Activist Profile: Leslie Patterson
October 14, 2009
Continuing our series of activist profiles, here is volunteer Leslie Patterson. Since January 2008, while working a full-time job, Leslie has reached over 44,000 individuals with Vegan Outreach booklets!
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I am originally from Cleveland Heights, Ohio and moved to Chicago three years ago for my job as an art librarian at Chicago Public Library.
What are your favorite things to do outside of leafleting?
I love walking with my dogs, Lance and Millie, and being outdoors at Lake Michigan or in the forest preserves. I also enjoy art, reading books, and hanging out with my boyfriend Joe in Steger.
Who has been a major influence in your life and why?
I am very influenced by Joe and his amazing work ethic. Seeing how hard he works for the animals pushes me to do more. I also rely on our conversations to sort out the many issues that animal rights advocacy and working with organizations bring up. My other big hero is my mother for her intellectual curiosity and the thoughtfulness and compassion that compelled her to go vegan last year.
How long have you been involved in animal rights and how did you get interested?
I really only got active for the animals about three years ago when I moved to Chicago. Prior to that I had attended some animal rights meetings and protests in Pittsburgh, where I was living, but did not realize how much impact one individual can have if she sets her mind to it. Once I fully internalized the extent of the suffering being inflicted on animals, I knew I had to work to stop it.
What made you decide to start leafleting?
Upon moving here I looked at the various types of animal rights activism that individuals and groups were doing. Leafleting to promote vegetarianism seemed like the most direct action I could take to help animals, by taking their case directly to the meat-eating public. When I read the VO literature on advocacy I realized that their rationale supported my decision and that leafleting is the way that an activist can help the most animals.
What was your most positive leafleting experience this year and why?
I have a good feeling every time I get out onto a college campus and get this information into young people’s hands. It helps to counter my despair about what is happening to animals, to realize we can do something and that people are changing. I see these young people and I know the world is going to be a better place because we are reaching them.
What would you say to individuals hesitant about leafleting?
It is every activist’s dream to pull animals out
of the farms and off the trucks and save them. We
are sparing animals from these systems every time
we go out and leaflet. Once you get out there it’s
easy. The biggest hurdle for me was thinking that
I did not have the time. But I discovered that I can
do it by making it a priority and writing it into
my schedule and onto the calendar on a regular basis.