Jamila Anahata headshot

“If I can open my mind about veganism… I can do anything… it was so liberating” – Jamila Anahata from the Afro-Vegan Society – Sentientism Ep:83

Find our Sentientist Conversation on the Sentientism YouTube here or on the Sentientism podcast here.

Jamila (thesoulfulveganista.com & @Jamila_Anahata) is an activist, blogger & holistic lifestyle coach. She is Marketing Director of the Afro-Vegan Society. Sign up for their NAVCON2021 summit on Nov 13th – open to all!

In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?”

Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” In addition to the video above, the audio is on our Podcast here on Apple and all on the other platforms too.

We discuss:
00:00 Welcome

01:12 Jamila’s Intro – Soulful Veganista & the AfroVegan Society

  • Community, creativity, connection to resist oppression and help others
  • “All the isms & justices”. Veganism, racial justice / food justice / climate justice…
  • AVS: Veganism through a black lens

02:45 What’s Real?

  • Growing up in Maryland in the Southern US
  • Raised Southern Baptist Christian. Bible study, daily church, Sunday service
  • “I used to down religion… that industry”
  • The church as a powerful community for black southern people… “throwing our pain at the altar”
  • Experiencing deep racism… beyond bias
  • A hunger for something beyond the suffering of “this realm”
  • “I was always a gothy kid… a punk kid”
  • “3 seconds after I went vegan I decided I wasn’t going to be Christian any more”
  • “If I can open my mind about veganism… I can do anything… it was so liberating”
  • Leaving religion because of evidence, ethics or rebellion
  • “My dad is a natural activist… he reminds me of Malcolm X”
  • Learing the painful history of Christianity
  • Not wanting to support the religion or animal product industries
  • Empathy as a moral compass. I didn’t need religion for that
  • Keeping the compassion & community
  • Looking within for ethics
  • Spirituality. Connection & oneness
  • “There’s more to life than my own suffering or flourishing”
  • Languages, class, religions, castes, hierarchies, status & how they separate us
  • “I swiped away all the titles”
  • Eckhart Tolle
  • “I am not what they think I am… I am divinely guided”
  • “If we wiped away all the oppressive things from Christianity that’s what we’d be left with”
  • “I feel like I receive intuitive messages from my spiritual team”
  • Scepticism & believing in science… but that can’t be all there is
  • Other planes or dimensions
  • “I was that faith based person where science was the enemy”
  • “This pandemic helped me… I learned that medicine is OK…”
  • Believing in ‘what is’ doesn’t make me a less of a spiritual person
  • Naturalism on this plane, spiritualism for the others?
  • Turning to conspiracy theories… Suffering oppression – class, status, race… Losing trust in institutions
  • Going down a dark path looking for an answer you’ll never have. Often has a religious focus or flavour
  • “What can I do in my community now?” because “What can god really do?”
  • “We want to find meaning”… humans struggling with death
  • Looking for answers within, not outside
  • Human paranoia & exceptionalism driving anthropocentrism

39:00 What (& Who) Matters?

  • Performative activism. Talking about change but not acting it
  • Being an “old soul” as a child
  • Queer, trans, gender non-conformance & conservative Christian values
  • “Being a little black girl in the US is not easy”
  • “People really are just people” despite status, class, poverty, titles
  • So many people “have no choice but to just survive”
  • A universal compassion for all humans
  • Veganism for health/food justice/black community at first… then researching
  • “What we do to non-human animals is awful”… “I didn’t even really need to see Earthlings”
  • Empathy instead of desensitisation
  • Total Liberation – “no oppression for anybody – no hierarchies” no needless suffering so people can remain wealthy
  • “Empathy is something people need to practice”
  • “Not everyone experiences empathy in the same way… it still sucks though”
  • “I’m just here to offer you the information – when you’re ready – here it is”
  • I’m not here to convince you that being black is draining… what it’s like to be raised without your financial needs being met…
  • “A lot of people just don’t care”… I can’t make them

55:35 Making A Better Future

  • AVS: Giving people the facts. Then making activism actionable & entertaining & uplifting
  • Address serious issues without depressing people
  • We’re individuals but we’re shaped by systems/norms
  • Be kind… “I want you to come to this conclusion on your own”
  • Living on the social media front line “people hate vegans!… Y’all are annoying”
  • Living to 120!
  • “Be passionate!”

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at Sentientism.info.

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Thanks Graham for the post-production.

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