Monday, June 22, 2015

Forever True



        I am against guns. All guns. Unpopular sentiment with a lot of people I consider myself friends with? Yes. But that doesn’t determine my friendships with them. Do I like it when friends agree with my ethical views? Sure. And that’s what I was reminded about as I listened to A Global Threat tonight.


A Global Threat, Boston Punk

        Maybe you know me as a West Genesee graduate, or SU graduate or UCSC graduate. Maybe as a vegan, maybe as a teacher, maybe through fitness competitions and classes. Could also be because we’re both Ukrainian or have done karate together.


        You likely know my politics. Pro-peace, anti-drugs, pro-union, animal-friendly, Green Party (the political party of sustainability), etc etc. Those politics were formed because of the punk rock I was exposed to in high school, went on to really “live the scene” during my college years, and continued to enjoy in while in Portland and working for PETA.

Me, Helen Boylan, Dave Carlson



Me, Tom Liggett, Warped Tour 2001
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The friends I had in high school will never be forgotten. I remember each one of them fondly tonight, because I listened to my favorite A Global Threat album and read their liner notes and lyrics like I was 16 again.

        This scene that meant so much is very similar to my PlantBuilt Family that has been growing since 2013. Here is why: Vegans aren’t all the same. Some suck. Most are rad, but we don’t agree on everything. The fact of the matter is that PlantBuilt is a community of people who DO feel the same way about a lot of things. Everything? Of course not. But we’re staunchly against racism. We support our trans-brothers and sisters. We believe in food reform, plant-based diets, environmental protection, and a whole slew of other things that some might not realize are directly correlated to the vegan lifestyle. 

        I had conversations about religion, police shootings, Caitlyn Jenner…I felt very “at home” with a crew that was intelligent, sympathetic, and DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT. This is my community in 2015. It took this street punk record tonight to help me rewind back to 1999 when I participated in another community like this. 
Syracuse Hardcore Scene, Westcott Community Center
Seattle Hardcore Scene, Camp Nowhere
Tim, Chris, Allan, John - Seven Generations
        For a good 7 years, I went to punk shows every weekend. Eventually I got pickier and chose the more political bands over others, and would travel for their shows. Some of my favorite groups promoted books called “Crimethinc,” which I was influenced heavily by and ended up on entire tours with Crimethinc-affiliated artists. The thing with those shows was that THOSE were my people. 

Me, Lauren Winship, Chicago, IL
Me, Pat Roberts, Reno, NV
Me, Chris Rouse, Tim Rusmisel - Seven Generations
        They weren’t just kids watching bands. Lyrics influenced lifestyles, and outside these shows you would talk with any one of these kids and be down to go hitchhike the country with them, or figure out a way get free food, or scam a mega-corporation, or protest a Ringling Brothers circus coming to town. 
Me, Chriztophe Shingleton, Petland Austin, TX

        They are the reason I moved to Portland. I was told about this wonderland of punks and train hopping and Food Not Bombs and bike culture and direct action that I 100% lived while I was there. 

        The rapidly-growing community of “my people” was thrilling, and made it really easy to become so confident in my far left views of the world. I wouldn’t read Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Derrick Jensen in vain. My friends could discuss these authors in-depth, and so we did. 

        I love being a part of this kind of community. I haven’t listened to punk music regularly since college. But baby I was SO into it. Who remembers the mohawks I’ve had? Insane? I sure hope you thought so. That was my goal in life! 

        I would say my politics are at least equally as radical as they were then. And this was when I was going to activist group meetings several nights a week and skipping entire weeks of school to sit-in or march or disrupt things we were campaigning against. 
Syracuse Animal Rights Organization
Me, Zac Wolfheart, Marissa Wolfheart, Portland, OR

        I don’t have a mohawk anymore. I look so mainstream it hurts sometimes. But with that being said, I wouldn’t be able to do crossfit with an 8 inch mohawk or my studded pleather jacket. I wouldn’t have gotten hired teaching in a public school, where I can reach a population of impressionable youth and steer them toward future peace and justice. I wouldn’t be able to do Vega demos. I wouldn’t be able to get “in” to all of the circles I am in, where people trust me, they believe me, and then when I share my opinions with them, I have much more of a chance getting across to them. 

PETA works to reach the mainstream and get across to
populations who would otherwise not hear our message
through the punk rock and hardcore scenes

        Has anyone seen the meme that was a dude asking a little kid “are you the only vegan in your family?” and the kid replying with “yes” and the last part of it was them hugging and crying together? That pretty much sums up how it feels to be in a place with your people- especially ethical vegans. Instead of the local punk/hardcore show being the place where we are unite, it's in the gym. I'm certainly not the only one who has evolved in such a way. 

Carolyn Napier, Holly Noll, Ed Bauer, Me, Kelly Green,
Allison Dunham, Sara Russert, Flexvx Crew 2014
(have way more in common than just our muscles)
        Team PlantBuilt members are very much into their physiques. That is the reason that this group of vegans came together as a team. Though after meeting up with them the past two years, I realize how consistent each of our compassionate lifestyles are when addressing other worldly issues (racism, police brutality, xenophobia, homophobia, drugs, oppressive religious views, etc).
        When we speak, we are at ease. When we eat, we share our meals. When we work, we work hard. When we hear about another war starting, we protest. We know who to trust, and for each other, remain forever true. After PlantBuilt 2014, a lot of us who still hold strong ended up at the all vegan Sweet Ritual. We took this picture to break the record of most years XVX combined to ever be in one place. These are the faces of the people I truly feel at home/at ease with nowadays. Much love. 

Allison Dunham, Holly Noll, Kelly Green, Sasha Perry, Carolyn Napier, Billy Pruz
Joey Marsh, Ed Bauer, Matt Ruscigno, Sara Russert
        The only picture that can follow this one up is from exactly 10 years previous. The most "at home" I had ever felt with other vegan straight edge kids up until PlantBuilt began. Total Liberation Tour was monumental in bringing together XVX bands from all over the globe to play a tour in the U.S., and I got to meet some tremendously inspirational people that year. Karl from Earth Crisis is there. Andy Stephanian from the SHAC 7 is there. I'm there. Yeah buddy. Syracuse, NY, June 2004.

Couldn't name every person, couldn't name every country, couldn't believe when
I heard that a whole bunch of them sold out...but this was fucking amazing.
Total Liberation 2004 - Vegan Straight Edge

       When I made a Facebook post with only the text from this blog, I tagged a lot of the people because tagging is so easy on social media! I wish you all had Blogger so we could just do it that way here! Oh well, here we go with trying to find pictures with a lot of you, which I will only be able to successfully do for a fraction. Maybe you'll see yourself, maybe not. I still hope you smile :)

Ed, Holly, Allison, and me trying to look like A Global Threat


Chris Merrow, Alicia Arredondo, Tyler Lang
http://supportkevinandtyler.com/

Ranger, Maria Borrell, Hex, Stoops, Brian Kraus

Ryan Kutil, Jon AB, Allison Dunham

Crazy Shawn, Amber, Vegan Tim, Jay Carney, Lauren Ligocki

That beer is NOT ours

Crazy Shawn, Amber, Muslim Matt

Andrew Truss XVX

Mike The Spike Zell

Daniel Austin

Chriztophe Shingleton


Stic Man Dead Prez







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