Nora Kramer

Nora Kramer

Give her a leaflet, a body screen TV, a pen or simply 5 minutes of your attention, and Nora Kramer is a persuasive voice for the animals.

City: San Francisco
Originally from: New York (City and suburbs). Moved here 6 years ago.

Profession: Um, don’t really have one at the moment! Check back with me at a later date.

Companion Animals:

Spanky, the most healthy, beautiful, intelligent (well, definitely healthy and beautiful), and all-around perfect 15-year old vegan Black Lab mix you’re likely to meet. She’s been to her share of protests and was even featured in VegNews! I’m lucky she keeps me around.

How many years have you been vegetarian? 8 years vegetarian, 7 years vegan

What motivated you to make this change?
When taking an environmental science class in college, we watched “Diet for a New America,” a video based on John Robbins’ book. Learning how terribly animals raised for food are treated did it for me, though I was also very compelled by the environmental and social justice arguments, and pleased to learn that I wouldn’t die from not eating meat and dairy. I had never tasted a veggie burger or even heard of soy milk, so I had no clue what to eat at first, but I knew I couldn’t in good conscience ignore what I’d learned.

Activism work (and opportunities for volunteers to help out):
I always seem to have my hands in a bunch of different things and often have a hard time prioritizing and saying no to new projects. This is my New Year’s resolution that I’m hoping to put into effect in May.

Some of them:

  • I run a humane education program called The Empathy Project, for which I do presentations at schools about animal and environmental issues. If anybody is a teacher, student, or parent and is interested in my presenting at their school (in the fall) or wants more info on The Empathy Project, let me know.
  • I coordinate, a website listing local veg-friendly restaurants, grocery stores, caterers, organizations, event listings, and more. Email if you have any suggestions for the site. I’m interested in doing a concerted campaign to expand vegan options at restaurants and would love help in this area from people willing to work with restaurant owners and managers. I would also love help from someone who could do some website updating and someone with good graphics skills.
  • I’m one of the founders and list administrators of BAARN:
  • I table at lots of veg events and show “Meet Your Meat” on the streets of San Francisco. Let me know if you ever want to join me—especially if you’ve got a car!
  • I’ve been working on a project to get vegetarian commercials airing on MTV in various cities across the country. If you’re interested in getting these aired locally and could help with fundraising for this project, let me know.
  • I write lots of letters to the editor.
  • I copy-edit and occasionally write articles for VegNews.
  • I distribute veg leaflets around town.
  • I try to support other activists and events.
  • Other things I can’t think of at the moment.

Who/what inspires you to keep going?
The fact that billions of animals are being tortured, as we sit here at our computers, to be turned into products that pollute our environment and cause loads of human health problems—and that most people have never even questioned eating meat, are totally unaware of how these animals are treated, and have no idea how great vegan food is! It’s up to those of us who know and who care to reach out to those who don’t (yet). Plus, vegetarian activists are an amazing group, and I feel privileged to know and work with and be friends with so many people in the veg community. They inspire me with their incredible dedication, selflessness and creativity.

Other social justice interests:

  • Worked in various capacities on the Matt Gonzalez, Dennis Kucinich, and John Kerry campaigns. 0 for 3. Oy.
  • Currently taking an intensive workshop on anti-racist organizing and challenging white supremacy.
  • Volunteer with People’s Grocery in Oakland, a food justice group that helps to make healthy organic vegetarian food available in low-income communities without access to this food.
  • Anti-war, pro-choice, anti-imperialist; you get the idea.

Long-term goal:

To develop (or be involved in) a camp for kids interested in activism and social change.

Pet peeves:

  • People who show up at demonstrations purely to socialize. They talk to other activists the whole time, actually preventing or distracting these activists from doing outreach. I love to socialize, but there’s plenty of time to socialize after the demo!
  • Environmentalists who don’t “get” animal rights and animal activists who don’t “get” environmentalism.

Favorite restaurant: Golden Era.

Favorite recipe: It’s a tie. I like to call them nutritional yeast pasta and nutritional yeast toast: Make toast or pasta. Add Earth Balance margarine, flax seed oil, and a ridiculous amount of nutritional yeast. Serve and enjoy! (You can tell I love to cook.)

Favorite band: Morrissey/The Smiths

I have an inexplicable love of sports (all the NY teams). Especially football. And baseball. And basketball during the playoffs. A definite guilty pleasure.

Advice to aspiring vegans and activists:
Getting further involved in this cause will be so gratifying. You will be so proud that your actions help animals and actively oppose the outrageous cruelty of animal agribusiness. Meet new and supportive people through BAV, learn as much as you can, experiment with different things, ask lots of questions, do lots of Internet research and learn about different organizations doing great work, remember that even little things you do (like leaving veg leaflets at a vegetarian restaurant or putting a bumper sticker on your car) are important, and be proud of every step you take to help.

Some articles I strongly recommend:

On making the transition:
VegCooking – Making the Transition

On activism:

Vegan Outreach – A Meaningful Life
Vegan Outreach – Vegan Advocacy
GoVeg – Get Active for Farmed Animals
GoVeg – Effective Advocacy: Stealing From the Corporate Playbook

Finally, be sure to thank unsung heroes Tammy and Chris of BAV for all of their amazing work building and supporting our local veg community.

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