On July 13th, 2019 Anonymous for the Voiceless (AV) organized a Cube of Truth for 8 days straight, 12 hours per day, in the heart of NYC. This historical event took place at several different locations and on day 5, I was able to attend the cube that was organized at Astor Place.
What an amazing feeling to be part of an organization setting records with activism, pushing the limit and creating history. Animal liberation is inevitable; and AV is making sure they do whatever it takes to make that happen as soon as possible.
My top 3 highlights from this event were meeting the creators of AV who started the organization and meeting Hudson Tarlow, the badass 17 year old animal activist who dedicates his life to speak up for the animals. I never would of thought a year ago that I would have the privilege to witness Paul Bashir (co-founder/director of AV) outreach to someone while I was in the cube . I also got to witness Asal (Director of AV) outreach and I even captured a special moment with her. I was able to personally thank them both for all that they do and will be forever grateful for every single experience that took place that day.
One of my favorite things to do during a cube of truth is to witness the expressions on everyone’s faces. Whether they stay to witness or just long enough to see what we’re showing, their expressions say it all. I love capturing these moments on camera because they tell a more compelling story than just showing the footage on the screens. People have decided to ignore the suffering of farmed animals to ease their conscious on supporting it; so showing footage it not enough. We must normalize the stance against animal exploitation and show people that being vegan is the LEAST we can do. We must stand up and speak up for the victims until compassion for all beings become the new norm.
On June 15, 2019 at Copley Square in Boston Massachusetts, over 50 members of Anonymous for the Voiceless gathered together from all over New England for a unity cube of truth. A total of 205 seeds were planted (meaning, Anonymous for the Voiceless cards were handed to 205 bystanders who took interest into our message and seemed genuinely interested in learning more about veganism). Out of the 205 seeds, I planted 10 of them. This was by far, the most productive outreach I have been apart of and I left that night feeling so hopeful and inspired as an animal rights activist.
The more cubes I attend, the more I try and observe people’s body language. Especially those that choose to stay and watch the footage long enough to see what exactly they’re watching. These photos are some of my favorite from the Copley Square Cube because I felt they captured a powerful message behind the common body language I noticed. Most people are extremely uncomfortable with what they are witnessing and even more bothered to comprehend that they directly contribute to that amount of suffering on a daily basis. Notice the different forms of crossed arms with the bystanders. Crossed arms are a classic gesture of defensiveness. If eating animals was as normal as the industries make them out to be, seeing the process on how animals get turned into “food” shouldn’t make us this uncomfortable.
Next month I’ll be participating in the 168 hour, Week of Truth even in NYC where there will be cubes set up all over the Time Square area for 7 straight days. This cube event will most likely be one of the largest I’ll EVER attend, given that it will be hosted by the founders of Anonymous for the Voiceless themselves. I’ll be cubing with some of my favorite social media activists and true heroes behind the movement. This event will surely go down in history as one of the largest and longest demonstrations for the animal rights movement. That will be a recap worth reading, for sure.
WEAR IT– This one is probably the easiest since it is so diverse. From hats, tops, bottoms, accessories, you name it, you can cater to your preferences and wear your message. I currently am collecting t-shirts. Most are short and sweet (Plant Based, Vegan Vibes, etc.) and a couple are more direct and aggressive. My favorite shirt being designed by Leah Doellinger (favorite animal liberationist and creator of Meat the Victims). My more direct message shirts I wear at cubes and protests. My less direct ones I wear when I’m exercising; either at the gym or running outdoors.
2. SIDEWALK CHALK-TIVISIM– This is a great way to use your creative side to spread a positive vegan message. Do it in public areas like parks and bike paths; even if you do it during “off hours” to be more discrete.
3. STICKER ACTIVISM– This is another area you can get as creative as you’d like to and revolve the stickers around your budget. There are certain websites and Instagram pages (Activismstickers2 for example), that sell super cute ones and in a wide variety. Or if you’re strapped on cash, buy your own labels and a sharpie or two. Carry a few with you when you’re going out. Public bathrooms, bulletin boards and sign posts are great places to speak up for the animals. I mean, if we have to look at other people’s garbage/graffiti all over the walls, why not use the same platform to spread the love. I tagged up a few STOP signs in my day, and I don’t plan on stopping. ;o)
4. SHARE SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT– Whether it’s slaughterhouse or factory farm footage, protests, open rescues or farm sanctuary animals, share as much and as often as you can with your social media following. Our job as animal rights activist is to share their story and normalize veganism. Most people already agree with the vegan message of peace for all beings and are morally against animal cruelty. They have to constantly be reminded that they are indirectly funding animal abuse and that this shouldn’t be normalized any longer. Whether you share a plant based meal, rescue animal or graphic footage, the overall message needs to be spread as far and as wide as possible.
