Veggie Pride Parade

This is the blog for the Veggie Pride Parade, NYC.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Speakers, entertainers set for Veggie Pride Parade, NYC, 2009

Paul Shapiro
is the senior director of the
factory farming campaign
of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). He has spearheaded numerous successful campaigns on behalf of farmed animals. He directs the effort to convince retailers, food service providers, and universities to expand their vegan options. Prior to working for HSUS, Paul founded Compassion Over Killing (COK), where he helped lead campaigns such as the successful effort to end the use of the misleading "Animal Care Certified" logo on battery-cage egg cartons nationwide. At COK, Paul worked as a farmed-animal cruelty investigator, primarily documenting conditions on egg and broiler factory farms, livestock auctions, and slaughter plants. He will bring our parade crowd to life with his powerful oratory abilities.

J.P. Vaswani is one of India's most recognized nonsectarian spiritual leaders and the head of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission. For the past 43 years, Dada, as he is affectionately known, has been a tireless advocate for animal rights and non-violence. He is the author of over 100 books, many in multiple translations. Cultivating his ideals from his mentor and guru Sadhu T.L. Vaswani, who it the founder of the mission that carries his name, he is today an accomplished orator, philosopher, educationalist, and philanthropist. Dada has held audience with the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, and Pope John Paul II, as well as other prominent world leaders. His message of global harmony and peace has captivated audiences at the World Parliament of Religions, the British House of Commons, and the UN World Peace Summit. Dada lives in Pune, India, where he oversees the multi-faceted charitable programs of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission. Dada is forever there to speak for the defenseless, which of course includes all the animals on Earth.

Peter Anderson is the principal of Future Leaders Institute, a progressive charter school in Harlem. He's worked in education for over 15 years and holds graduate degrees from the London School of Economics and New York University. For the kids, the emphasis is on leadership training and character development. "Go hard or go home," are words he lives by and projects at every opportunity. And part of what he passes along at his school: the wisdom of healthy eating. Partnering with New York Coalition for Healthy School Food (NYCHSF), they provide 2 plant-based meals per week prepared at the school by Chef Jorge from Candle 79 Restaurant. Each month NYCHSF hosts a Family Dinner Night with a plant-based meal, hands on learning activities, and a cooking demo. "True education is holistic," says Anderson.

Marianne Thieme is a member of the House of Representatives in the Netherlands and the leader of her party, the Party for the Animals. She is the on-stage narrator for the pro-vegan DVD Meat The Truth, which presents a hard-hitting but popular presentation of the vegan environmental arguments, emphasizing, in particular, livestock's heavy influence on global warming. Ms. Thieme's career in animal protection began as a fauna consultant for the Dutch Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Recently, she became the director of Stichting Wakker Dier, an organization that campaigns for the abolition of the factory farming industry. In her capacity as director of this organization, the agricultural magazine Farm proclaimed Ms. Theime the most influential woman in the Netherlands with respect to the social and economic position of farmers.

Cheryl Hill returns to the big city from her current home on Austin, Texas, where her entrepreneurial spirit is marketing vegan smoothie recipes, spearheading publishing projects, and playing gigs with the band that bears her name. She will entertain us with her operatically trained voice and poignant chords and lyrics. Cheryl is the composer of our parade's awesome theme song, Get Your Green On. Cheryl is one hot guitar player, but New Yorkers may also remember her as the wise woman of Vegan Wellness TV. Visit her Web site:

Tony Avella is a New York city councilman from Queens' 19th district. He heads five council committees and is a leading advocate of animal rights and animal welfare in city government. The 2007 scorecard of the NYC League of Humane Voters gave Tony a 100 percent rating, but it might as well have been 110 percent. He's taken heroic stands in, no-less, leadership rolls with the Horse Drawn Carriage Ban, the Pets in Housing bill, and humane education in the city's schools.

Karen Davis, Ph.D. is president and founder of United Poultry Concerns. She is the founding editor of UPC's quarterly magazine Poultry Press and the author of numerous books including Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs. Ms. Davis maintains a sanctuary for rescued poultry birds in Virginia. She in an inductee to the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame. Since 1999, Ms. Davis and UPC have hosted eight annual conferences on farmed-animal advocacy issues. At one can find a seemingly endless list of Ms. Davis's victories and accomplishments as she has for so many years worked on behalf of what society casually relegates to the "lowest of the low" (modern poultry birds).

Joan Wai is the founder and chief executive director of Youth Buddhism Communications, a New York City-based group fully committed to compassionate meatless living. She is the organizer of the 1,000-strong all-vegan banquet put on by the group every year. She is also the director of a community center run by the organization.

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D. is professor emeritus at the College of Staten Island. He is the author of Judaism and Vegetarianism, Judaism and Global Survival, and Mathematics and Global Survival, and over 130 articles at He is the president of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) and the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV). He is the associate producer of A Sacred Duty, a powerful, pro-vegan DVD production. He is director of Veg Climate Alliance. Dr. Schwartz may be reached at

Christine Vardaros is a world-class vegan cyclist. She's writes fitness columns for VegNews magazine, Cyclo-Cross magazine, and the Marin Independent Journal. She is an official spokesperson for In Defense of Animals, a founding member of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, and is a member of the athlete's advisory board for the Stone Foundation for Sports Medicine and Arthritis Research. And she's never owned a car.
Mickey Z will wax eloquent in poetry and prose in his most inimitable style at the post Veggie Pride Parade rally and expo. Proudly armed with his high school diploma, born and raised in Astoria, New York, part working class, part radical vegan, Mickey Z is probably the only person on the planet to have appeared in both a karate flick with Billy Blanks and a political book with Noam Chomsky. He has been a vegan for 14 years and can be found on the Web at Look for his blog posts at Plant Green (

Dave Warwak is a meditator, philosopher, humanitarian, artist, musician, poet, and writer. Formerly a tenured middle school art teacher, he became an animal rights activist after he was notoriously fired for teaching kindness, i.e.: veganism, to his students. Warwak's mission has since been tell children the truth about our world. Read trial transcripts that document his fight to keep his job, which includes testimony by T. Colin Campbell, in Peep Show for Children Only. Dave will perform the baby-vegetable (children in vegetable costumes) naming ceremony on stage after the parade at the post-parade rally and expo.

Pamela Rice is the author of "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian"—both book and pamphlet. She is the founding director of the Vegetarian Center of NYC and the organizer for this event. She is the founding director of the VivaVegie Society (, the parade's sponsoring group. She is also the erstwhile publisher of The VivaVine: The Vegetarian Issues Magazine. Pamela will award prizes for best costume and signboard contest at the post-parade rally and expo.