I have now attended two vigils, Hogwood Farm Tesco demo and a dairy is scary demo. The first of everything is always the scariest. You might not know anyone, you don’t know where you’re going, how its structure or how you’re going to feel.
I almost didn’t go to the Cube demo because I wasn’t having a great mental health day so then I was late which made me anxious about turning up late and maybe people would be like who the poop are you and who do you think you are coming this late or not say any of this out loud but just make a disapproving face. Adam (my boyfriend) assured me that they probably wouldn’t mind and that I had really wanted to go, this reminded me that yes I really wanted to go and if I didn’t I would probably feel crappy with myself for letting my anxiety get the better of me.
I tricked my mind by just going towards the demo and the supermarket with Adam and being like maybe I’ll go, maybe I won’t, super whatever. I said bye to Adam and carried on going towards the demo and sort of like in the animal documentaries, I got a little closer and from afar assessed the situation and there was a woman that I recognised and she had bought a Dorothy t-shirt from one of my market days and she was lovely so I decided that I wouldn’t do 180 degree turn and instead carried on going.
I got explained the set up which mmhm I just realised I haven’t explained what a cube of truth is for people who might not know. Ok so its basically street activism to raise awareness to the public of how animals are treated in farms. This is done by half-ish of the volunteers to stand in a square facing out with either placards or computers/ipads with footage from different UK farms. The people in the cube wear masks so that the focus is on the footage rather than on the person holding the footage. The other half of the volunteers stand outside of the cube and only approach an individual once the person has stopped and has watched the footage for a bit, then a question such as “have you seen footage like this before?” is used to start of the conversation. I chose to start of in the cube so as to get a feel for how it is. Before doing this type of activism before I hadn’t fully understood the purpose of the masks but being there and wearing one made me realise how it eases the process for the public as they sort of forget about you whilst they watch the footage and as a volunteer you don’t have to worry if you see something funny in the distance like two pigeons making love and you don’t want to laugh because it just wouldn’t be appropriate. Something that I hadn’t realised is that any point that you get tired of standing and holding placard/computer you can raise your hand and someone will replace you so I stood for a longer period of time that I would have had I know this as I wanted to stretch my limbs but also get a chance to talk to the public.
Talking to the public is one of the most rewarding parts of activism which a year ago I wouldn’t have thought that I’d have the confidence to do so. Tip for you incase you want to talk to people but haven’t. First arm yourself with knowledge (common farming practices such as bird beak mutilation, male chicks being ground up alive, how female cows are impregnated etc). Second watch video on youtube of other activists and learn how they respond to frequent questions such as BUT IF WE DONT KILL THEM THE WORLD WILL BE OVERPOPULATED BY ANIMALS. Third, start of slow, so what I did was I started out handing out leaflets at the Tesco demo and a lot of people just took them and carried on walking, however sometimes they would ask what we were protesting about and I would explain in a short sentence and that was it, as my confidence grew I was able to engage with them more and ask them questions which led to a valuable discussion.
One of the other rewarding parts of activism is meeting other activists, after a demo or a vigil we often go to Pret and have a double chocolate chip cookie and a hot drink. We talk about how it went and have a giggle at the person who told us to grow up and eat a cow, we also just talk about our lives in general or the fact that Manon from bake off replied to my insta story (can you picture my smug face?).
So if you have ever given activism a thought, I strongly urge you to go for it because the rewards a numerous! The woman who organised the cube that I attended that day only started it because she had to go to London to do that sort of activism because there wasn’t one in Reading and now thanks to her there is!
If you have any questions or queries about any of the activism that I mentioned or anything really, I will do my best to answer them 🙂
A couple of links:
And also some other examples of activism:
The Save Movement
Cube Of Truth
Hunting Sabbing and rescuing animals etc