Meet NARN

NARN Board

 

Rachel Bjork

Where did yRachel Bjorkou grow up?
Seattle! I am a rare Seattle native. I am lucky to have grown up on Capitol Hill in the heart of Seattle. I am grateful that my parents sent me to schools with a diverse student population, and that I learned to enjoy and learn from people that are different from me.

Why vegan?
I become vegan in 2000. I had previously been a slow convert to vegetarianism because I thought it was healthier. After coming back home from attending college out of state, I started going to EarthSave potlucks in Seattle and watched a few videos about what happens to dairy cows and layer hens. I learned that not only were eggs and dairy unhealthy, but what happened to animals raised or food was just horrible. I just knew I couldn’t be a part of something so awful. Simply not contributing to such injustice seemed like the least I could do.

Why animal rights activism & why NARN?
Since I was in High School, I knew that I wanted my life to matter and to me, that meant working on making the world a better place. I wanted to do what I could to change the world for the better.  I am not happy sitting back and allowing injustice to happen. I love being involved with NARN because we believe in community, inclusion, that animal activism is a social justice movement and that a variety of tactics are necessary in order to achieve Animal Liberation. I love being a part of a wonderful community that is always striving to do better.

What inspires you? 
Other activists! Not the superstars of the movement, but the everyday “average” folks that spend their free time fighting for the animals.

CC Chan

CC ChanWhere did you grow up?
I was born in Hong Kong and moved to the States when I was 8. I spent most of my life in Cleveland, OH. The winters there became so unbearable that I packed my car, and drove cross country to Seattle with my mini schnauzer, Taro in 2013 and never looked back!

Why vegan?
I researched and learned all about animal testing, animal experimentation during my college years and was disgusted at the idea how animals were being exploited this way. Little did I know, the seeds were being planted all these years, my college roommate was vegetarian. Bit by bit, I made the connections between living compassionately and what that means in terms of my diet. At the end of the college, I went back and forth between being a vegetarian and a pescatarian for several years.  Somehow, I felt something was still missing. After finding a support group and participating in Farm Sanctuary’s Walk for Farm Animals, I dove in to veganism in the summer of 2011.

Why animal rights activism & why NARN?
In November of 2011, I volunteered at an orphanage in Tanzania. After witnessing the lack of resources and hunger of the children there, I returned home wanting to do more. I started to question why we use animals as an inefficient grain converter. The trip opened my eyes to a more holistic view of veganism. I wanted to be the voice for all the animals, the people, and our planet. It became a strong social justice issue that I must no longer sit in silence and need to speak up against.  NARN represents all of that, advocating compassion through kindness and inclusion.

What inspires you?
People! I love connecting with and learning from each and every person. No matter how different our interests and beliefs may appear, we should always strive to seek our common humanity in each other.

Jake Conroy

Jake Conroy

Where did you grow up?
I was raised in New England and moved to Seattle in 1995.  I spent 6 years here before moving around the country to support various animal rights campaigns.  Finally, in 2016, I managed to plant roots again in the Seattle area and couldn’t be happier.  

Why vegan?
I became vegan in 1995 because I just knew it was the right thing to do.  It was a way to rebel against, and say ‘no’ to, the animal industrial complex every single day of my life.  It was a way to continually illustrate to others and remind myself of the passion I had to end the exploitation of non-human animals.  As I became more aware of how our food choices effect not just non-human animals, but humans and the environment, veganism made more sense.  Ultimately, its a way eat my ethics while trying to dismantle the broader roots of the issues through corporate campaigning.  

Why animal rights activism & why NARN?
In 1996 I knew that being vegan wasn’t going to be enough for me to make the change I wanted to see in the world.  One day while walking to school, I passed a protest against animals in entertainment.  I smiled and nodded as I passed, but my inner monologue told me to turn around.  I walked back to the protest, asked what they were up to, and how I could learn more.  They told me to look them up in the Yellow Pages.  When I got home later that day I grabbed the Yellow Pages, and sure enough, listed under “animal rights organizations” was one name – Northwest Animal Rights Network.  That weekend I went down to Key Arena and participated in my first demonstration for animals, and never stopped. All these years later, i’m excited to join back up with NARN.  

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by those who push forward every single day against the odds.  Those who continue to grow and build community, who do the work to further the idea of collective liberation.  Those who do what’s right, as opposed to what’s easy.

Adam Farmer

Adam FarmerWhere did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Cleveland, OH. Cleveland has a great vegan community and is more vegan-friendly than people might think. But I was ready for a change, and things fell into place for a move to Seattle in 2015, so I went for it and am so glad I did!

Why vegan?
I initially went vegan for the health benefits, but as an animal lover, that issue had been in the back of my mind for a long time. Once I made the choice to go vegan I started reading as much as I could, not just on the health issue, but also the animals and environment. Once I learned of the extreme cruelty we unnecessarily inflict on animals, I knew I would be vegan for life and that became my primary motivation.

Why animal rights activism & why NARN?
Non-human animals can’t speak or fight for themselves, so we need to be their voice. I believe most people are compassionate and do not want to harm animals, they just don’t fully make the connection between their choices and the harm caused by those choices. I love NARN’s welcoming approach to informing and educating. NARN is extremely inclusive and strives to show the connection between the oppression of animals and other social justice issues. In the end, veganism is an issue of social justice.

