Jasmine, who wanted to be a movie director/actress since childhood and worked within the television industry for years, finally reached a breaking point as most visionaries do, and decided to tell her story. Jasmine, merged her passion for filmmaking with her vegan practice to create The Invisible Vegan to fill a void in mainstream wellness documentaries and to give voice to her experience and a growing movement of other African-American vegans. So how does one set about to making a dynamic vegan film that initiates dialogue about race and economics as much as it does animal rights and health? “Just do it. That’s the plan.” Jasmine did not have the resources of a major studio, despite her years in television, but she had the drive and resilience (attributes which were perhaps harnessed while growing in a marginalized community, much like the ones she is committed to outreaching to). “I have a camera, friends and a credit limit. Too many people have great ideas and let them depreciate because the stars have to align perfectly before they get started. I’m the total opposite. I look at what I have and I make it work. The plan is go. The plan is do it. The plan is take control over my destiny. The plan is have the courage to construct my vision.” Amen!
© Raw Pixel
Let’s see a show of hands - How many of you ladies have had an annual comprehensive wellness check? If you are like me, you wait until something is terribly amiss before you step foot into a doctors office, like last summer when I had crazy chest pains and spent part of a Sunday afternoon in the emergency room - turns out it was agita often caused by too much BBQ and a looming fellowship deadline. Nothing a little sugar and grain detox and extra sleep couldn't help. And if you are like me, you likely engage in all kinds of wellness mind-body treatments - some with real preventative or curative medical value (hello good night’s sleep, regular exercise and cupping) and some that just feel good (mani-pedis)— because a healthy mind is a healthy body. Most of the time this self-care doesn’t leave the theory zone into the practice arena. Sorry Louise Hay! Thankfully, my genes and good habits have kept me incredibly healthy and well. Nonetheless, after that ER visit, I was armed with not only a will to be exceeding well, but a checklist of health points to discuss with my MD. After all, it's my body, right?
© Gift Habeshaw
In a regressive society, people usually perceive men equal to human and women equal to women! This is because more often than not, that societal mindset ‘inadvertently’ thinks women can never rub shoulders with men.
Considering a dogged patriarchal attempt to demand women and girls to stay in their mansplained lane, our equality may be better and more safely demonstrated away from men. There’s no shame in confessing that women-only spaces are quite relevant and a constructive effort for combating the constant physical and verbal harassments women so often endure. The truth is this seemingly neoteric ‘women-only’ arrangement is not such a new or male-directed positioning
Though it might seem least unlikely, and despite what we protest about individuality and celebrating our authentic self, people, especially urban women tend to change more quickly and thoroughly in groups than they do on their own. Especially if they are marginalized women. Much to the chagrin of mainstream green, particularly health and wellness programs and organizations, the basic assumption that behavior will change individual by individual falls flat on its back. Yet, those gaps are often bridged by an unshakeable urge to compete and stand out, not to belong (community and sisterhood), unless you are poor, a woman of color, or otherwise disenfranchised. Within the environmental justice movement and their impact, vulnerable communities are only stronger, healthier, happier, safer, and more prosperous together
Defining “Environmental Justice” can be like trying to explain trust, hunger, or love. It's complex, universal, and yet so subjective. And yet, when seeing environmental justice through an intersectional lens, that complex, universal subjectivity shrinks down to a a simple contrast of bias and equity. It doesn't end there. Expand the "environmental" concept to include all shared spaces, naturally made and human-constructed and the questions of rights, responsibility, finite resources , and safety organically follow. While it would be easy to contain the focus on recycling, composting, and solar panels, it would be complicit in perpetuating the negative impact of siloing issues and areas of concern. Marginalized folk, especially women and girls get hit hardest as they are still systemically treated as second and third class citizens. How they can and will ultimately navigate the space is not factored in to the equation, much less prioritized. But what does this have to do with environmental justice? Or urban sustainability? Everything.