FEATURE: Seba Johnson

Seba Johnson was born in the US Virgin Islands, where she lived in a public housing project and attended Head Start. A vegan since birth, Seba learned about animal exploitation at a young age, often attending protests along with her mother. By her early teens, she was staging her own protests, once standing alone with a handmade sign outside of a zoo. 

Seba Johnson made history as the first Black female to ever ski in the Olympics. At 14, during the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Seba also became the youngest Alpine Ski Racer in Olympic History, a title she still holds today. She placed 28th out of 64 of the world's best in the Women's Giant Slalom that year — no easy feat for a 14 year old! Unlike many other Olympic skiers, Seba faced extra challenges due to the fact that she was not only the youngest ski racer in the Olympic Games but also the first Black female ski racer in history. Many people were not ready for racial barriers to be broken in what was considered to be a white man's sport. She received her first death threat only three days after arriving at the Olympic Village. Hate mail and even attempts to disrupt her safety continued through the following World Cup and World Alpine Ski Championship competitions.

Four years later, Seba participated in the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France. As an animal rights activist, and a vegan since birth, Seba protested the following Winter Olympic Games. She qualified for the 1994 Games to be held in Lillehammer, Norway but decided to boycott because Norway had resumed the practice of commercial hunting for minke whales. She was once disqualified from a World Cup ski race because she refused to wear a ski suit that had a patch of leather sewn into it.

Seba ultimately quit skiing to attend college. She attended Howard University, became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. After college, Seba spent time traveling to educate youth about health and animal/human welfare. She also volunteered her time to teaching inner city youth in Boston how to ski. During the most recent Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Seba was vocal about controversies surrounding the Games. Those controversies included both abuses of animals and discrimination against LGBT people.

Seba aspires to inspire people to see beyond their societal-imposed limitations. Seba gives presentations nationally and internationally at VegFests, animal rights conferences, universities, and social justice seminars, and public schools (including those in her native Virgin Islands and paternal homeland of Burundi.) During the school year, Seba works as a Special Education Teacher's Assistant in an elementary school adjacent to a housing project much like the one where she got her start in life. 

"We must connect to a moral and ethical regard for each human and nonhuman animal until oppression is completely eradicated.”

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Twitter: @SebaJohnson

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Seba is currently writing a book and she is raising funds to make this project come to life. Consider donating HERE