The practice of veganism in the USA continues to increase as more people are learning about the benefits of "going vegan." Whether it is to alleviate the suffering of non-human humans, reduce climate change, or to combat animal-consumption related health issues, people become vegan for many different reasons.
Simultaneously, the birth of the USA vegan movement and its current mainstream rhetoric frame veganism in a way that assumes everyone has a white and middle-class relationship to 'the system' (Harper 2013). In the USA, the mainstream population has a low-literacy level of how systemic racism operates in every aspect of society-- including veganism and animal rights spaces (Bhopal 2018, Harper 2010, Harper 2013).
Despite most vegan or animal rights oriented businesses and organizations stating "we are an equal opportunity employer" or "we value diversity", many struggle with operationalizing concepts such as racial equity or anti-racism. Consequently, this lack of critical engagement with racial equity maintains 'segregated' and exclusive vegan spaces. Such spaces literally parallel the same types of racial inequities that have existed since the inception and colonization of what is now called the United States of America (See Harper 2010; Harper 2013; Ko and Ko 2017).
Unless these organizations and businesses learn how to operationalize racial equity within their ethical veganism and/or animal rights goals, they will continue to produce uneven and segregated spaces (spatially and psychically) that negatively impact people of color and humanity's potential for alleviating non-human animal suffering.
A racial equity plan is the key to growth and social impact within animal rights and vegan oriented organizations and businesses.