Once a month in Richmond, California at Unity Park, there is a unique and special event that takes place which brings the community together. Every month with the courtesy and support of Rich City Rides, a pop-up of vendors come together that serve vegan and or alkaline food, and different arts and crafts are on display and for sale made by the local community and others.
The event is organized by Suzzy and Kitty from Direct Action Everywhere (DXE), Rich City Rides, and the vendors. The pop-ups are intended to facilitate community building in Richmond, to showcase the importance of activism, to share vegan and alkaline foods, and to give people of color a chance to promote their businesses.
As you walk through the event, you will notice most of the vendors are people of color. You will see a beautiful orange food truck for mango drinks and snacks, then the tents that have vegan pizza, burritos and tacos, asian inspired dishes, plants for sale, fresh juices, vegan pastries, vegan cookies, vegan almond or cashew brittle, alkaline noodle dishes and sandwiches, whistles and jewelry made by indigenous tribes from Mexico, vegan cheese, fresh coconut water, handmade jewelry, and many more wonderful things to eat and look at.
Suzzy from DXE was kind enough to provide some insight into why the pop-up events are organized the way they are. Suzzy explained that the events mostly focus on having people of color as vendors to allow them an opportunity to promote their businesses, as this is a chance seldom afforded to them as they don’t have the same support or resources. They often are providing for their families through vending. Suzzy noted most other vegan events charge upward from $150 for each table, but the vegan pop-ups at Unity Park in Richmond allow free vending and free entry. Suzzy also shared that the emphasis on having vegan food is to spread awareness of animal welfare.
I asked Suzzy more questions to get to know them, and how they got involved in activism and being vegan. Suzzy became an activist about 7 years-ago after watching a video on Facebook that showed a chicken being killed. They explained this video haunted them, realizing that animals don’t have a choice or a voice. They knew they had to do something, to help others and do better, to use their voice. Suzzy has been working with DXE for about 7 years now on a near daily basis to help animals, and make changes in the world.
I asked how they are able to remain active as an activist, and avoid burnout as they work towards animal and human rights, the environment, and anti-racism. Suzzy explained sometimes they feel negatively impacted by the oppression the system as a whole imposes on all of us, including oppressing animals and the environment. Suzzy feels a responsibility to use any of the energy they have towards fighting against this. Suzzy loves to work with several organizations that are not only for animal rights. This includes climate change awareness, because as Suzzy explained, climate change affects us all, and we are destroying the planet with our lack of mindfulness. They often work on human rights issues that pertain to workers that are in slaughterhouses, as they do not have close to any rights. Also, for the animals in the slaughterhouses as they are in horrible conditions.
Suzzy suggested that sometimes they do get burned out, but they now know the importance of taking a couple of days away to go into nature, or to stay home, and get rest. Suzzy emphasizes that activists also need to think about themselves, because activists need to be healthy mentally and physically to keep going and doing the important work they do. It’s important to check-in with yourself and to remain communicative, especially with friends. Suzzy encourages asking for help and to not view it as being vulnerable, to reach out.
Please contact Suzzy on Instagram @suzzy66 if you’re interested in being a vendor or have questions about DXE and future events.