The racial unrest across the country had me thinking recently about accusations that being vegan is a white thing or even worse, is dominated and geared predominately for white people.
When I look around at all the vegan speakers, authors and events I have attended, it's tough to dispute these claims.
But some of the first people I met when I went vegan were African American and not only vegan, but raw food vegans. They remain some of the most healthy looking and vigorous people I have ever met.
I met these individuals while they were staffing raw vegan food tables at a couple different events in Gary. I had not had much exposure to raw food at that time and their samples hooked me.
I have since sought out a few raw vegan food restaurants in Chicago, including B'Gabs Goodies in Hyde Park. There had been a raw food vegan restaurant in Gary, but it closed before I could get there to check it out.
While not exclusively raw food, I recommend visiting the Original Soul Vegetarian restaurant on Chicago's south side, which says it has been serving up food as medicine for more than 30 years. We stopped by on a Sunday afternoon, during which time they were serving the same meal to all, which had a nice, welcoming feel to it.
So, while the vegan movement does look awfully white in this country, there is far more depth and a growing awareness of it.
One documentary to keep an eye out for is "The Invisible Vegan." The film is described as a "90-minute independent documentary that explores the problem of unhealthy dietary patterns in the African-American community, foregrounding the health and wellness possibilities enabled by plant-based vegan diets and lifestyle choices."
"This documentary offers both historical and contemporary perspectives on the dietary trends among African-Americans, showing how intertwined histories of slavery, twentieth-century socioeconomic inequalities, and the rise of Big Food, have led to the increased consumption and dependence on meat, processed, junk, and fast food," promotional materials state.
You can help make this film a reality by pitching in a few bucks at the Indiegogo crowdfunding site. Seems to me like a good way to do some good right now.