Chris Carter’s letter titled “An Inconsiderate Protest” [Aug. 22, Xpress] regarding the small assembly of activists in a Biltmore Village restaurant during Charles Lee’s “whole hog butchery” cuisine highlights exactly why disruptive tactics are needed in the animal rights movement in the first place. If he had any knowledge of social justice movements, he would understand that most successful ones have used these forms of protest. What about the sit-ins of the civil rights movement? You will probably say this was a worthier cause, because by now our society accepts it as such and merits their courage and their bravery. But these activists were criticized in their day and labeled as extreme, rude and even inconsiderate.
Who are we to tell someone the time, place and manner to speak up about oppression? And what better place than right where it is happening. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from a Birmingham jail, “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.”
As one of the protesters that day, I can say that we had no intention that the patrons of that restaurant would suddenly put down their fork and say, “You’re right.” We believe when your personal choice involves a victim, it should no longer be your choice. We also believe the violence toward animals and our planet that animal products produce is inconsiderate. All of the activists there that night are also involved in activism that is intended to engage in conversations on the streets or fight for legislative change, but this was a different strategy intended to force people choosing to ignore violence to think about it and open dialogue. The fact that Mr. Carter went home and continued to think about our bold action, then took the time to write a letter about it proves that we accomplished our goal.
— Sarah Windle