ABOUT BLACK VEGANS ROCK

Black Vegans Rock was founded by Aph Ko after she wrote the first list that spotlighted 100 Black Vegans for Striving with Systems. She decided to research and compile a list of influential Black vegans who were doing incredible work to dismantle the stereotype that veganism was a “white person’s” thing. 

After releasing the list, she received emails from Black vegans all over the world who wanted to be featured on the list as well. Some people told her that they had a vegan organization and they wanted to get it in front of other Black vegans. Since Aph didn’t want to add on to the 100 Black Vegans list, she decided to create a platform devoted to spotlighting incredible Black vegans every day.

Aph received grants from A Well-Fed World as well as The Pollination Project to help get the project off the ground.

The website and artwork is created by EastRand Studios

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FOUNDER:

Aph Ko 

Aph Ko is a feminist activist and writer. She is the founder of Black Vegans Rock as well as the founder of Aphro-ism, a website that provides critical analysis through a black vegan feminist framework. Aph is also a contributor to Striving with Systems. She has a B.A. in Women's and Gender Studies, and an M.A. in Communication and Cultural/Media Studies. Aph is a feminist as well as an indie digital media produer. She's the creator of the comedy web-series Black Feminist Blogger, and currently works on the editorial board for the F Bomb, a branch of the Women's Media Center. In 2014, she was named one of the top ten indie creatives by Indiewire

Aph was awarded the 2015 Anti-Racist Vegan Change-Maker of the Year award from the Pollination Project and the Sistah Vegan Project. In June 2015, she became the first person to ever write an article listing 100 Black Vegans

Aph's work has been discussed on multiple platforms like Slate, Ebony, The Daily Beast, Mic, Black Girl Nerds, AFROPUNK, The Vegan Society, Yahoo, Huffington Post, and Media Diversified.


BLACK VEGANS ROCK ADVISORY BOARD:

The advisory board is composed of influential Black vegan scholars, entrepreneurs, and activists.  Black veganism is a very diverse space, and the advisory board reflects this diversity:

 

Tracye McQuirter, MPH

A vegan trailblazer, public health nutritionist, author, international lecturer, and 30-year vegan, Tracye McQuirter, MPH, has been teaching people how to become healthy vegans for more than 25 years. She was named a national food hero changing the way America eats for the better by Vegetarian Times and her national best-seller, By Any Greens Necessary, was the number one recommended vegan book on The Huffington Post.

Tracye co-founded the first vegan website by and for African Americans nearly 20 years ago with her sister, Marya McQuirter, PhD, and has been credited in part with increasing the number of African American vegans and vegetarians to more than 3 million people. 

Tracye's been featured in more than 100 media outlets, including CBS News, Fox News, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, NPR, Ebony, Essence, and VegNews. She was also featured on the cover of Barefoot Vegan magazine.

She has a master’s degree in public health nutrition from New York University and a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College. Tracye served as program director of the nation’s first federally funded vegan nutrition program, the Vegetarian Society of DC Eat Smart Program. She also served as a policy advisor for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, helping to create the strategy for a groundbreaking lawsuit proving food industry bias in the formation of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

As a national authority on preventing and reversing chronic diseases in African American women using plant-based nutrition, Tracye served as nutrition advisor for the Black Women’s Health Imperative, the largest health advocacy organization for black women.

As an adjunct professor at the University of the District of Columbia, Tracye designed and taught a plant-based nutrition curriculum for the District of Columbia Public Schools System to help prevent and reverse childhood obesity in Washington, DC, in partnership with the USDA and First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move Campaign.

Tracye is an advisory board member of the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, the PlantPure Nation Foundation, Black Vegans Rock, and Hip Hop is Green, and is a co-founder of We Feed Our People and the Black Vegetarian Society of New York. Learn more about Tracye at byanygreensnecessary.com


Dr. Amie Breeze Harper

Amie Breeze Harper, PhD, the creator of The Sistah Vegan Project and the editor of the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society, is a sought-after speaker, writer, researcher and consultant at Critical Diversity Solutions. Her most recently published book Scars: A Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of protagonist 18 year old Savannah Sales, the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. In 2016, her latest book will be published, titled Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist's Journey Through 'Post-Racial' USA's Ethical Foodscape.

