Report by USA News Team (Originally in English)
Over the 3-day weekend, from July 29 to 31, Golden Year 13 (2016), our Association members from San Francisco and San Jose Centers in the USA participated in the 2016 World Vegan Summit & Expo held at Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, University of California, Berkeley. Event organizer, Go Vegan radio host Mr. Bob Linden, led a vegan walk procession from People’s Park through Telegraph Avenue and Berkeley Campus on the first day. Mr. Linden lauded all vegan activist friends as heroes. We were delighted to hear him happily share with the participants that he had received the Shining World Hero Award from Supreme Master Ching Hai (for detailed report). Attendees from several different countries, including Australia, France, India, Ireland, and the United Kingdom and more, held signs, sang songs, and chanted vegan slogans to raise awareness of the plant-based lifestyle and to invite the community to join the expo.
Arriving early in the morning on July 29, we set up the display booth with informative poster boards on vegan health and climate change mitigation along with a display of sample vegan products, and provided complimentary copies of Master’s From Crisis to Peace – The Organic Vegan Way is the Answer and Alternative Living flyers, recipe books, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) vegan health information and local veg restaurant pamphlets. Many guests came to browse, took free literature that appealed to them, or engaged in casual conversation with us. Event speaker, vegan Dr. Milton Mills, and an event session co-host, vegan bodybuilder Kenneth Williams, came by our information booth and signed their name delightfully on the parts of the poster board display that referenced their work.
Our food booth was right next to our display booth under the same tent and colorful banner. Many came to our food booth to enjoy the delicious and affordable vegan items that our Association members prepared for the event, including vegan garden vermicelli, raw spring rolls, fresh kale drinks, and vegan pastry fruit tarts with kiwi slices and mixed berries on top.
The chef of the nearby vegan restaurant, Golden Lotus, who is also our Association member, took part in cooking demos with another Association member at the Student Union balcony. Many attendees came to watch and learn how to make raw spring rolls and kale drinks.
Educational topics among this three-day gem-packed lecture schedule included physician Dr. Milton Mills’ talk on why humans are herbivores, Bucknell University philosophy professor Dr. Gary Steiner on viewing animals as persons instead of property, Rutgers University law professors Dr. Gary Francione and Anna Charlton’s talk on the moral baseline and animal rights, Winnenberg University sociology professor Dr. David Nibert’s discussion on animal oppression, environmental talks on California animal agriculture and the water crisis, gardening, entrepreneurs and vegan business, and many more vital subjects. Artist Sue Coe presented her wood-carving print artworks to show what happens inside a slaughter house as she observed in her childhood neighborhood. The youngest speaker invited on stage was Genesis Palacio, great-great niece of Mr. Cesar Chavez, as a tribute to the human rights leader and vegan hero Cesar Chavez. One of our Association members lovingly shared a homemade vegan cookie with Genesis right after she came off stage. Genesis enjoyed it so much that she inquired where to get more.
On the last day of the event, many grassroots volunteers led a group panel to exchange impressive ideas and practical tips on how best to advocate the vegan lifestyle to the community around us. Ms. Vanda Kadas shared her approach of using role-play questions to inspire children to think about the difference between cutting watermelon slices versus livestock for food, and to come up with compassionate choices on their own. At the closing session, vegan poet Mr. Sky Raven recited many heartfelt poems with profound impact.
It was encouraging to see many passionate individuals, whether veteran activists or innovative youths, dedicating their talents to help promote the cruelty-free lifestyle through cartoons, artwork, entertainment, social media, filming, youth leadership and weekly outreach in disadvantaged neighborhoods. International speakers and attendees felt recharged with inspiration and reinforced with reflective ideas and tactical plans from this world summit. We are grateful to have participated in and supported this wonderful event with Heaven’s immense blessings.