Bearing witness is the act of being present in the face of suffering. It is refusing to turn away, it is allowing yourself to be emotionally affected. Through witnessing suffering we can better understand what it feels like to be the sufferer. This understanding can lead us to change our ways and to work harder at changing the world for the better.
"When the suffering of another creature causes you to feel pain, do not submit to the initial desire to flee from the suffering one, but on the contrary, come closer, as close as you can to him who suffers, and try to help him." - Leo Tolstoy
When the suffering of another creature causes you to feel pain, do not submit to the initial desire to flee from the suffering one, but on the contrary, come closer, as close as you can to him who suffers, and try to help him. - Leo TolstoyMore on Bearing Witness:
An important aspect of vigils is making sure people know you're there. When we take time out of our day and show up for nonhuman animals we are keeping their plight in plain sight. While slaughterhouses would like us all to either forget or become used to their presence we must be present to prevent this complacency. We CAN make a difference and improve the lives of nonhuman animals.
Holding a sign along a traffic corridor or in an area with heavy foot traffic is a great way to keep the issues alive. At our vigils we display signs, pass out literature, and have conversations with interested passerby. Whether they are receptive to the message or angry that we are out there they are thinking of what we're doing nevertheless.
The vast majority of participants in the animal rights movement were not born vegan, we had someone or something to demonstrate the ethical importance that being vegan and fighting for the rights of others holds.
The Save Movement uses tabling as a way to meet members of our communities and connect them to resources to advance animal rights. When tabling at a festival there is more time to have deep conversations with people and to really explain why we do what we do.
We are currently working on including food sharing at our regular vigils. We will pilot this project at our 2nd June vigil on June 22, 2018.
A common criticism of veganism is the cost and availability of food. Inspired by Chilis on Wheels, our food shares aim to provide food for hungry people and also show how inexpensive and accessible vegan food can be. We will be making food that is cheap, free of common allergens, and available in nearly all areas of the United States.
Cleveland Animal Save supports many different forms of activism. We want to encourage others to not just hold vigils but to also get out and participate in a Cube of Truth, try a public demonstration, march with other animal rights activists and with other social justice causes, volunteer at a sanctuary, and build a community out of respect for others.