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Episode 558: Black Lives Matter, Animal Activism, and Healing the World ft. Gwenna Hunter

By Jasmin and Mariann — September 19, 2020

First, we hear how Jasmin’s dogs and cat are adapting to upstate New York after life in LA. The chihuahuas may or may not hate the rain, but at least they perked up when they were included on a trip to the local drive-in theater, where they met up with Mariann and some friends to watch Slap Shot. Everyone had a blast. In other news, Mariann and Jasmin both recently read an article in the New York Times about a World War 2 refugee camp for Jews rescued from concentration camps. This turns the conversation to darker topics, including the current state of the world, from politics to climate. From the fires in the west to the tropical storms approaching the Gulf, it’s hard to know where to turn. Thinking of moving, Mariann wonders where is safe and posits that maybe we should just all hit the road.

In this week’s Vegan Businesses segment, we’re shouting out Charlies Acres Sanctuary in Sonoma, CA, as well as Azzizah’s Herbal Green Popcorn, Hella Nuts and L’ Artisane Bakery.

The guest this week, Gwenna Hunter, is the founder of Vegans Of LA and coordinator of community engagement and events for Greater Los Angeles at Vegan Outreach. She recently started a Facebook Group called Vegans for Black Lives Matter to engage with the vegan community and share information and events that support the BLM movement. Gwenna is passionate about helping people understand the truth about animals and gives talks that educate and inspire people to incorporate more plants and fewer animals into their diet and lifestyle.

In this episode Gwenna tells us why she felt an unstoppable urge to create Vegans for Black Lives Matter and why she feels that animal rights and antiracism connect and complement each other in meaningful ways. We discuss the toxicity that often surrounds conversations online, particularly when talking about multifaceted issues such as animal and race activism, and how she manages that toxicity without getting overwhelmed. Gwenna also shares how she goes about introducing the topic of veganism when hosting outreach talks and her methods for encouraging people to see animals as equals and consider a plant-based diet.

“I believe that animals have a certain level of consciousness and that they come to this planet to help heal us. It’s not just us helping rescue and heal them; it’s a circle of compassion.”
– Gwenna Hunter

This Week in Our Hen House:

  • Gwenna’s pain caused by the racism she has personally experienced and why she finally decided to get angry
  • Why she thinks that the BLM movement has gained traction right now
  • What Gwenna foresees for the future of the animal rights movement
  • Her opinion on why it’s problematic for animal activists to use the term, ‘All Lives Matter’
  • How we can keep veganism growing in the incredible way it has done recently
  • Gwenna’s own vegan story and why she remains even more deeply committed
  • How she talks to “pre-vegans,” especially those whose own lives are fraught with difficulty
  • Why black veganism is growing by leaps and bounds
  • How a sense of change is in the air on many fronts and how activists can continue the momentum
  • How Gwenna stays healthy in mind and body
  • Why she started the Vegans of LA facebook group initially and the changes in the LAVegan scene pre- and post-COVID

Connect with Gwenna Hunter:

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awfwlogoThis episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at

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Don’t forget to tune into Our Hen House’s other two podcasts: The Teaching Jasmin How to Cook Vegan Podcast, and The Animal Law Podcast.

The Our Hen House theme song is written and performed by Michael Harren.

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