A Voice for the Voiceless – A Journey of an Animal Rights Campaigner

A Voice for the Voiceless – A Journey of an Animal Rights Campaigner

Humans are the most evolved race. That’s what we all learned growing up. Thus, I always felt like finding a reason behind the human race is the most evolved. I felt securing the highest level among the evolved species has left us with a greater understanding of things and thus we should be the ones to preserve the living beings and maintain the perfect harmony on earth. But as I grew up, I faced the reality of the higher levels of evolved species oppressing the lower levels. And we do it beyond just the basic need mentioned in the food chain.

We do not think twice before hurting an animal. Be it unknowingly, knowingly, or just to fill our stomachs. Be it the recent case of the pregnant elephant dying in Kerala due to the consumption of cracker laced fruit, or a monkey being hanged in Telangana just for a few laughs which were even taped for earning viewerships. Now that you are reading, you may feel bad. But we stooped even lower when the news of a pregnant goat dying surfaced in the media after being gang-raped by 8 men in Haryana. Yes! That’s what the reality of the most evolved species is.

We all read such news, some of us feel bad, some don’t, and as we turn the pages of our newspaper, we tend to turn our back to these lost souls. But there are people who go great lengths and speak up for these voiceless creatures as they do live in the ideology that we should protect them rather than devour or harm them.

One of them is Agustina. Hailing from Delaware, USA, this young woman is taking every possible measure to make the lives of animals better. I had the great pleasure of interviewing her, and the interview went on as follows:

1. Could you please tell us about yourself and what you do?

My name is Agustina Belen Sosa Casañas. I am 25 years old. I am Latina (born in Uruguay). I am an immigrant in the United States. I am a Dreamer. I grew up always appreciating anything I have and achieve because my family and I were never handed anything and as a family, we have hit pretty rough patches in life. I am a recovering addict and am proud to share my recovery story with anyone who needs to hear it in order to help them in recovery.

I am an artist and have a passion for body painting/SFX makeup. My upbringing has made me strong and determined, which I think, eventually led to where I am in life today. I am a full-time activist who does advocacy work in many different forms for animal and human rights. I am vegan. I believe in collective liberation, which means that no one is free until we are all free.

2. So, how did it all begin?

My dive into full-time activism began over 2 years ago, right around the time I became vegan. I quickly realized that if I believe that humans deserve justice and freedom, animals do as well. I made the connection between the food I was eating and the animals who are killed in the process and realized that it was wrong and unnecessary for me to continue to live a life where my morals were not all the way aligned. I have to say, being vegan and advocating for collective liberation every day is the most free-ing thing. When I became vegan, I immediately began to research ways that I can help animals. I learned about different organizations and animal sanctuaries and began attending public protests, vigils, tabling events, volunteer days, etc.

3. What is the main focus of your activism?

My main focus with my advocacy work is to achieve true freedom for animals and humans. The oppression that still lives on in this world affects too many of us and I believe that if we all did our part in some way to tackle it, we can eventually dismantle it.

4. How are you working towards the cause?

The advocacy work I do ranges. I use my social media platform as a way to educate the public and provide information and calls to action on different issues related to animal and human rights. I am a volunteer supervisor with Challenge 22 (a free mentor support system that helps people who are interested in veganism). I am an animal rescue coordinator, which means I help find sanctuary placement for animals who are rescued from industries like the meat, dairy, egg industries, and any other industry that animals are exploited in. I organize local public protests and tabling events. I also organize campaigns that target
specific industries and companies that people can take part in from home through social media and emailing/calling legislators.

I host fundraisers for animal sanctuaries to make sure they have the proper funding to care for the animals who live free from harm at their sanctuaries. I volunteer at my local animal sanctuary called Rancho Relaxo and am a member of their Community Outreach Committee which works to build bridges to different
communities and open doors for them to come volunteer and spend time with the animals at the sanctuary and learn more about them and why veganism is important. I am also constantly researching and taking action for immigrant rights and am planning on going back to school to pursue my dream of becoming a lawyer so that I can defend immigrants who need representation as well as activists who also fight for animal and human rights.

5. What are the challenges that you face (political, personal, societal, etc)?

I honestly can’t say. I have many challenges I face because I do not give them too much of my attention. One can say that because I am undocumented, that would be the biggest challenge for me. I did face that in the beginning when I made the decision of becoming a full-time activist. I do risk my safety by doing the work I do every day, however, I promised myself that I would not let fear hold me back from doing the right thing. At a recent Black Lives Matter rally I attended, one of the speakers said something that resonated with me and I will carry with me for the rest of my life. He said find something to die for, you are dying already.

   

6. Are you involved in any other activism?

Along with animal rights activism, I do advocacy work for immigrant rights, including the fight to make sure DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) stays forever and is not removed. I am also involved with Black Lives Matter and will continue to fight for justice and equality for the Black community until we achieve that.

7. How do you plan to reach out to a bigger population in the future with your work?

For now, I hope that the work I do is reaching those that need to see and hear it. I hope that the ones I am fighting to see that they do have people out there who see, hear, and care about them. I have not put much thought into how I can have my advocacy work reach a bigger population, but maybe one day it will. I know that social media is very helpful if used for the right reasons.

8. Lastly, would you love to share some thoughts on animal rights with our readers?

My thoughts on animal rights are simply this: when you no longer see animals as a food source or commodity, when you see an animal for who they are, as an individual with their own personality, wants, and needs, you will then know how vital it is for you take a stance against animal oppression and in turn, speak up for them. Animals have a voice, we as a society choose not to listen to them. We must not only listen to their voices but do our best to amplify them.

My social media information:
Instagram: @augustbelen
To support my activism: patreon.com/augustbelen

The wholesome conversation with this woman made me realize something which I always felt but was not able to realize completely that this planet is not just for the human race. Our mother earth belongs as much as to all creatures as it belongs to us. I feel as long as we don’t realize that the other species are also capable of feeling like us and that they aren’t just another as good as non-living objects for us, we won’t realize the importance of saving them. Augustina’s words went beyond animals as she told us about her protests against the current racism that people are suffering from. This made me feel that only by understanding the importance of each life, however small or insignificant it might seem to one, we can create a faultless and
sustainable planet, which all livings can call their HOME.

We are with you, Augustina! It would be an honour for the TSC team to spread your words of awareness and
compassion to as many as we can in our journey of looking forward to a better and brighter tomorrow. I hope this article was as insightful for our readers as it was for us. If you enjoyed this article, please leave a like and a comment. Do let us know what other stories you would like us to cover.


Read More: ‘Water For Voiceless’: Bengaluru Residents Keep 500 Water Pots To Quench the Thirst of Stray Animals in Summer

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