By OMALOWALE ADEWALE (Black VegFest)
Black VegFest, produced by Grassroots Artists MovEment (G.A.ME) in association with Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams at the historic Weeksville Heritage Center, announces New York City’s first and only outdoor two-day vegan festival on August 10-August 11, 2019, 10am-6pm. Black VegFest embraces love, fun, health and wellness and justice.
Last year on August 11, Black VegFest attracted over 2000 people in the midst of the rainiest day of 2018. Some of the Black community were motivated exclusively by healthier eating, but many loved the interest of the vegfest trifecta which included planet sustainability, healthy eating and animal welfare. In order to understand why many in the Black community were happy to attend, you may have to understand Rastafarian culture and history.
Rastafarians were the first group of individuals rejecting the consumption of animals. More than 30 years ago at the International African Arts Festival in Brooklyn, families would prepare Ital stew listening to the practices of Rastafarians who wore powerfully attractive locks of hair (locs). They held informal workshops on their beliefs about abstaining from dead animals and eating of the earth. Years later, many of the Black community had begun turning to Earth’s Food, the colorful plant nutrition.
Rastafarian culture is Black culture. Rastafarianism stems from a combination of Jamaican-born Marcus Garvey’s message of freedom for all Africans throughout the Diaspora and Ras Tafari’s political and leadership philosophy in 1930s. Rastafarians, or Rastas, interpreted Tafari’s message as an extension of Garvey’s which simply translates to treating your fellow living-being as you would want to be treated.
Fur ban legislation Intro 1476 comes at a time when NYC and then NYS prohibits the discrimination of Black hair. Interestingly enough, Rastas wear locs, they promote peace and they don’t eat animals or wear animal fur. Rastas have been teaching social justice throughout our city for decades. The killing of animals to use their fur is wrong and not a staple of Black culture in any way, shape or form. Whether we electrocute them by sticking a baton in their rectum, club them incessantly over the head, or trap and mutilate their limbs and paws with crushing Conibear traps, it’s not the justice we’re used to championing.
Revisit your history through the experience of Black VegFest and enjoy eating and feeling better. Whether you look forward to sitting in the grass eating scrumptious vegan food from the dozens of vendors selling ice cream, cake and mac and cheese;catching over 30 exhibits, performances and workshops on chess, growing food, dance and mental health and more, or celebrating youth on the block playing 20 giant board games, double Dutch jumping rope, VR and video games, the festival welcomes all.
For tickets, visit www.BlackVegFest.org