Vegan Outreach ENEWSLETTER  •  OCT. 8, 2014
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Activist Profile: Jose Elias

Continuing our series of activist profiles, we interview VO Outreach Coordinator Jose Elias. Currently touring the Midwest, Jose has handed out more than 23,000 booklets this year!

Jose Elias

What has been your favorite interaction on your current leafleting tour?

So far, I would have to say when I met a student that was very standoffish towards me when I was at his college. Our first interaction was me giving him a leaflet – he instantly put up a wall of defense, feeling attacked, as he grew up on a farm. I told him that what I do is advocate for the animals that suffer on factory farms, telling him that I would be there for most of the day so he could come talk to me after he read our literature. He took it (to my surprise) and went on his way. A few hours passed and he came back with some banter on if I was having any luck; like I was wasting my time – I shook it off and continued working. I would say the class change that occurred before I left that day, he came back up to me with a more calm demeanor this time. He asked me if I was there sponsoring an event or if I was just there to hand out information. I told him about VO and what we do and he just stood there for a minute thinking, smirked, and then we wished each other a good day. I didn’t see him after that.

The thing about this story that I love so much is that you could tell the wheels were turning inside his head. He started with being defensive, angry, and then came down from it after chewing over what he read. People have to face themselves before making a change; they must recognize their actions before they can make a difference, and we as activists must be calm and supportive and feel empathy for the people we talk to about this issue. Only a lucky few of us were born into vegetarianism / veganism, so we must be understanding and let others know that we were once where they are and change is possible.

Full interview here.


Upcoming Events

  Jon Camp
  • 19th Annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival
    On October 25 & 26, the Boston Vegetarian Society will be bringing together an amazing array of vegetarian food providers, exhibitors, chefs, and speakers, including VO’s Executive Vice President, Jon Camp (right), who will be giving a presentation on effective vegan advocacy on Saturday at 4 pm.
  • World Compassion, Vegan, and Jiv Daya Day
    Join the Bay Area Jain community in Milpitas, CA, on Saturday, November 1, for a celebration of compassion. Jack Norris, VO’s Executive Director, will be saying a few words and tabling for Vegan Outreach along with Keyur and Shilpa Shah. Please stop by the table and say hello!
  • 15th Annual World Veg Festival
    You can also meet Jack Norris and VO’s Donor Relations Manager, Lisa Rimmert, this coming Saturday at the World Veg Festival in San Francisco. And Steve Erlsten, VO’s Northern California Outreach Coordinator, will be tabling on both October 11 & 12.


Joe mix

Product of the Week

Jose: “I would definitely go with Fantastic World Foods vegetarian sloppy joe mix. You just need a tiny 6-oz. can of tomato paste with this stuff and you’re good to go. It’s so simple, quick, and it makes around 5 to 6 joes. I could definitely eat these for the rest of my life.”

Please submit your nominees for product of the week via this page; previous entries here.


  Field Roast frankfurters

Links of the Week


Recent Feedback

It as a cold day at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, but I reached 1,142 students and met a girl named Alex, who had taken a leaflet from me in the morning and then came back to talk to me during the afternoon. She wants to go vegetarian and get involved – not a bad day to wrap up the month!
—Jose Elias, 9/30/14

John Sakars and I reached 2,500 students at Ryerson University on Tuesday. I had a lovely chat with Cindy and Rakel [below, right]. Both had lots of questions: Rakel is studying food hygiene, and asked about protein, what a typical day’s meals would be, and if I had enough energy; Cindy had heard about Freelee the Banana Girl and wanted to know if it costs a lot to eat vegan (I explained that staying with the basics of beans, grains, fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds is probably the cheapest and healthiest way to eat; and that more expensive products exist as for any cuisine, but are optional). Although they don’t plan on going vegan, they clearly got interested. We also talked about avoiding chicken and fish as the way to help the most animals.

Cindy and Rakel at Ryerson

     I also talked with a student who had questions about local farms, humane options, and free range. We talked about how most meat, eggs, and dairy come from factory farms, how there are still problems with small farms, and how cutting back on eating small animals would do more good and be easier than trying to find “humane” options.
     I met 5 vegetarians and 8 vegans, and John handed someone a leaflet who said, “This is exactly what I need.” There were also a couple of people there from a student veg group doing some leafleting of their own.
     Yesterday at York University, Patti Nyman, Ali Pester, John, and I [below] reached 3,300 students. And today, John and I handed out another 2,058 booklets at the University of Toronto, where a student told John she already had a leaflet and that is the reason she went vegetarian.
—Alex Greenwood, 9/25/14

Below, from left: Alex Greenwood, Patti Nyman, Ali Pester, and John Sakars at York University.
Alex Greenwood, Patti Nyman, Ali Pester, and John Sakars at York


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