Sunday, 15 September 2013

3 Questions for Sistah Vegan Conference speaker Pilar Harris

Today the Sistah Vegan project is bringing together black vegan women from all over the interweb to discuss race, gender, veganism, nutrition, yoga and more in the 1st annual Sistah Vegan Conference on 'Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies'. This ground breaking event has been months in the making and has a host of speakers sharing ideas within a vegan activist frame of mind. I caught up with blogger, Pilar Harris, of Pilar In Motion, to ask what she's looking forward to from the conference.

What inspired you to take part in the Sistah Vegan Conference? 

I was really just excited about the prospect of an open forum to critically discuss some of the things I have been experiencing since I became a vegetarian eight months ago. I find that in my family and even in my community, veganism is still considered sort of taboo. When I found out about the conference, I felt inspired to join in and see what other women of color are going through -- to see how the lifestyle impacts each of us in a way that is special and interesting.

You'll be speaking on notions of beauty, how does this topic connect to experiences for women of color?

When I think of beauty and all the issues that stem from it, I'm considering what it means to be a woman as well as all of the ideas, rituals, tools, and products that are a part of how we treat our bodies. For me, beauty is about being at home in the body. As women of color, it's important to be aware of how, historically, we have been cast outside the mainstream notion of what it is to be beautiful. In my discussion, I will cover some of the ways we are marginalized in terms of access to quality, cruelty-free, vegan body care products. I'm very excited to get into this topic because I think many of us take personal care for granted. I know I do!

There are lots of interesting topics being explored at the conference, along with your own, which speakers are you most looking forward to?

This is one of those days that I'm going to be glued to my laptop all day long. I am so looking forward to everything! Some highlights on the roster, for me, are Sari Leigh and Kayla Bitten's discussion of Yoga and Radical Self Care for young girls. One of my favorite vegans, Russell Simmons, has written about yoga as a tool to reduce the stresses that urban youth experience. The topic, in general, is one that I'd love to pass along, maybe in my own community.
I'm also looking forward to the open discussion titled "Why I Relinquished the Gospel Bird and Became Vegan." It's nice to hear about the paths women take toward this lifestyle.
If you're interested in the Sistah Vegan Conference, you can get copies of the recordings after the conference finishes. For more information visit

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