What inspires you?
People making changes! Whether it’s the excitement and enthusiasm of a new vegan ready to get out there and change the world, or someone newly curious and wondering how they can start making small positive changes in their life, people everywhere are making a difference.

Maria French

Maria FrenchWhere did you grow up?
I’m originally from Detroit, and then later about about an hour outside Detroit. But I have been in Seattle for more than a dozen years. Can I call myself a Seattleite yet?

Why vegan?
I was 12 when I received a simple letter in the mail from an animal rights group. It talked about basic animal welfare issues –  dogs and cats being killed in shelters simply because they were homeless and animals experimentation in the makeup industry. Until then I could never imagine we as a society would be okay with animals being treated that way. It made me curious to learn more and completely reevaluate what I thought to be true regarding our relationship with animals.

Once I learned about factory farming I knew I wanted no part in that. I went vegetarian (now 20+ years ago) and then finished transitioning to vegan in 2005 while I was still in the Navy.

Why animal rights activism & why NARN?
My mom says my first protest was when I was about 6 years old and I caused a big scene at the Aquarium about some live fish being fed to other fish. I apparently felt it was very unfair they didn’t have any chance of getting away and wanted to make sure everyone knew it. I think as a young kid I heard the expression somewhere “If you’re not a part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem” and it really resonated with me. In elementary school I was drawn to books like “101 Ways for Kids to Save the World” (it mainly talked about Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle). It was a sense of responsibility that never went away. While there are other causes I am passionate about as well, the thought of innocent lives being made to suffer and when they had no voice to speak for themselves is particularly painful. I was particularly drawn to NARN because of it is a volunteer driven organization with a welcoming atmosphere and coalition building nature. I love that NARN is inclusive, recognizes that there is no “one way” to advocate for animals and really fosters the message that anyone can create change in the world. Whether you prefer letter writing, or tabling, or leafleting, or demos… NARN provides some way that each one of us can be in contribution to animals.

What inspires you?
Working with NARN, I feel very privileged I often get to meet amazing, compassionate people that inspire and motivate me, but also give me hope. They are shining examples of the goodness in people and remind me that it is possible to create a more peaceful future.

Tasha Walston

Tasha WalstonWhere did you grow up?
I grew up in the cornfields of rural Illinois, though I’ve been in Seattle since 2000.  I’d like to think I did a good portion of my “growing up” since I’ve been in the PNW.

Why vegan?
Veganism is a moral baseline for me. It was a change I could make right away that would allow me to be more consistent about being compassionate and lessening suffering in the world.  The shift happened when I read Carol Adams in college as a vegetarian. Adams argued people can eat veal because it’s called veal and not “butchered pieces of baby anemic cows;” in that moment, the unconscious mental gymnastics we do to keep eating animals without feeling too bad about it became irreversibly visible to me. I could no longer participate.

Why animal rights activism & why NARN?
The ongoing abuse of animals is an issue that doesn’t get much consideration in general activism circles and that absolutely must change. NARN does a great job of combatting that blind spot with its inclusive, compassionate approach.  Because NARN is a coalition-building network that focuses both on vegan outreach and animal rights activism, I felt right at home from the moment I attended my first letter-writing party.

What inspires you? 
My children, who wake up every day stoked on life and have never NOT been vegan.  I think not eating animals is very intuitive for most kids and I love to hear them talk through those issues with friends and family.  Dogs inspire me, too, because so many suffer so much at the hands of humans and are still willing to open their hearts to the right people.

NARN Advisory Board

The Advisory Board continues to evolve since its birth in the summer of 2015. Some of the ways the Advisory Board contributes to NARN’s overall mission:

  • Advising on annual plan of campaigns and activities
  • Act as a “subject matter expert“ and contribute to training information or events
  • Promoting NARN events and fundraising
  • Advise on sensitive or important social justice issues or represent an under represented
  • And more!

NARN Team

The NARN Team are some of our amazing volunteers that have committed to taking on and managing specific campaigns or areas of focus.

  • Melissa Allison, Blogger
  • Jim Becker, Leafleting and Demo Assist
  • Michael Crouch, Volunteer CPA and VIP Record Keeper
  • Alyne Fortgang & Nancy Pennington, Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants
  • Shel Graves, NARN Tweeter
  • Bethany Ionta, Button Maker & Communications (and more)
  • Barb Levy, Graphic Designer
  • Jenna McDavid, Letter Writing Coordinator
  • Amity May, Vegan Mentor Program Coordinator
  • Amelia Michlig, Web and UX Design and Programming
  • Anca Scaesteanu, Merchandise Coordinator
  • Bryan Schultz, Meetup.com and Tech Support
  • Adam Ef, Volunteer Program Coordinator
  • Jean White, Blogger
  • Gabe Yoachum, NARN Newsletter and Tech Support

Get Involved

Have a skill set you’d like to use to help animals? Reach out & let us know! We are a volunteer driven organization and are always looking for people enthusiastic about doing what they can to help animals.

Get Involved