Speaker: Judging and its Alternatives

Would you like to make the world a better place without causing harm on the way?


This month in the #RocVeganVideoExpo, we have been trying to safely bring joy, education, and support for vegan-friendly businesses into a tragic year.  Our purpose is to help under very difficult circumstances.

More tragedy has been exposed and renewed in the past few days here in Rochester.  We are heartbroken.  Emotions are especially low and high, and today’s video addresses generally how we think about and talk to each other.

Switching from introducer (me) to speaker (also me), the following (and the video) is my personal opinion and approach and does not necessarily reflect Rochester VegFest:

Are you confident that you are morally right and others are wrong?  Or maybe you’re not so confident and you ask, “Is this the right thing to do?”  Do you think some people are good and others bad (or jerks, or idiots etc.)?  Do you get into arguments about how people should or shouldn’t do this or that?

These are very common ways of thinking: “You’re wrong. You’re bad. You should.”  These are judgmental thoughts.  They are opinions stated as facts, and so, as you might expect when something untrue is said or thought, they can cause problems.  In this video, which records a talk I gave at the October 2018 RAVS meeting, I describe exactly how to use an alternative: discernment.  It is how I think now (I admit I sometimes slip up and label someone a jerk – I’m human, so errors are inevitable).  Maybe I’m naive to think the world could operate this way, but I have found as a practical matter that discernment makes communication easier and myself happier, and sidesteps the confusion of trying to work out what’s “right” and who’s “wrong.”  It forms the solid basis of the challenging conversations I have while doing vegan outreach, among other things.  Discernment lets me speak up about problems without causing harm.  I think it will improve, even if not solve, any difficult conversation you are likely to have.  And we need to have a lot of difficult conversations, don’t we?  34 minutes, CC. Link to handout used in video.

I’m Tina, president of Animal Rights Rochester and co-founder and co-coordinator of Rochester VegFest (and your host of this vegan video expo).  I’m primarily focused on animal rights activism, but I’ve been educating myself about racism for several years.  If you would like to see some of the books and other resources about racism that I’ve been recommending lately, you can look at my Fb wall.  Black Lives Matter.

Kevin Lahey & Ben Le Roi

We are very excited to welcome Kevin Lahey and Ben Le Roi as speakers at Rochester VegFest.  In addition to their dedicated activism, they have a podcast – check it out!  They will be speaking about the excuses people have to not go vegan, and how to get involved.  In addition, they’ll have a table for people to stop by and learn about many ways to help animals.

Audio of their talk is now available – click here!


The Livegan PodcastThe Livegan Podcast is dedicated to learning from inspirational guests and discussing how to be a more effective activist within the growing animal rights movement. Kevin and Ben firmly believe every individual is capable of making a significant difference with their own unique skill set. Their guests originate from various backgrounds, professions, and possess different approaches, all with the same goal in mind; how to save as many animals as possible and create a vegan world.

Kevin LaheyKevin Lahey is an ex undercover investigator with Mercy For Animals And Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth. Collectively, he has more than 3 years of undercover investigative experience, including working in Korea’s dog meat industry and USA’s hog, dairy, and poultry industries. He was the 2016 recipient of the Mercy for Animals award and is working on an upcoming book. He has a Master’s in Philosophy focused on veganism. He resides in Toronto with his wife and daughter.

Ben Le RoiBen Le Roi is an animal rights activist from Southern Ontario’s farm country. He has participated in many forms of activism from vigils, marches, disruptions, cubes and various forms of outreach. He was the creator of the Scary Movie Challenge, which gained worldwide attention, and is one of the founders of Nation Rising, an initiative designed at pressuring the Canadian government to end the subsidizing of animal agriculture. He resides in Southern Ontario with his two daughters.

2017 Rochester VegFest Recap

Wow!  Roc VegFest rocked!

Saturday, September 16th was a beautiful, hot day and we estimate over 1,000 people came out for Rochester’s first annual VegFest at Martin Luther King Jr. park downtown.

There were 43 vendors, nine speakers, and we showed the film What the Health.  There was a huge raffle, kids activities, tons of food, and free samples.  We heard from many people that they decided to go vegan after attending, and I think everybody found new favorite companies and organizations.

Everyone is looking forward to Rochester VegFest 2018!