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Connections in Advocacy Work

Guest Blog Post by Manuel C. Salas

Back in February, as part of our Valentines from VINE event, some staff and volunteers wrote to Manuel Salas. Besides replying to our letters, Manuel showed his support for the sanctuary by contributing a guest blog post on a topic dear to our hearts: The connections between what might seem to be different struggles. Manuel has been active in several struggles. In prison, he has advocated for people with HIV/AIDS while also engaging in his own effort to force the prison to honor his right to a vegan diet. Here, he explains how he sees the connections between animal rights and struggles for social and environmental justice.

manuel21My name is Manuel C. Salas, a 26 going-to-be-27 year-old animal rights activist. I started writing this paper after I woke up and could not go back to sleep and was thinking about the animals. The history behind this paper is that I was requested by one of my sister’s friends pattrice to show/write about how I see the connections within advocacy work and that is what I want to do within this paper. I want to send my love and thank you to pattrice for her request and getting my mind working on this.

I also want to send my love to the sanctuary for the work they do. They keep our friends safe after a life of torture and hell. Also I want to send my love to Lily for putting a big smile on my face and to all my kids, friends, and supporters—and now let’s get started:

Even behind prison walls I stay strong and use my voice to speak out and expose the injustice—an advocate for animals is what I’m known for, but advocacy is just that if within your heart is a desire to not allow oppression, hurt, or other’s corruption and more, then you will fight and advocate for what you feel is wrong and want to bring change to.

I have advocated for years—animal rights, HIV/AIDS rights and education, and equal treatment mental health care and rights, female rights, prisoner right and lots lots more. The key is not to take on too much and only what you can handle. Fight for what you love and for the ones who do not have a voice first, the animals.

In prison I am forced to take on more than I know I should. The reason for this is because there are few who will stand up against what is going on that is wrong and violates our rights. Few stand up to fight for justice to be given to us, for the injustice placed upon us is not just for one but for all that are being taken advantage of and the torture being placed upon us from our oppressors.

There are a lot of the people in the world that advocate for more then one right at one time. Some just do not have the resources or time to do a lot in a lot of different ways and fight only for the few closest to their hearts.

Now to understand advocating you have to understand what the meaning is to different people—some advocate by speaking and writing about injustice, others hold by direct action, others do it by boycotting what they do not support or believe in. They are all okay; it is just what you are willing to sacrifice.

The fact of the matter is that advocacy work is just that: advocating for justice. We are all being oppressed by someone or something when you really look at it, and until everyone starts advocating for something our way of life will keep going because now in this world it is all about one thing—greed and power. Most people do not think or look at what they support. Most just are about making money and having what they call fun and do not think about the suffering of others. The few who do, my heart goes out to you all. I see it more in prison but a lot on the outside too. Most people think if it is not about them then the hell with it.

Now let me go over something, as I have before. If humans were to go vegan and stop the killing of helpless animals, world hunger would start to come to an end, nature would start to get better as I have put in my other writings….

Animals that feed on grain or rely on grazing require more water than corn crops. According to the USDA growing crops for farm animals requires nearly half of the US water supply and 80% of its agricultural land and animals raised for food in the US consume 90% of the soy crop, 80% of the corn and 70% of the grain. In the tracking of food animal production from the feed to the dinner table the inefficiencies of meat, milk, and egg production range from a 4:1 energy input to output ratio up to 54:1. The result is that producing animal based food is typically much less efficient than harvesting grains, vegetables, legumes, seeds and fruits. —Wikipedia, Ethics of Eating Meat

The facts are that as stated in my other papers: 800 million more people could be fed on the food given to the animals just to fatten them up. Starving humans—mostly children—could be saved, the pain of hunger and injustice could be changed by one simple step and that step is to go vegan.

It’s because of greed that the government wants to keep the selfish killings and oppression going and wants to keep teaching children that it is alright to oppress the animals. What but what they are not teaching children is that by not going vegan they support selfish killing and supporting of injustice of taking a helpless life, starving the poor while giving more food to animals than they would need if they were to eat naturally—just to fatten them up and kill them. It wastes so much food. The facts are clear as day. Parents are teaching their children violence. The environment, nature and all that comes with it means nothing to them. Is that the kind of example people want to show their children? It is true injustice as a whole.

