Activist Profile: Lisa Drapkin
October 3, 2012
Continuing our series of activist profiles, we head over to New York to talk with Lisa Drapkin.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I’m from Queens, NY and had lived there my whole life up until a few months ago, when I moved to the faraway Brooklyn, NY, which is where I live currently.
What are your favorite things to do outside of leafleting?
I work a full-time job, so I don’t have too much free time, but my favorite thing to do outside of leafleting is spending time with the people that I love. Next is trying all the amazing vegan restaurants in NY that I haven’t been to yet. I also have other volunteer activities, such as walking dogs at the local shelter, sending books to prisoners, helping to clean up the local park in areas where there is wildlife, learning to design websites, and bike riding.
Who is a major influence in your life?
I guess I’d have to say the person that originally showed me the ropes of leafleting, Jim Scotto (a volunteer with Mercy For Animals), has been a major influence in my life because I wouldn’t have started partaking in this great form of activism without him. Other than that, every Vegan Outreach, Humane League, and Mercy For Animals person I’ve ever met has been an inspiration to me.
How long have you been involved in animal rights and how did you get interested?
I’ve been involved in animal rights since around June 2012, right after I became vegan. I went vegan after seeing a minute or so of a Mercy For Animals video from a dairy calf investigation. After going through a period of anger and depression from all the new information I had learned about the way animals are treated, I knew the only way to feel better mentally was to do something about it, so I contacted the local Mercy For Animals office to see how I could get involved.
What made you decide to start leafleting?
I decided to start leafleting really because it was convenient to do. I also feel that leafleting is a much better use of my time than taking part in demos. I like leafleting because it’s something anyone can do with only time and motivation. I like the fact that leafleting is really educating people about pertinent information that they otherwise may have never known or thought about.
What was your most positive leafleting experience and why?
Really every time I leaflet at a college, and the take rate is going great, and the students actually seem enthused and/or curious about taking one, I feel very good.
What would you say to individuals hesitant about leafleting?
I’d say that if I could do it, anyone could do it. I used to be the shyest person in the world. Leafleting has actually helped me overcome this. I need to leaflet because otherwise I’ll feel like I’m not contributing to this massive mind shift we have to create in the world. I had to overcome my feelings of social anxiety and fear because the cause is so enormous. I still get scared before I leaflet, but the period also gets shorter and shorter with each time. Once you hand out the first booklet, you get in the zone and it feels natural. Ideally, I wish I could take the approach of leafleting like it was diving into a pool without first checking to see how cold the water is. Instead, I usually have to feel out the water for a while before I start. I’d love to get to the point where I can just dive straight in.