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Our feature interview in this show is vegan actress and filmmaker Jasmine Leyva of The Invisible Vegan speaking on the role of filmmaking and other art forms in movements for social justice and wellness. Jasmine speaks on her past, current and upcoming projects in relation to films on disability, veganism and healthy foods in the context of the prison industrial complex as well as documenting the recent protests in LA. We also have a short interview with Canada’s leading animal rights lawyer and Executive Director of Animal Justice, Camille Labchuk, on the Ontario Bill 156 which was passed into law this past Wednesday. The second half of the show is an encore of the interview with Christopher-Sebastian on the connections between animal liberation and Black liberation, the human rights issues faced by slaughter house workers, increasing the accessibility of veganism and animal rights activism to marginalized groups, and on his journey to a vegan lifestyle and to activism.
Vegan Artist and Filmmaker Jasmine Leyva on the Role of Art In Social Justice and Wellness Movements
Jasmine Leyva is well-versed in the arts, especially when it comes to anything regarding filming. She achieved her Bachelor of Arts in TV, Film, and Media, then moving on to complete a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting. She appeared in print ads herself for major brands including American Express, Apple, BlackPeopleMeet.com, Credit Sesame, Diesel, Elle Magazine, Michelle Watches, Uber, and more. She starred in the show My Crazy Ex on Lifetime and several other TV projects. Her passion didn’t stop only in front of the camera – Jasmine worked as the Associate Producer for the docuseries called Unsung, which won an award from the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP). From there, she became both the writer and producer of Being, a docuseries which highlights dynamic entertainers in film and music. This quote from Anaïs Nin is displayed on Jasmine’s website, and it is a beautiful representation of her work ethic and drive.
For too many centuries women have been being muses to artists. I wanted to be the muse, I wanted to be the wife of the artist, but I was really trying to avoid the final issue — that I had to do the job myself.Anaïs Nin
In 2019, Jasmine and Kenny Leyva released the work that Jasmine is most well-known in the vegan community, the feature length documentary The Invisible Vegan, in which she describes her personal experience with plant-based eating. The film goes on to outline how plant-based eating is directly linked to African roots, and how African-American eating habits have been debased by oppression from slavery, economics, and modern agribusiness. She currently teaches media writing at California State University in Northridge, and she is in pre-production for two new self-produced projects.
If you would like to support Jasmine’s work, please consider supporting her through Patreon.
Jasmine joins us in this show to speak on her process in creating The Invisible Vegan, how social issues and activism have impacted her work, and how art forms such as filmmaking are essential in social justice and wellness movements.
As mentioned on the show, please consider donating to the Vancouver Black Therapy & Advocacy Fund to support local Black communities in Vancouver.
Executive Director of Animal Justice & Animal Rights Laywer, Camille Labchuk, on Recent Agricultural Gag Bill 156 Passing in Ontario
Camille Labchuk, the Executive Director of Animal Justice, is Canada’s leading animal rights lawyer who has worked to protect animals for over a decade. She works on cases that enhance the legal interests of animals, exposes hidden animal suffering, and works for results in meaningful policy changes. She has also been active as an animal rights advocate, including documenting the commercial seal kill on Canada’s East coast, exposing cruelty in farming, protecting the free speech rights of animal advocates, and campaigns against trophy hunting, circuses, aquariums, zoos, shark finning, puppy mills, and more. Camille graduated the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Mount Allison University. She is also a frequent lecturer and media commentator on animal law issues.
Animal Justice is a non-profit organization that leads the legal fights for animals in Canada. They also host a free podcast with discussions on Canada’s animal law called Paw & Order: Canada’s Animal Law Podcast by Animal Justice. Recently, Ontario had passed a new agricultural gag law from Bill 156, which is called the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, that restricts people’s ability to expose animal cruelty on farms. This law could make it illegal for employee whistleblowers to expose animal abuse on farms, violations of workplace safety laws, and filthy conditions that could breed pathogens and threaten public health. This law was passed despite the dissent expressed through a letter to the government in February 2020 from over 40 Canadian legal experts, advising that Bill 156 is unconstitutional because it attacks freedom of expression and could make investigative journalism at farms and slaughterhouses illegal. Camille expressed in the Animal Justice article, “Transparency in the food system is needed more now than ever before. Slaughterhouse workers across the country are being infected and dying of COVID-19. Meanwhile, deadly viruses regularly emerge from factory farms, including bird and swine flu. Legislation that covers up conditions that can cause zoonotic diseases, unsafe work environments, and animal cruelty will have deadly consequences for humans and animals alike.”
Camille speaks on Bill 156 and how this affects animal rights activists and the whistleblowers who expose animal cruelty and violation of workplace safety laws.
Christopher-Sebastian: Animal Liberation and Black Liberation
Christopher-Sebastian is a vegan animal justice activist and advocate who educates people on veganism and primarily focuses on animal violence and how it influences anti-black racism, queer antagonism, and class discrimination. He takes on many roles in the community as the Director of Social Media for Peace Advocacy Network, sitting on the Advisory Council for Encompass, as a senior editor at Vine Sanctuary Press, as the co-founder of VGN, and lecturer at Columbia University in the Department of Social Work for the graduate course POP: Power, Oppression, and Privilege.
Many of his speeches are accessible through Youtube, and Jasmine Leyva has a short interview with Christopher-Sebastian on the topic “What is Black food?” on her Youtube channel as well. In this interview, he speaks with us on the connections between animal liberation and black liberation, on the human rights issues faced by slaughterhouse workers, on how to make veganism and animal rights activism more accessible to marginalized groups, and on his own journey to a vegan lifestyle and to activism.
Show produced by Leah Thompson and co-hosted by Grace Wampold, with web content written by Asami Hitohara