We’re heartbroken to learn that a member of Seattle’s vegan community has killed himself.
Of course, he belonged to many communities — family, friends, people who saw him regularly but were acquaintances — and that means a lot of very painful grieving is happening now. Our love and wishes for healing go out to everyone whose lives he touched and who is hurting.
It’s also a good time to remember that suicide is something we can and should talk about — that expressing what’s in our hearts at a time like this can help us heal and eventually motivate us to find out more about suicide’s warning signs and what we can do about them.
As Veda Stram, an animal rights activist from Camano Island, wrote when she learned of this recent death, “My only relationship with him was as a customer at Vegan Haven, where I volunteer one day a week. I probably saw him each and every time I volunteered….. My writing this is to BEG, ENCOURAGE, URGE anyone in whatever we call ‘our vegan community’ to let us know if you’re in trouble.”
The world would be a better place if that were true in all communities — if people felt they could talk about their suicidal thoughts and feelings, and if they could get meaningful, professional help when they did.
Like many people who’ve known someone who’s died by suicide, Veda said she keeps revisiting her interactions with him and wondering what she “should have seen, could have done, might have ignored.” (See below for bereavement resources.)
Most people who kill themselves do exhibit warning signs. Tragically, most of us are unaware of these signs until it’s too late. It’s not a failing of any one person, but a failure of our social system that we are not taught about suicide prevention. People die as a result, and the people who grieve them have an added burden of confusion and guilt.
The sliver of good news is that becoming aware of suicide and its effects can spur change: It can encourage people to learn about suicide prevention, to learn that it’s okay to ask someone if they’re considering suicide. The question itself, asked from a place of caring, will not make someone who’s not suicidal suddenly start to consider it — and that question could end up saving a person’s life.
Here’s a list of warning signs:
Talking about suicide or a wish to die
Talking about feeling trapped, desperate, or needing to escape from an intolerable situation
Feelings of being a burden to others
Losing interest in things, or losing the ability to experience pleasure
Becoming socially isolated and withdrawn
Acting irritable or agitated
Showing rage, or talking about seeking revenge for being victimized or rejected, whether or not the situations the person describes seem real
If you’re concerned about someone, it’s important to take it seriously. Here’s what you can do:
Don’t tell the person to “stop being dramatic” or to “get over it”
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1.800.273.8255) with the person you are concerned about
Go to a local hospital emergency department with the person you are concerned about
Call 911; identify yourself and explain your concern
You can also encourage professional counseling by:
Calling your local crisis line, 2-1-1, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1.800.273 .8255) for resources in your community
If the person has medical insurance, check to see what providers are covered by their plan
Go with the person to their first counseling appointment
There are more resources at Forefront (a good thing UW funds), including resources for people who are bereaved by suicide, also known as “suicide survivors.” That can include anyone who knew the person who died, even peripherally.
Suicide is a shock that can bring out the most desperate, heart-breaking words and behavior. It can also lead to powerful familial, social, systemic change.
Check out NARN’s monthly letter-writing parties, where we supply the stationery, stamps, pens and sample letters — and you supply the penmanship.
Pick your passion: Letters to prisoners, to SKANSKA execs, to UW regents, to city council members, to Xfinity Arena management for hosting the rodeo. Or thank companies, organizations and people who have championed animal-friendly policies.
Even better, there’s food involved.
The next letter-writing party is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 25, at the Veggie Grill in South Lake Union (446 Terry Ave N).
Help Animals India is having its first-ever Seattle benefit for India’s animals.
Date: October 17, 2015
Time: 5 pm
Cost: $15 (tickets available here)
Location: Culture Shakti Dance, Seattle
Despite some of the best animal protection laws in the world and a renowned heritage of reverence for life, modern India is a country where millions of animals suffer severe neglect or abuse.
Overpopulation, poverty, pollution, superstition, apathy and ignorance all contribute to their plight. In a country where human misery and impoverishment remain high, the welfare of destitute animals is a low priority.
Help Animals India is a Seattle-based non-profit dedicated to improving the welfare of animals in India by raising money for dedicated Indian animal protection groups and advising them on how to improve their capacity to help the animals.
Join them for a fun evening of Indian Dance Performance by the Dancers of Culture Shakti, Indian and World Vibes Music by Dj Seanuman, Mystic Kombucha on Tap, and a Catered Silent Auction with Items from local businesses.
Delicious Food Provided by Chaco Canyon, The Shop Agora, & Cupcake Royale.
ALL proceeds go the benefit Help Animals India
Can’t make the event? Please consider donating - any amount helps!
This Sunday, October 12, from 12:30pm – 4 pm, NARN will be hosting Animal Activism 101!
If you’ve never done any animal activism, you’ll leave the session with specific ideas on what you can do to make the future brighter for animals.
If you are a newer activist, you’ll learn new tips, tricks, and best practices not only from NARN, but from other activists locally and around the world.
And if you’re a seasoned activist you’ll leave the session with new contacts and rejuvenated to keep doing your best for animals.
We’ll also discuss various campaigns going on in the Seattle Area.
Light snacks and beverages provided. Everyone welcome.
Y at Cascade People’s Center
309 Pontius Ave N, Seattle, Washington 98109
Wondering how you can help animals this weekend? Wonder no more. This weekend in jam-packed with amazing opportunities to help animals.
October 2nd (today)
Today is World Day for Farmed Animals. It’s a time to fast, learn, and educate others on the plight of the 10 billion animals this country eats every year.
This afternoon is the March on UW. At 2 pm, at The University of Washington’s Red Square, hundreds of animal rights activists will march against the university’s plans to build a new animal testing lab. Please join us!
This evening is the circus demo in Everett. Help us educate circus-goers that animals do not belong in the circus.
