of a doctor’s office or hospital lobby.
- Putting cute stickers on your outgoing mail.
- Placing those same stickers on the phone poles, parking sign poles, any old poles you can find – the day before a parade!
- Donating a subscription to VegNews to your local public library or high school.
- Donating a copy of the book Beg by Rory Freedman for your local shelter’s silent auction fundraiser.
- Placing a Vegan Outreach flyer in the seat pocket in front of you every time you fly. Correction: not just in the pocket; put it inside the airline magazine – tuck it in the crossword page where you know it will be discovered.
- And along those lines, stick a “What Would Jesus Eat?” booklet from the Christian Vegetarian Association inside the Gideon Bible when you stay in a motel.
For me, the idea of “Stealth Activism” started with a slightly mischievous idea. A huge national pink-ribboned, money-raising race to supposedly find a cure for cancer, (yeah, you know the one), was being sponsored by Dannon Yogurt and KFC. Having read The China Study and seeing Forks Over Knives more than once, it was clear that something was wrong with that picture. We decided something must be done to truly help those people. So my buddy (and fellow MSVA graduate!) Melisa Synness and I ordered 500 copies of PCRM’s “Food Choices for Cancer Prevention and Survival” booklets. To blend in, we put on running shoes and bright pink tee-shirts (Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s message-wear!), and headed down to the state capital. After the last race started, we positioned ourselves near the finish line.
I want you to know that we handed out every single one of those booklets in less than an hour!
And we could have handed out 500 more. Everyone wanted one. People were thrilled we were there (of course we looked like we belonged there) and it was such a delight to share this important information with people who needed it the most. In fact, that little bit of Stealth Activism was so successful we actually got a legitimate booth at the same event the following year.
Tip: PCRM materials are pricey. Veg Fund can provide grants to help pay for literature and food samples for events like this.
It’s often been said the best way to spread the vegan love is with DELICIOUS FOOD! That’s why we always offer a beautiful display of treats and appetizers at our gallery during the Livingston Art Walks. Along with the goodies, there’s a stack of free recipes, and a copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, for folks to check out.
In their podcast, Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan of Our Hen House recently mentioned Gary Lowenthal’s fabulous activism. Not only did Gary create The World Wide Vegan Bake Sale, he also is a great stealth activist: he visits popular non-vegan cooking websites and leaves positive comments on favorite recipes. Then he shares how easy it is to “veganize” that dish.
So those are a few Stealth Activism ideas.
And now I must re-stock my purse with leaflets, for I’m off to Comic Con, with my best friend since 7th grade Tracy Martin, a vegan advocate, animal rescuer, and founder of Rabbitron, a terrific bunny education resource. We have decided to celebrate turning 50 in a big way: we are going to meet William Shatner, and actually pay money to have our photo taken with him. Needless to say, I’ll be wearing a tee-shirt with a message, most likely from Herbivore Clothing. After all, Vulcans are Vegan, and that will be Stealth Activism, Warp Factor FUN!
Bonnie Goodman is a glass beadmaker and founder of Live and Let Livingston in Montana. She shares her studio/gallery Mordam Art with husband Parke, a dog, eleven cats, and a parrot that meows. She wants to hear your Stealth Activism ideas in the comments!