Thousands gave thanks this year around turkeyless tables and fed their bodies with nourishing foods void of all animal products. Though that might sound strange to some, us vegans know that there’s a lot more to Thanksgiving than what’s on the table – to us, it’s about what’s not on the table. (Though please don’t be mistaken, vegans love our food and eliminating animal products doesn’t inhibit our taste buds!)
People all over the country celebrated the true life-affirming meaning of this holiday by joining others (and in some cases, special turkey guests of honor) in their community to enjoy compassionate eating. Over 100 events from small family dinners to large public potlucks, were held as a way to share stories, provide positive support and swap delicious cruelty-free recipes. Most traditional Thanksgiving foods can be enjoyed without animal products simply by substituting ingredients and the selection of turkey-alternative roasts is endless.
Despite blizzard conditions, one event in Riverton, Utah, brought together 230 individuals for great food, a huge silent auction, and to hear Nathan Runkle founder of Mercy for Animals. Rio Rancho, New Mexico residents sampled vegan fare at a public potluck and shared personal stories with a local paper about their significant health gains since adopting vegan diets. Similar events were held by groups in California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Montana, New York, Texas and several other states.
The power of compassion and community embodies the true spirit of activism. And all across the United States, activists (whether they recognize themselves as such or not) came together to change the world for animals, improve human health and to protect the planet. Thank you to all who participated! To learn more about Gentle Thanksgiving and to plan your own outreach event next year, please visit GentleThanksgiving.org.