Rain couldnâ€™t keep hundreds of proud vegetarians, vegans and veg-curious folks from celebrating compassionate living at the annual NYC Veggie Pride Parade on Sunday. With Grand Marshals Chris P. Carrot and Penelo Pea Pod leading the way, marchers wound from the historic Meatpacking District in lower Manhattan to Union Square Park for a host of post-parade festivities.
Vendors gave out food samples, organizations like CAS showcased their animal advocacy work, authors sold their books, and there was a â€œsoapboxâ€ with open mic for people to talk publicly about their food journeys. The main stage was shared by a roster of prominent speakers including CAS Director Kathy Stevens and Farm Sanctuary founder Gene Baur.
All throughout the incredibly diverse crowd, there was one unifying and irrepressible theme â€“ GO VEG NOW, whether you do it to protect the earth, to improve your health, or to protest the horrific cruelty inflicted on farm animals. Expanding on those compelling reasons, Kathy Stevens added another â€œpleaâ€ by urging the crowd to visit sanctuaries and to get to know WHO animals are as individuals â€“ living beings with unique personalities who experience physical pain and feel emotions like joy, loneliness, sorrow, jealousy, and happiness, in the same way that humans do.
It was only my second Veggie Pride Parade, and I hear that the celebration grows significantly every year. Judging from the many folks who spontaneously joined the parade or stopped in the park to listen, and all the smiles and nods (and tears!) during the day, the message of kindness and compassion seems unstoppable.
Check out our photos from the day over at Flickr!