Activist Profile: Susan Rattenbury
August 15, 2007
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1967 and have lived in California since 1991. I live in Pacifica, which is on the coast, south of San Francisco.
What do you do for relaxation / entertainment, and what was the last good book you read?
We watch lots and lots of movies, we have two dogs we run with often, and we work on house projects that seem never-ending, but can be fun. In the past couple of years, we’ve been finding other veg friends, and this has really paid off socially. ;-)
Who has been / is a major influence in your life and why?
Mostly my husband, because he is a very hard worker, is patient, and has a good sense of humor. When I’m not annoyed by him, I try to be more like him.
How long have you been involved in animal rights and how did you get interested?
I took an environmental science class in college in 1988 that convinced me to go veg for the environment. In 1992, we (my husband – then boyfriend – and I) watched animal rights films and were instantly inspired to stop supporting cruelty financially.
What made you decide to start leafleting? If you were nervous the first time, how did you get over it?
Two things inspired me to leaflet: the Vegan Outreach enewsletter, with the stories at the bottom of each, and reading A Meaningful Life. Then someone posted to our local discussion group a leafleting “event” in the city and I thought it was time to give it a try. My big regret is not starting sooner. I was hooked immediately. As far as nervousness, the best cure for me is to start leafleting as soon as I get to the location. I leaflet the first person I see and it’s all downhill from there. It’s kind of like a diving board; the more I hesitate, the harder it is.
What was your most positive leafleting experience this year and why?
Positive encounters represent the vast majority of interactions I have when I leaflet. Some highlights include meeting the President of the Social Justice Club at Hayward, who is incorporating animal rights into their semester calendar. I also have probably met at least one student per school visit who said they did a class presentation on factory farming.
What would you say to individuals hesitant about leafleting?
- Read this Adopt a College web page.
- Find a partner and set a date, time and place to go.
- Don’t worry about having to answer questions or engage in conversation (unless you want to).
- Leaflet the first person you see.
- And keep this estimate at the forefront: “We convince about 5 students to go vegetarian for every 200 booklets we hand out.”