The importance of collective liberation

We are continuously striving to better align ourselves in the fight for collective liberation. We recognize the interconnectedness and the intersection of all oppressions, human and nonhuman.

Intersectionality is a very important part of activism and an integral part of ASM’s ethos. It is collaborative with other causes and strengthens our position in working towards a fairer world for all.

As a global organization many of our members experience injustice first hand. We feel it is our duty not to ignore their plight and to also create space and learn from their insight to help strengthen our organization and movement.

Collective liberation glossary

Climate Justice
Climate chaos is fueling inequality and in particular racial injustice. Climate justice acknowledges climate change has differing social, economic, public health, and other adverse impacts on underprivileged populations. It frames the climate crisis as both an ethical and political issue, putting vulnerable people and communities at the heart of decision making. It is informed by science and acknowledges the need for equitable distribution of the world’s resources.

Environmental Racism
African American civil rights leader Benjamin Chavis coined the term “environmental racism” in 1982, describing it as “racial discrimination in environmental policy-making, the enforcement of regulations and laws, the deliberate targeting of communities of colour for toxic waste facilities, the official sanctioning of the life-threatening presence of poisons and pollutants in our communities, and the history of excluding people of colour from leadership of the ecology movements”.

Environmental racism can take many forms, from workplaces with unsound health regulations to locating slaughterhouses and industrial animal agriculture facilities close to predominantly non-white communities. It can mean citizens drinking contaminated groundwater, growing food in contaminated soils, or pollution of the air that they breathe.

Eco Feminism
Ecological feminism looks at the connection between the oppression of women and the domination of nature. It emphasizes the importance of the interrelationship between humans, non-humans and the Earth.

Ecofeminism's intersectionality leaves no one behind. All people are equal regardless of their race, citizenship, status, gender, or sexuality. Ecofeminism recognizes that the same mindset that causes gender-based violence and women's oppression leads to racism, colourism, sexism, speciesism, homophobia and climate chaos. It’s only when we unlearn oppression and domination that we will stop destroying our only habitat and all its inhabitants.

Social Justice
Social justice is a concept that centers on fairness and equality, and where every individual matters. It means the rights of citizens are recognized and protected, and decisions are made in a fair and honest way. All people should have equal access to wealth, health, well-being, justice, privileges, and opportunity regardless of their legal, political, economic, or other circumstances.

The civil rights movement beginning in the 1950s and led by Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most well-known examples of social justice. Advocating for racial equality the efforts resulted in radical changes to the U.S. economy and society in subsequent decades, including the introduction of the Civil Rights Act, which outlaws businesses from discriminating against legally protected groups.

Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter is a global movement working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise. The aim is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence and deadly oppression inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. It is an inclusive and spacious movement and affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, undocumented folks, folks with records, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum.

Food Justice
Food justice is a holistic and structural view of the food system that sees access to healthy food as a basic human right. It also advocates for an end to the structural inequities that lead to unequal health outcomes.

In some cases, there is an intersect between environmental and food justice. For example, many industrial agriculture farms and processing plants, which pollute neighboring communities’ water and air are situated in communities that are predominantly inhabited by people of color.

Vegan Mutual Aid
In systems of mutual aid, communities take on the responsibility for caring for one another, rather than forcing individuals to fend for themselves or waiting for the Government to fix things. Vegan mutual aid organizing is volunteer-run and involves the distribution of healthy vegan whole foods and other essential items within underserved communities. There is a co-benefit in that it provides support to those who lack access to healthy food but also gives a boost to ethically run local vegan businesses.

Food Desert
Food deserts exist where access to affordable, healthy food (especially fresh fruits and vegetables) is restricted or nonexistent due to the absence of grocery stores within convenient traveling distance. Economic forces have driven grocery stores out of many cities, meaning some shopping trips may require taking several buses or trains. The other defining characteristic of food deserts is socio-economic: that is, they are most commonly found in black and brown communities and low-income areas. Wealthy districts tend to have more supermarkets than poor ones and white neighborhoods contain more than predominantly black ones.

Food choices are severely limited by the options available and what is affordable. Many food deserts contain an overabundance of fast food chains selling cheap “meat” and dairy-based foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt. Processed foods (such as snack cakes, chips and soda) typically sold by corner delis, convenience stores and liquor stores are usually just as unhealthy.