Connecting Issues. Striking at the roots of oppression.
Every year, we onboard a new team of Lead Ravens who create, plan, and implement a Vegan advocacy campaign that strikes at the very roots of oppression, connecting issues that impact humans, other animals, and our natural world. These campaigns are known as “Operations” (and they always have the snappiest titles).
Cow’s milk is served at EVERY public school in the United States through the National School Lunch Program. Often, a carton of milk will be placed on a student’s tray even if they’ve refused it. Milk is an inherently harmful product for animals, human and non-human, and the environment, and we’re facing this issue head on through “Operation: Mind Over Milk”.
About Operation: Mind Over Milk
This year’s campaign at The Raven Corps is “Operation: Mind Over Milk”. Lead Ravens Miya, Mia, Athena, Amélie, and Kacey are working with a coalition of organizations to advance milk equity legislation at the federal level in addition to creating an educational campaign and corresponding social media campaign on the colonialist horrors of dairy using an inclusive, multi-issue approach. Op: MOM will culminate in a national action this fall, targeted at the USDA/Dairy Industry/National School Lunch Program for forcing dairy onto students in school cafeterias.
– About 70% of the students who receive their lunch through the NSLP are people of color. These populations have higher rates of lactose intolerance (AKA being lactose-normal).
– Plant-based milk options are ONLY available if a student has a doctor’s note proving they have a disability which bars them from consuming dairy milk. This option is often inaccessible to marginalized students who need it.
– As much as 45 million gallons of cow’s milk were wasted in 2019 in US schools.
-Dairy cows are artificially inseminated and forced to repeatedly give birth to babies who are immediately taken away so that humans can drink their milk. Male calves are typically sold to the veal industry and slaughtered soon after. Female calves usually suffer the same fate as their mothers.
Students, we NEED you. It’s time to stand up to Big Dairy and let them know we don’t want their racist, animal-abusing, environment-destroying product, and we’re DONE having it forced upon us. Visit the Operation: Mind Over Milk website for more information.
WE CAN DO THIS!
In 2021, at the height of the Covid 19 pandemic, we launched Operation: Growing Beyond the Recipe (GBTR). Five Lead Ravens teamed up to create a podcast and YouTube content around the theme “Food as Resistance”. It was one of the coolest things we’ve ever done at The Corps.
In order to build a better world, we have to start practicing the future. And in the future, factory farming’s history. Fresh, nutritious food is accessible. Sustainability IS the ingredient. And a love for food, community, and culture brings us all to the table. By growing beyond the recipe, we can start living the future NOW.
Growing Beyond the Recipe was all about exploring food as a complicated but effective and meaningful vehicle for real change. Through thoughtful, fun, and inviting podcast episodes and YouTube videos, the 2021 GBTR Ravens took a deep, courageous dive into the wide world of food and what it really means to be Vegan.
IN 2021, GBTR LEAD RAVENS…
- Came together to create five ground-breaking advocacy Operations using “Food as Resistance” as their guidepost
- Launched a podcast and a YouTube channel, dropping Ops like “Food and Feminism” and “Attacking Animal Agriculture”.
- Organized and collaborated with Z2B Lead Ravens, bringing people of all ages and walks of life to the (round)table to discuss topics like “The Evolution of US Food Culture” and “Effective Vegan Activism”.
- Hosted a wide variety of guest speakers including Vegan chefs, food activists, and community organizers in our virtual youth activist community center.
- Organized and hosted monthly “Raven’s Kitchen” meetups where Ravens cooked and baked together (and it actually felt like we were all hanging out in the kitchen together, even during a pandemic.)
- Helped produce an anti-oppression cookbook “The Feed: Food as Resistance”
“GBTR changed everything in my life for the better. The people in this program introduced new perspectives to me, showing me how versatile and impactful food is, as well as how it can be used as a tool to bring everyone together. I was also really challenged by this program; it forced me to examine the ways that I unknowingly participate in systems of oppression in food and lifestyle communities. As an activist, we should always strive to do better, and there is nothing more important than being in a community of people who will hold you accountable. I hope GBTR helps people understand that healing begins with the stomach and the heart!”
— Anata Tran, 2021 GBTR Lead Raven
In the face of a global pandemic, Ravens got even more creative with their activism, teaming up to launch our very first campaign and paving a new way for The Corps.
About Operation: Stop the Spread of Toxic MASKulinity
In early 2020, just like the rest of the world, Ravens went into lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But that didn’t stop them from organizing. Six Lead Ravens from across the country teamed up to launch “Operation: Stop the Spread of Toxic MASKulinity”. With the help of our wider Raven community, Leads focused on mutual aid, community support and safety, and sustainability, while striking at the roots of patriarchy and toxic masculinity.
Through Operation: Stop the Spread of Toxic MASKulinity, Ravens:
- Launched an online campaign encouraging EVERYONE to wear masks and protect their communities, with a special focus on (cough, cough) hetero, cisgender males who believed that wearing a mask was emasculating.
- Collected, sanitized, and deconstructed over 200 pounds of second-hand clothes and textiles
- Hand-sewed over 250 masks with fun patterns and designs.
- Opened an Etsy shop and sold masks online, raising money for racial justice organizations and Vegan food providers.
- Donated unused masks to individuals, schools, and organizations.