October 3rd (tomorrow)
The Global March for Elephants, Rhinos, and Lions is happening from 1-2:30 pm tomorrow in downtown Seattle. The march starts at Westlake Center and is part of a worldwide effort to save wild animals from poaching.
October 4th (Sunday)
Another circus demo is Everett begins at 11:30 am. Please join us and let Ringling Bros. know that we won’t stand for animal abuse.
To remind people that circus animals continue to suffer mightily, NARN is running ads on 14 King County Metro buses — and it’s costing $2,782.90.
Please help us fund this campaign with your donation.
We’d also love for you to join us at these peaceful, informative demonstrations outside Ringling Brothers Circus performances at Xfinity Arena in Everett this week: Oct. 1 (5:30 p.m.), Oct. 2 (5:30 p.m.), Oct. 3 (10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.), Oct. 4 (11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.).
Although Ringling Brothers recently said it will stop using elephants in traveling shows, it plans to work them for the next three years, which is unacceptable.
Sadly, circuses have a long history of abusing, neglecting and overworking their animal performers. Behind the glamour and spectacle, hidden from the crowds, the animals are kept in pitiful conditions and treated without any respect for their physical, social and mental needs.
Elephants are particularly abused. They begin training as calves, separated young from their mothers, beaten, prodded with sharp metal hooks (called “bullhooks”), and electrocuted with charged wands to make them submissive and to force them into uncomfortable and unnatural physical poses.
As gigantic and intelligent animals, elephants require tremendous space for mental and physical stimulation. Wild elephants walk up to 30 miles every day, but circus elephants live their entire lives chained to the floor, often in the dark and standing in their own excrement.
It is up to us to speak for these victims of abuse and to create a better world for all earthlings. Thank you for your support!
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is traveling the state this fall seeking public comments to help determine what values and priorities will drive the department over the next several years.
These meetings will help identify changes in WDFW’s operations and services and help shape policy, budget and fee proposals. The department’s press release says it wants to strengthen relationships with “anglers, hungers, outdoor recreation groups and others interested in fish and wildlife in Washington.”
Let’s let them know what we think — in person and in writing.
They’re taking written comments through October on the department’s website and via email (WildFuture@dfw.wa.gov) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/WashingtonFishWildlife). Public meeting information is below.
There are so many issues, but here’s a start:
Please take a few minutes to let WDFW know what’s important to you when it comes to Washington wildlife, and if you can, attend one of these public meetings, all scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.:
Sept. 30: Center Place, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley
Oct. 6: WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd, Mill Creek
Oct. 8: Saint Martin’s University, Norman Worthington Conference Center, 5300 Pacific Ave SE, Lacey
Oct. 14: Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver
Oct. 20: Port of Chelan County Confluence Technology Center, 285 Technology Center Way, Wenatchee
Each meeting will include a brief presentation by a WDWF regional director, then participants will break into small groups to chat with department representatives. The department will summarize the comments and suggestions later this year.
Here’s a photo of WDFW Director Jim Unsworth, who started in January. He’s the one who’s making the effort to ask for feedback, which is commendable. Hi, Jim!
Last spring, in a two-minute exchange without prior notice to the public, members of the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to raise the cougar-hunting quota by 50 to 100 percent in areas of Washington.
Bigger quotas mean more cougars will die. The quotas are in areas where wolves also live, and will allow trophy hunters to devastate Washington cougars.
Studies show that over-hunting cougars increases both human conflicts and livestock depredations and is a poor way to manage wildlife.
Please call Gov. Inslee immediately at 360-902-4111 and ask him to reverse this harmful decision made by the Fish and Wildlife Commission.
After you call (please don’t skip that crucial step), you can click this link for more info, and to submit a follow-up letter.
By and large, Washingtonians disapprove of the inhumane methods of trophy hunting. This expansion of cougar killing goes against the wishes of Washington voters.
Friday, October 2, is a big day for animals — a trifecta of sorts for people wanting to do something to help animals used for research, entertainment and food all in one day.
It’s also World Day for Farmed Animals, and even if you’re protesting at UW or in Everett, there are things you can do to acknowledge the day and make a difference for pigs, cows, chickens and other farmed animals:
The rodeo and the circus are coming to Puget Sound over the next few weeks — two great opportunities to educate people about the cruelty involved in using animals for public entertainment.
This rodeo is this weekend at the state fair in Puyallup. Rodeos commonly use something called a “hotshot” — an electrical jolt — to get animals riled up while they’re in the chute. While in the ring, the animals often wear “bucking straps” that burn their abdomens and groins and make them buck. That’s what you can’t see; then there’s calf roping and other obvious torments.
You can help educate people who aren’t aware of the pain, injury and deaths caused by rodeos by attending a demo this weekend:
When: Saturday, Sept. 12, noon to 2 p.m.
Where: Meet at corner of 9th Ave SW & 4th St SW, Puyallup WA
Its cruelties are well-documented, and earlier this year Ringling Brothers said it will stop using elephants in shows — although the animals will be retired to Ringling’s breeding facility. Ringling also uses big cats and other animals in its shows (it does not bring the big cats to Puget Sound).
You can help educate people about the torment that animals suffer in the circus at these demos just before each circus show in September and October:
ShoWare Center in Kent
When: Sept. 24 (5:30 p.m.), Sept. 25 (5:30 p.m.), Sept. 26 (10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.), Sept. 27 (11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.)
Xfinity Arena in Everett
When: Oct. 1 (5:30 p.m.), Oct. 2 (5:30 p.m.), Oct. 3 (10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.), Oct. 4 (11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.)
Sign up for these events on NARN’s Facebook page — or just meet us there!