“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man of many powerful words – words that I try to live by and strive to accomplish while helping to end animal exploitation. This quote in particular resonated with me because over the course of the past year, since I’ve become vegan and involved in the animal rights movement, there have been so many times that my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. What was I so afraid of? Afraid to make a stand against the majority, afraid that people might alienate me, afraid to – fill in the blank. But, fear is something that I’ve put aside to fight for the justice of the animals and to move toward a more compassionate world.
The Examiner wrote a wonderful article several years ago that so beautifully explains the connection between veganism and Dr. King’s message for equality:
“And today we honor a man whose voice for justice was the most courageous and insightful of the 20th century.
We can’t help but wonder: Would the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. have become a vegan at some point in his life? It’s certainly conceivable that he would have. His son Dexter Scott King, who is president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-violent Social Change, has been vegan for more than 20 years. He once said that vegetarianism is the logical extension of his father’s philosophy regarding non-violence. Coretta Scott King, a tireless activist for social justice, was also a vegan for more than ten years before her death in 2006.
If his wife and son saw the link between animal foods and violence, it’s not hard to imagine that Dr. King would have perceived this connection as well. Writing from the Birmingham jail in 1963, he said ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’
On the King Center website, Coretta Scott King wrote that, while we remember Dr. King himself today, it is also a day that commemorates ‘the timeless values he taught us through his example—the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service…’
A commitment to veganism honors the principles that were at the core of Dr. King’s work.”
As I approach my one year anniversary of being vegan, I’ve been reflecting back when I was contemplating on making this major change. I was scared to do it, but I knew it had to happen. As the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”
On this Meatless Monday, and special holiday, I’m sharing a cruelty-free side dish (or main meal) that’s easy to make and delicious.
Roasted Winter Veggies
- 1 sweet potato, cubed
- 1 green bell pepper, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 red onion, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 cup Brussels sprouts, halved with ends cut off
- 1 zucchini, cut in 1/2 inch quartered pieces
- 1 yellow squash, cut in 1/2 inch quartered pieces
- 1 cup portabella mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tsp each of balsamic vinegar and olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp Bragg’s organic sprinkle (or Italian seasoning)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp each of crushed red pepper and dried basil
- dried parsley and black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar and olive oil on the veggies, coating the veggies well. Add the spices to the veggies, mix well.
- Bake the veggies for 40 minutes, stirring mid-way.