“I haven’t slept in 10 years.” Raising 4 kids while being Sistah Vegan.
Dr. A. Breeze Harper with Janelle White (Photo Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen)
My birthday is coming up next month. I have a birthday wish for those who support my work. I have been working on the book Black. Mama. Scholar. On Black Feminist Geography, [Vegan] Food Ethics, and Toddler Tantrums.
Central to the book isn’t my black feminist scholarship or even the work I have done with The Sistah Vegan Project. Central to the book is motherhood. Black motherhood and all its aspects *while* I engage in Black feminist scholarship, critical food studies, and ethical vegan philosophy. I have written and spoken about about how much of struggle it is to do this work over the past 15 years– but, also over the past 10 years since bringing 4 lovely Harper-Zahn babies into this world, in a USA society in which women are the primary caretakers of children and work a double work day (though I argue TRIPLE because I have not slept well in about 10 years because children this young and close in ages mean you don’t really sleep through the night). LOL, for those of you with young kids you KNOW what I mean! You think my writing and lectures are badas* now? Wait until this sistah starts sleeping again and can function on more than 3 hours of sleep per day while a baby isn’t sucking 1000 calories out of her boobs each day! I’ll be on fi-yah! (And yes, I’ve been nursing nonstop for 10 years!)
The Sistah Vegan Project is a one woman show. I don’t have a salary or benefits. All I have is a passion and commitment to continue the legacy of Black radical thought leaders and activists, the legacy of those committed to ending suffering of human and non-human animals.
My wish is to gain a Patreon monthly pledge total of at least $1500 a month. Why? Because I work really hard to make sure I can do the work I do so I can PAY for child care. It’s really quite difficult. I’m not the only mom who works so she can work AND pay for childcare. It’s the default reality in the USA.
I’m constantly encouraged to do so many innovative projects and collaborations. I’m invited to travel to conferences. I have to say “No” a majority of the time to opportunities because the childcare costs to do this work would put me under water. I have been asked to collaborate on book projects with incredibly awesome authors and activists. I have had to say “‘No’, I just don’t have enough time.” For example, last summer I traveled to the AR 2018 and Gear conference and needed to have all 4 children with me. For me to attend it cost nearly $500 for me to pay someone childcare. It was covered GEAR organizers, but this is the exception to the rule. 95% of the time must pay for the care in order to attend events in which I am gone for 3 days and the children are at home.
If you cannot do a monthly pledge, please consider supporting the Sistah Vegan Project by purchasing one of my books, a past or future webinar that I have created, or, supporting my new diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting work (focused on racial justice and animal advocacy or ethical consumption). You can see the list of options on how to support me here on this page: http://sistahvegan.com/supporting-the-sistah-vegan-project/
ABOUT DR. A. BREEZE HARPER
Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a senior diversity and inclusion strategist for Critical Diversity Solutions, a seasoned speaker, and author of books and articles related to critical race feminism, intersectional anti-racism, and ethical consumption. As a writer, she is best know for as the creator and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men use hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies. In 2016, she collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the backgrounder Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked off FoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system.
Dr. Harper is the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project which has put on several ground-breaking conferences with emphasis on intersection of racialized consciousness, anti-racism, and ethical consumption (i.e., veganism, animal rights, Fair Trade). In 2015 year she organized the highly successful conference The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter which can be downloaded.
Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. In tandem with these book projects, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”