If this is not the kind of life you want to show your children, then stop supporting the oppression and injustice with your actions. It is time to come together and think before we act. A child’s mind is growing and learning: What people show them as being right, that is what they will believe even if it is not true. That is why we must show them the right way not to support oppression and injustice. Some children grow up in life will find out the truth and hate you because you never told them. Remember parents of children, for every gram of meat you feed your children, you’re showing them more and more that murder is okay. It’s like handing them a gun and saying it’s okay to kill if it’s for selfish luxury—because killing animals is the same thing. There is no justified reason to do it. Killing is injustice, just as withholding food from the starving is.

Now I know people might be wondering why I wrote that out in a paper showing connections in advocacy, but if everyone would understand in the few words I wrote I advocated for animal rights, but look deeper and you will also see the connections. I just also advocated for the poor, children, the environment, nature, to stop oppression, to stop the injustice of the government and more all at the same time.

Now you see the connection when an advocate advocates from her/his heart we advocate for more than one thing. Some things get connected and we advocate for more than one fight at a time, there is no just advocating for one because—no matter if you believe it or not—most likely when you advocate for one cause you are also bringing together other advocacy work within the core fight you are fighting for.

If you start to think about and understand the words you use, and the way you put them together, for some advocating will become more fun and easy because they can work for more than one cause at the same time. In more than one of my papers for animal rights, I advocated not only for animal rights but did it in a way that I brought in other subjects I wanted to advocate for at the same time.

For every thing we do in life, there is always an action and a reaction to an action we take, so lets start today with positive actions, so we can start to get positive reactions and not negative ones. Most of the time negative ones do not only effect one person but more than one and sometimes hundreds of people, sometimes millions of people and not only people but the animals my friends, some of my kids get affected too—you see the connection? Everything is.

Now lets look at this: The action of pattrice requesting I write about this caused a connection within advocacy work within a paper she requested. I put together everything in life is connected by one thing or another, think about it. Just as within the circle of life everything in life is connected in one way or another, in life everything must come from something and that is why the connection cannot be broken.

I also have to say I love animal rights activists as they come together, the ones I know advocate for animals, but at the same time advocate for prisoner rights to vegan food, proper medical treatment and more. I love my sister (Sarah) and a person I look at as my brother (Peter) for using their love to advocate for us who have been locked up for speaking about the injustice. And to all not listed, love to you all.

Love to the animals

Love to the sanctuary

And most of all love to my supporters and friends

Visit Support Manuel to learn more about Manuel and how you can support him.

6 comments to Connections in Advocacy Work

  • Donna Reynolds
    Dear Manuel,

    I really like the way you began your article with telling about your sister and Patrice – it grounded me in just why you are on VINE’s site.

    Me, I’m here because I found VINE thru my elephant activist friend who drove 2 pigeons from Connecticut to Vermont in order to save their lives.

    I have never written as many public words as you have here – and you have inspired me tonight! thank you – be well.

  • Dear Manuel,

    Thankyou for all you are doing and sacrificing. I am inspired by your peice above to teach my child veganism.
    Be blessed,

  • Dear Manuel, thank you for these great words! Your message is true: everything is connected, and when we advocate for change on one issue, we are making a better world for all.
    I salute your dedication and passion, and your strength to take on such a large integrated system of oppression. We need 100 of you.
  • pattrice
    Thanks to all who have left words of encouragement for Manuel. We will be sharing any comments left here with him, so please do feel free to add your two cents!
  • CQ
    Dear Manuel,

    What a great example you are to others of how — and why — to advocate for justice in all walks of life. Those watching you — prisoners and guards — are, I trust, inspired by your gentle heart and bold actions, even if they aren’t ready to follow suit or can’t for whatever reason openly show their support.

    May this simple statement by a 19th century woman who freed humanity from enslavement to limiting false beliefs about Life reassure you of the importance and effectiveness of your mission: “Grace and Truth are potent beyond all other means and methods.” ~ Mary Baker Eddy

    Keep shining the light of truth and love upon your fellow beings!

    CQ (editor of

  • thank you so much Manuel for making the connections between all oppressions so clearly.

    thank you do for continuing to advocate for justice even difficult circumstances.

    Peace and strength to you..

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