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Crystal’s Advocacy Internship Reflection

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June 27 2015 Kaia V-1Crystal Kozlak interned at Animal Place in the Education department from May 1-June 30th, 2015.  She visited us from Vancouver, Canada. We wish her great success in her endeavors and know she will continue acting as an ally for farmed animals. Here is her reflection on the experience shared at Animal Place.

Being that I’ve never been to a sanctuary or participated in vegan advocacy or outreach, I wasn’t sure what to expect coming to Animal Place. I am currently pursuing a degree in Mathematics and have been vegan for only 7 months. I came from a background of self-research on the subject of veganism and then learning an immense amount from other activists. In two short months, my experience at Animal Place has led me to develop a radiating confidence about my choice to be vegan and inspired me to continue being active for animals in my community.

I view Animal Place as a sanctuary not only for nonhumans but humans as well. Coming from little external support, this vegan bubble was what I needed. Surrounded by other vegans, I felt safe to express my passion for animals without feeling alone. Attending work potlucks was one of my favorite activities because I didn’t have to worry about the lack of vegan options. Feeling “normal” again has made me realize that having support is crucial to building a foundation for self-confidence. Because of this experience, I am thrilled to build a vegan community back home.

I discovered that a plethora of vegan options at local grocery stores and restaurants creates a comfortable vegan community. Vegan activists can contribute to this environment through discussion with the owner in order to implement a vegan option which suits their store or restaurant. This approach is called restaurant outreach. Until I interned here, I never knew that such a thing existed! After researching the “how-to’s”, I feel motivated to outreach when I return to Vancouver, B.C. Supplying more vegan options could positively affect most people because it accommodates vegans, vegetarians, lactose intolerant, and sometimes gluten free. And after all, the addition of one vegan food item could have a large impact on a consumer’s choice!

Crystal Humane Lobby DayDuring my internship, there were many activities that made me feel involved. Taking part in Humane Lobby Day was one of my favorite. I lobbied in favor of the bill California AB-96 which bans the sale and purchase of ivory from elephants or rhinos. Since I am strongly interested in pursuing animal rights law, this was a fantastic opportunity to utilize my philosophical skills in order to make an active difference in the lives of animals.

This kind of activism is productive, but I believe I’ll greatly influence my family and friends as well now that I’ve gained an immense amount of confidence expressing my veganism. Animal Place was an experience of a lifetime since it truly is the best of both worlds. On one hand, the education department was an important way for me to learn several different tactics for promoting veganism. On the other hand, the sanctuary aspect allows me to easily share the animal’s personal stories with others. I have built friendships with humans and nonhumans who have confirmed my reasons for being vegan. I once avoided moments where others questioned my decision, but I now see it as an opportunity to proudly explain why I’m vegan!

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5 Responses so far.

  1. Frances says:

    Intern Crystal, not only are you an excellent and entertaining writer, you are a tremendous inspiration. I will be passing this lovely article on.

    Thank you.

  2. Michelle says:

    Thank you for all the great work you do and the things you stand up for in the world. The animals are so fortunate to have you on their side.

  3. Georgia says:

    An article in the SF Chronicle prompted me to visit this website. I knew nothing of Animal Place and enjoyed your reflections on your internship tremendously. My husband and I have been vegetarians for years. Time to consider vegan!

  4. margaret gleason says:

    My daughter and I met Crystal on a farm tour at Animal Place. She had started her internship just a few days before. It was serendipitous that we were able to chat and find out that Crystal’s college pursuits were similar to what my daughter is hoping to do. We learned a lot from her in just a few minutes. I was so excited to bump into this article and hear all about her experience at Animal Place and how it’s inspiring her. We need more Crystals in the world!