5. VOLUNTEER– This is extremely good for the soul. Especially if you tend to fall into the depression/helpless hole that most activists can relate to. I find visiting a local farm sanctuary helps me stay grounded for the animals. I’m fortunate enough to live next to a few and only a handful of hours away from Farm Sanctuary in NY (still on my bucket list to go visit!) Surround yourself with some happy ending stories of individuals who survived the agricultural industry.
Another option would be to join some veganism and/or activism Facebook or Meetup Groups to surround yourself with people who share the same message as you do. This is extremely important to do to remember that you are not alone in the animal rights fight. As often as you may feel alone and helpless as an activist, we have all been there and need to learn to lean on each other to keep fighting the good fight!
I first started attending Anonymous for the Voiceless, Cube of Truths a little over a year ago. My very first cube of truth was on Thayer Street in Providence, RI on a Friday the 13th (so fitting given how horrific the footage we share is). What’s even more horrific, is that this footage is reality and is happening everywhere, every second, of every day.
It was April 13, 2018 to be exact. I was so nervous and anxious on what to expect. I didn’t want to see nor hear the horrible footage on the screens. I didn’t know how bystanders would react when they saw our demonstration and I assumed the worst. I thought maybe someone walking by having a bad day would try and take out their frustration on us and knock over a laptop or taunt an AV member. Or maybe a young group of friends trying to empress each other would think it was cool to laugh at our message and harass us.
I’ve done about 10 cube of truths so far and I must say, it is the most fulfilling form of activism I’ve tried so far. It inspires me on a daily basis to continue spreading such an important message; animal liberation.
Here are a few pointers from a semi-regular AV attender. I’m sure once I get another years worth of cubes under my belt I’ll have even better tips, so stay tuned!
Start in the cube- one of the best ways to understand the process and purpose of this type of activism is to be part of the cube for your first few demonstrations. Listen to how the AV members on outreach converse with the bystanders. Observe the face and body expressions from both the people who stay and bare witness on the screens and those who choose to keep walking once they realize what they’re watching. It’s difficult to explain the sense of fulfillment you gain showing bystanders the truth and witnessing them bare witness for a change. Especially since most of the time, activists feel so helpless.
Watch Cube of Truth You Tube videos of other activists- There’s plenty to choose from and are super informative. It’s how I built the courage to outreach at cubes and try to plant as many seeds as possible. Some of my favorite you tube channels are Joey Carbstrong, James Aspey, That Vegan Couple, Earthling Ed, the list goes on but these are great to start with. Being informed is key to having the courage to converse with people. Knowing the common objections (aka excuses) against veganism will prepare you and keep you at a comfortable state while engaging with people.
Ask questions (and keep your cool) when outreaching- Always remember that your main purpose when on outreach is not to argue with people or try to convert them into vegans. Outreachers are there to tell the story of the animals, inform people on who we are as a group, what exactly the Cube of Truth demonstration is and most importantly ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS! We are not there to shame anyone; most people have no idea just how bad the animals we exploit really have it. Ask people if they ever seen footage like this before. Ask them how it makes them feel to see it. Ask them if they know how they can stop contributing to the abuse they are witnessing. Some people won’t make the connection right away and that is totally fine; many vegans (myself included) didn’t make the connection right away. Some will be curious and ready to at least hear the message and witness the atrocities on the screens. Inform those willing to listen, be a shoulder to cry on to those who will need it and don’t be judgmental. Also, don’t waste your time on people who are combative or immature. They are not worth the effort and we are not being active for them or us; we are there for the animals.
Take your role seriously- Whether you are part of the cube or on the outreach team, play the part. Cubers should stand in the cube and stay as still as possible while remaining silent when holding a TRUTH sign or Laptop/TV. Their job is to form a cube and show the public how serious our message for the animals is. The outreach team should only engage with those willing to watch and learn what the Cube of Truth is all about. The more professional AV members are, the more attention we’ll gain and most importantly, the more seeds we will plant towards veganism!
I had the pleasure of hearing Earthling Ed (Ed Winters) speak in person about my two favorite topics; Veganism and Animal Rights. I found out two days before he would be in town, that he was hosting a speech at Brown University and was touring the East Coast before returning back to the UK. He has been one of my biggest idols in the animal rights movement since I started my vegan activism journey. How on earth could I justify missing the legend himself, speak to students in my hometown?! I’m so very thankful I didn’t.
It was beyond surreal sitting just about 10 feet in front of Ed while he spoke such truth and logic. Especially since I’ve seen almost every You Tube upload he has ever created. It was also extremely satisfying to know that this was the first of many times I’ll run into Earthling Ed. I’ve only been an animal rights activist for just over a year so this is only the beginning for me. I didn’t have the chance to personally greet him, hug him, shake his hand or thank him for all the amazing work he is doing for the animals. Mother duties called and I had to leave right before he started his Q&A and meet & greet sessions. Next time I’m blessed with his presence, I’ll make sure to let him know just how much of an influence he has on my activism for animals. How this entire planet is beyond lucky to have him in the front lines of the vegan movement, for the sake of all Earthlings we share our home with.