Sistah Vegan: New book is Afro-centric, LGBTQ-friendly, well worth a read

By CB Smith-Dahl, Oakland Local

There is a tradition in the African-American community (and some others) known as “Testifying.” When you have found the answer, you are expected to share it with the community – to tell the story of your personal journey from faithless to faithful, from sick to healed or from oppression to freedom.

In her book, “Sistah Vegan,” A. Breeze Harper collects a series of articles by black women about their journeys – having switched to a plant-based diet. Most of them are first-person testimonies; all of them make great food for thought.

Lantern Books
– a small company that specializes in books about spirituality, natural healing, animal rights and vegetarianism/veganism – released the book earlier this year. It has been well received, mostly by Vegan advocates who are mostly non-African American.

The book is rooted in black feminism and Critical Race Theory and has prompted many animal rights activists to think. As a result, Harper has spoken at several events and conferences. According to Harper, Farm Sanctuary had an event where 98 percent of the participants were white. So she got the call to answer “Why?” Her response was to tell organizers “not to recruit black people, but to think and reflect more on normative whiteness.”

At the same time, it was important to Harper to create a book that was open to diverse audiences and supportive of different communities.

“I wanted more voices that were not straight women,” she said.

Her book and supporting blog have been praised for their inclusive and open perspective. At the same time, it has surprised her to find that some readers have criticized her for her pro-LGBQ and pro-interracial perspective.

“Some African holistic leaders think of the white man as the devil and eating meat as the slave master’s diet,” Harper said, adding that when readers get extreme, she recoils. “I feel that being fundamentalist about one belief in order to achieve social justice is very dangerous.”

Harper applies this perspective to veganism as well, suggesting that not everyone may be able to or want to cut out all animal products. It’s a personal journey towards health.

When asked if she would like to go back and do anything different with her book, Harper said, “I wish I had included some recipes.”

For more information about “Sistah Vegan,” visit Amazon Books.

The book also is available as an eBook via Kindle.

More info:

Sistah Vegan Blog

Critical Race Theory

Vegan Recipes by Oakland’s own Bryant Terry

Originally published at

2 Responses to “Sistah Vegan: New book is Afro-centric, LGBTQ-friendly, well worth a read”

  1. Ain HD August 21, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    Great book. I had the pleasure of contributing to this collection. I advise anyone interested in veganism to check out this book.


  1. New book is Afro-centric, LGBTQ-friendly, well worth a read « shades magazine - August 4, 2010

    […] Sistah Vegan: New book is Afro-centric, LGBTQ-friendly, well worth a read […]

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