Overall, Dr. Harper's work focuses on how systems of oppression-namely racist and normative whiteness-operate within the USA. She uses food culture within North America to explore these systems, using critical whiteness studies, decolonial theory, critical race feminism, critical animal studies, and critical food studies.

Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. Her talks explore how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender sexuality and physical abilities. 

If you are interested in having A. Breeze Harper speak at your college, conference or organization please contact her at breezeharper@gmail.com. Learn more about her on her author and publications page here


Kevin Tillman

Kevin is the founder of the Vegan Hip-Hop Movement, a space where food justice with a plant-based/decolonial perspective meets hip hop. The Vegan Hip-Hop Movement explores the intersections of other animal/human/earth liberation. He feels that hip-hop is rooted in resistance. The Vegan Hip-Hop Movement fuses veganism and hip hop to promote holistic activism. . Kevin is a public speaker, animal rights activist, as well as a feminist.


Dr. Milton Mills

Milton R. Mills, M.D., serves as associate director of preventive medicine for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a North American group of doctors and laypersons dedicated to promoting improved health care, better and more appropriate nutrition, and higher standards in medical research.

Dr. Mills practices outpatient clinic-based medicine in Northern Virginia and works as a critical care physician with Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia and United Medical Center in Washington DC. His varied experiences specializing in internal medicine and HIV disease, and in the relationship between nutrition and chronic diseases has made him extensively knowledgeable about the unique healthcare needs of minorities, the challenges of practicing medicine in inner cities, and the special medical and nutritional requirements of HIV+ and AIDS patients.

As an African-American physician focusing on preventive medicine, Dr. Mills has delved into some of the environmental and societal influences affecting the health of African Americans and other racial/ethnic minorities. Dr. Mills has lectured and given research seminars across the United States and in Mexico and Canada on such topics as the negative impacts of meat and dairy consumption on human health, nutrition and HIV/AIDS, nutrition and cancer, and the dietary needs of various ethnic groups. 

Dr. Mills, who graduated in 1991 from Stanford University School of Medicine, began working with AIDS patients while still in school. He also served as student body president of the medical school, founded the Minority Students' Alliance, and worked as editor-in-chief and managing editor of the Stanford Medical School newspaper. He did his internship at the University of California-San Francisco, and completed his residency training at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Mills' papers on race and diet have appeared in the Journal of the National Medical Association. 

 


Christopher Sebastian-McJetters

Longtime vegan and social justice advocate Christopher-Sebastian McJetters divides his time between London and New York City. A copyeditor by profession, Sebastian is a staff writer at Vegan Publishers, part-time lecturer on speciesism at Columbia University and board member of Peace Advocacy Network. He focuses on examining the complex relationships between animal violence, environmental racism, classism, and capitalism. Sebastian has also contributed to the anthology Circles of Compassion: Connecting Issues of Justice edited by Dr. Will Tuttle, UK-based Barefoot Vegan magazine, and the blog Striving With Systems in collaboration with Charlotte Eure, Aph Ko of Aphro-Ism, and Triangle Chance for All microsanctuary co-founder Justin Van Kleeck.


Pax Ahimsa Gethen

Pax Ahimsa Gethen is a queer black vegan activist, blogger, and photographer. Assigned female at birth, Pax legally and medically transitioned to male in the year 2014 at the age of 43, but identifies as agender and uses gender-neutral pronouns (they/them/their).

Pax graduated from Northwestern University in 1992 with a BA in American Culture, and departmental honors. The focus of their studies was law and ethics. They received a full fellowship to the Jurisprudence and Social Policy program at the UC Berkeley School of Law, but dropped out and began working at UC full-time in tech support and web development. They later moved to UC San Francisco to continue working in web development, podcasting, and video editing.

In 2008 Pax left UCSF and launched an event photography business, Funcrunch Photo. Their specialty is performing arts, with a particular skill in low-light concert photography. In 2015 they shifted to a patron-based funding model, making all their new work freely available under Creative Commons licensing.

