The trailblazing Monica Chen, Executive Director of Factory Farming Awareness Coalition (FFAC), joins the podcast this week for an inside look into how the nonprofit is working to change the world for animals through education and mentorship. FFAC has recently shifted its educational programming to focus on high school and college students, and is seeing outstanding results. Also, despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, FFAC’s outreach and programming continues to inform the public about the enormous harms of animal agriculture to animals, the environment, and human health. Among other strategies, they are connecting with community and religious organizations to deepen relationships and open minds about what’s really happening behind closed doors in our broken food system.
Monica Chen is is responsible for overseeing FFAC’s administration, programs, and strategic planning. She joined the team in 2018 and helped found the organization’s intern program. Before joining FFAC, Monica worked in residential environmental education, taught sexual health, and served as an instructor for the Prison University Project at San Quentin. She currently volunteers her time as a crisis support counselor, and her activism is focused on the interconnectedness of social justice issues. Monica also loves walking and spending time with her guinea pig, Emcee.
“It’s so much more powerful when students come to their own conclusions and recognize the impact they can have in choosing to eat differently and partaking in various campaigns. We’re thinking about systemic solutions, institutional solutions, and individual solutions.” – Monica Chen
Highlights for Episode 623:
- Topics covered in FFAC’s programs for students, educators, and individuals
- How FFAC connects with students via the Student Mentorship Program and why linking high school students with college student mentors has proved so beneficial on an individual and organizational level
- How 2020 changed the way the organization conducts outreach activities
- What prompted the FFAC team to reflect and be intentional about what they wanted to achieve
- How they pivot their messaging so it resonates with each unique audience
- The importance of networking to spread the message of equality for animals
- Why Monica was initially reluctant to call herself an animal-rights activist and how her perspective changed
- Why diversity and inclusivity in the animal-rights movement is essential
- The importance of meeting people where they are at
- Monica’s belief that people are starting to become more aware of the connections between animal agriculture and climate change
- Why labor conditions in the animal agriculture industry resonate so profoundly with people
- Growing awareness of the relationships between food justice and racial justice
- Monica’s personal experience as a Chinese-American woman in a leadership role in the animal rights movement
- How Monica makes sure to hold space for the emotional experiences of the young people that she works with
Connect with Monica Chen:
- Factory Farming Awareness Coalition Website
- Factory Farming Awareness Coalition on Facebook
- Factory Farming Awareness Coalition on Instagram
- Factory Farming Awareness Coalition on Twitter
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This 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 awfw.org.
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