NARN
Board of Directors

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Cina Ebrahimi

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington.

Why vegan?

I became vegan because it didn’t make sense to me that I was protesting against animal labs and whale hunts while still eating and wearing the bodies of other animals. My interest in animal advocacy came from my belief in equality for all. As a Middle-Eastern person of color who grew up in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks., I knew what it felt to be treated as being inferior. And I still do. Keeping that in mind, I saw no reason for why other people should be treated as inferior based on their species membership

Why animal rights activism & why NARN?

I felt like I wasn’t doing enough for other animals simply by being vegan. Especially since a lot of vegans I’ve met seemed to think that their consumer decisions already counted as activism or didn’t give anti-speciesism the attention it deserves. So I decided I had to do more than just buy certain items when I went shopping.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by people who break from the trend and value doing the right thing over their own personal gain or popularity. Having “radical” or “revolutionary” ideas when it’s popular isn’t the same thing as doing so when it causes you to lose friends or be labeled as some pariah.

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Felecia Soeldner

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest.  We moved to Pt. Townsend from Edmonds when I was in the 2nd grade.  For my junior year of high school, I lived in Johannesburg, South Africa with my family who went as missionaries.  I came back to Pt. Townsend on my own for my senior year to graduate in the States. When I was 21 I moved to Grasse, France for a year as a nanny. When I came back I moved to Seattle and have been here since. I grew up backpacking, camping, and hiking and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.  I love having the water, mountains, and ocean all within driving distance.

Why vegan?

I became vegan for the animals. I had been vegetarian on and off again most of my life.  I did not make the connection with how cruel the dairy and egg industry was until I went on a tour of Pasado’s Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary in Monroe.  They showed a film on factory farming, and then we were able to take a tour of the sanctuary and meet all the residents who had been rescued from the animal agriculture industry.  I met Gabby the pig who acted just like a dog and came running to me to lay down next to me on her side and wanted her belly rubbed. (I am a huge dog lover).  I met the goats who would have been killed as babies because they were males and not needed for the dairy industry. (I used to love goat cheese in my salads). Seeing the size of the battery cages for chickens and how many live in that tiny space.  And meeting the cows was life changing as well. I became vegan that day-August 20th, 2016. I did not want to contribute to any animal pain or suffering just to please my taste buds. After that I did a lot of research on the animal agriculture industry and learned not just of the cruelty of animal agriculture, but of the environmental impact of it as well. I have always loved animals and nature and finally made the connection to live my life according to my values. There are so many more delicious plant based alternative meats and cheeses then there were 30+ years ago!

Why animal rights activism & why NARN?

I want to make a difference by being a voice for the animals by educating and raising awareness on how animals are treated, as well as the environmental impact of raising animals for food consumption, as well as all the sea life that are taken for eating.  I had volunteered a few times with NARN and I like their values and their approach to animal rights activism and education. I wanted to be a part of a positive organization that not only advocates for animal rights, but also for human rights.


What inspires you?

I am inspired by the beauty of nature, and how the earth can heal herself if given the chance. I am inspired by other animal rights activists, giving their time and energy to make the world a better place for ALL beings. And I am inspired by my parents who raised me and my siblings to respect and love nature, as well as giving us the gift of travel to experience other cultures.

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Hannah Thompson-Garner

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Snohomish County, just north of Seattle.

Why vegan?

I am vegan because I wish to reduce the amount of harm and suffering in the world and going vegan is a very direct and personal impact I can change about myself to do just that. Furthermore, individual animal autonomy and sentience is real and valid, and I don’t believe tastebud preferences justify violating anyone’s right to life and personal liberty.

Why animal rights activism & why NARN?

Animal rights as a notion is a step above animal welfare reform; while animal welfare was needed, and steps taken in the past to better animal welfare should generally be applauded, as a society, we are at the point now where we should move beyond basic animal welfare policy and into making changes that truly acknowledge the atrocities that humans inflict on the biological world. Animal rights acknowledges that each animal is their own being, living their own life, and they should be afforded the basic freedom to do so the same way humans strive to allow other humans to do so. Also, NARN seems like a great space to further immerse myself in the animal rights and vegan community here in the PNW.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by travel, art and literature, and a solid bowl of italian pasta.

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Lorrin Maughan

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Zimbabwe and finished high school in South Africa. Then I moved to Australia, where I got a couple of degrees and eventually joined Microsoft. And that’s how I came to Seattle! After leaving Microsoft in 2011, I moved to New Mexico, then did a stint in Kansas before coming back to the Pacific Northwest, with my animal companions.

Why vegan?

Because I love animals, I believe in the power of compassion, and I want to live in alignment with my values.

I grew up carnist, but one day realized the hypocrisy in saying I loved animals if I was eating them. So I went vegetarian but told myself a story that I couldn’t live without milk chocolate and leather shoes. Then I watched “Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home” and the dairy footage shattered me. I went vegan because I realized then, that nothing tastes, looks, or feels good enough to justify what is done to animals in the name of food, fashion, and “fun.”

Why animal rights activism & why NARN?

Why animal rights? Because non humans need allies. They don’t have rights in our society, and humans have been so indoctrinated as a society to look past the oppression and exploitation of non-humans that their suffering is largely invisible or discounted. Because I believe the only path to peace and equity for humans is to embrace compassion for ALL beings and for the planet.