Pax has volunteered for food justice organizations in San Francisco, preparing and distributing vegan-friendly food to the needy with Food Not Bombs and the Free Farm Stand, and gardening at the Free Farm and Alemany Farm. They believe that free access to healthy plant-based food should be a universal human right.

Pax blogs at The Funcrunch Files about gender and social justice issues, with a particular focus on cissexism (oppression of transgender and non-binary people) and speciesism (oppression of non-human animals). Their approach to animal rights activism is based on the standpoint that animals are people, not property, and that veganism is a social justice issue, not a diet.

Pax currently lives in San Francisco with their partner Ziggy. Pax and Ziggy both enjoy vegan cooking and music making; Pax sings and plays piano and electric bass.


Syl Ko

Syl is a graduate student in the philosophy department at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is also a contributor to Aphro-ism.com. Her work focuses primarily on decolonial/non-Eurocentric approaches to critical animal studies and the relationship between decolonial thinking and animal ethics. At the moment, Syl is developing a view in which obligations to non-human animals are generated through an anti-racist/anti-colonial commitment. On this view, the exploitation of non-human animals ought to be thought of as a distinctive type of racial oppression. As a result, she argues that anti-racist/anti-colonial politics and activism must involve addressing the situation of non-human animals.

Her dissertation, which she is currently writing, is an argument that rejects standard (Wittgensteinian) “forms of life” justifications for animal exploitation on the grounds that such views neglect the racial character of animality. By neglecting this feature of animality, such views unintentionally promote racist conceptions of the human/humanity.

Syl is also a local activist who devotes much of her free time to addressing the nature of activist sites and the ways in which they problematically exclude the plight of non-human animals. She works with a number of other activists on this issue and on de-compartmentalizing activist spaces in general. Syl also volunteers for the vegan pledge run by the local chapter of the Peace Advocacy Network by delivering the annual talk on animals and ethics/social justice.

Syl has been vegan for six years. She lives in Chapel Hill, NC with her feline companion, Squash, and (also vegan) partner, Francesco.


Demetrius Bagley

Demetrius Bagley is an award-winning movie producer (Vegucated), and nationally recognized events producer. He’s godfathered projects like Vegan Street Fair, SoCal VegFest, Veggie Conquest, and many others. Since 2004, he’s led NYC Vegan EatUP, one of the world’s largest vegan Meetups. Recently, he wrote about being a 20+ year vegan in Letters to a New Vegan.

Demetrius Bagley is also an internationally published astrologer who wrote Vibe Magazine's celebrity horoscope column from 2010 to 2011. He published and sold customized annual Personalized AstroDatebooks from 2007 to 2013. In 2012, he project coordinated the anthology book titled, Astrology: The New Generation. He is the marketing and design dude for the annual State of the Art (SOTA) astrology conference.


Stephanie Redcross

Stephanie Redcross West founded Vegan Mainstream, a business/marketing consulting company, in 2009 to meld her passion for entrepreneurship with her passion for the vegan lifestyle. Stephanie has more than 15 years of marketing experience with small businesses and Fortune 500 companies. Passionate herself about living and advocating a vegan lifestyle for health, environmental, and ethical reasons, Stephanie has made it her life's mission to help like-minded entrepreneurs, bloggers and small-to mid-sized companies reach and exceed their goals. She also hopes to encourage all businesses to consider both the marketing viability and ethical importance of shifting to vegan-friendly products and services. 

Stephanie believes a key way to push veganism forward is by fanning the flames of like-minded entrepreneurs. She is working hard to build a solid infrastructure of successful businesses and brands to ensure that an ethical lifestyle is accessible to everyone, everywhere.

Stephanie and the Vegan Mainstream team provide business/marketing coaching, consulting and training for entrepreneurs, authors, chefs, personal trainers, coaches and business owners. Through one-on-one marketing consulting, online training, and local business workshops they help individuals launch and maintain successful vegan businesses.

They work with new and established vegan businesses, providing individual training and weekly business planning advice that transforms businesses. 

Stephanie's goal is to help create bigger, stronger and more sustainable businesses that support the expansion of the vegan lifestyle.