Why NARN?

In a nutshell: The organization’s values, longevity and breadth of programs. I appreciate the constructive and inclusive approach NARN takes to animal rights activism.

What inspires you?

Potential. I think we all have the potential to change and make positive change in the world. I want to help everyone live into that potential.

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Michelle Knight

Where did you grow up?

My parents had problems with money and did a lot of moving around, sometimes in a travel trailer. As a result, I went to six different schools throughout the Northern California foothills and Nevada. When I turned 18 I flipped a coin between Pittsburgh and Seattle and landed here. It turned out to be a lucky coin because I absolutely love the Pacific Northwest.

Why vegan?

Veganism was the first ethical commitment I made as a teenager, and I did so for the animals. 20 years later I am still finding reasons to be vegan. I believe that all forms of oppression and violence are interconnected, and anything that requires taking apart and analyzing our inclination toward harm is a step in the right direction. I don’t think veganism alone will save the world, but it is an integral part of the puzzle.

Why animal rights activism & why NARN?

My hope is that one day we can heal our relationships with other species by learning to respect their autonomy. A big part of that is educating others on their capacity to love, grieve, suffer, etc. I believe that education is activism because I believe that humans are not inherently bad. I believe we want to make the right decisions when we are given the facts. NARN’s focus on educating the public is important work.

What inspires you? 

People who allow themselves to also be inspired; who create, who work tirelessly to support their families, who choose the road less traveled to extend their compassion to others, who go to a natural place to exist in the moment and leave it pristine, who are playfully themselves in the face of confrontation.

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Mike Hines

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Frankfort, Kentucky, spending summers at my grandfather’s farm in south central Kentucky. I went to college in Murray, Kentucky and then moved throughout the US over the years, living in North Carolina, Colorado, Washington and California. I’ve been in Seattle since 2008, but lived in Malta for a short stint in 2012.

Why vegan?

There are so many reasons. I grew up an omnivore. I always loved animals, but had the same cognitive dissonance that abounds in our society. Around 2002 I decided I couldn’t support the torturous nature of industrial animal farms and switched to being a ‘free range’ vegetarian. Two years later I learned that a number of the companies claiming they were raising animals free range were doing horrible things. I also came to the conclusion around the same time that the consumption and use of animals was entirely about convenience and pleasure. I could no longer ethically justify any choice other than veganism.

Since then, I’ve come to understand many more reasons for being vegan, including general ecological impact, human costs in animal agriculture, antibiotic resistant bacteria and general impact of ignoring animal welfare on our society’s mentality.

Why animal rights activism & why NARN?

I’ve done a lot of volunteering and organizing in other areas over the years, primarily focused on race & social justice equity work. I’ve volunteered with NARN several times, but it hasn’t been my key focus. I appreciate NARN’s intersectional and inclusive approach to animal rights activism, and I believe as a society we desperately need both veganism and compassion that isn’t drawn across arbitrary lines.

What inspires you? 

I am inspired by the lengths to which so many passionate volunteers, activists and organizers have gone throughout history to make change where they saw injustice or need. I am inspired by the beauty, complexity and diversity of nature and believe that we have a responsibility to protect it and preserve it for all sentient beings.

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Rachel Bjork

Where did you 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.

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Tara Chase

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in New Jersey. My parents taught us to respect and admire nature, so we spent much time outdoors, hiking and camping. I moved to Washington 7 years ago and I am in love with the beauty and majesty of these mountains!

 

Why vegan?

When I was 19 I saw a flyer promoting veganism, with a photo of a chicken on a factory farm. My brain made the connections and I stopped eating animals immediately because no one should have to suffer or die for me to sustain myself. I called the number on the flyer and got involved with this local animal rights organization. I shared what I was learning with my friends and family – hoping they would change their eating and buying habits as well. They didn’t but I persevered because I do not want to be a part of anyone else’s suffering.
After college I moved to Maine in 1994, and being in my own place helped me be consistently and fully vegan, and I have been ever since – including raising 2 now grown children as vegans. My decision to live as a vegan began with compassion, and soon grew into a health decision (I don’t want dead animals in my or my children’s bodies, that’s just gross) and an environmental decision (factory farms are destroying the earth).

 

Why animal rights activism & why NARN?

The exploitation of animals is incredibly pervasive with rampant abuse and cruelty. So much is unseen by the general public, which perpetuates the industries that profit off of their imprisonment and their bodies (zoos, labs, etc). Animals are vulnerable and need our help if they are to be liberated.
Since I moved to WA 7 years ago, I have been an armchair activist and have attended protests for animal rights’ issues. With my children now grown, I have more time to commit to a larger investment in the fight for animal rights. NARN’s mission is aligned with mine: advocating for the right of all sentient beings to be free from oppression and exploitation.  I hope to contribute to NARN’s efforts and successes in the fight to liberate animals.

 

What inspires you? 

Kindness. More than anything, simple kindness is the most heartwarming thing to witness. This inspires me to believe that humans do have the capacity to expand their mindset and their circle of understanding and compassion.
I am inspired with every victory the movement has attained, from rescued animals to closure of labs to witnessing the produce and health foods’ sections grow in size to people I know changing their diets and shopping habits and moving toward a more cruelty-free lifestyle. I have been involved since 1989, this is a long and awfully difficult struggle so it’s important to recognize when we have made a difference.