Rebel with a cause

Written by Awen John

As a compassionate Vegan and a passionate human being, I truly believe that it is imperative that as individuals we are never muted, our voices are powerful and history shows us all that changes happen when people use their voices in opposition of situations and circumstances which are often overlooked and ignored.

The smallest notions have become the greatest movements, the greatest of achievements have all stemmed from the smallest of thoughts, which then become a tangible idea, these then escalate and are carried forward as innovations, which whether in a written text, or spoken in an orated form, touch, reach and inspire others, which then in turn gathers momentum and it is these notions that create changes and alterations to the way in which society views individual circumstances.

As an animal rights activist I am so proud to travel the country and be asked to give talks on a whole host and variety of various topics, speaking out against the oppression and cruelty which the animal kingdom experiences from the majority of humans is my greatest passion and I see it as my vocation in this life.

I first met Jay and Luke, who make up Viva la Vegan around 2 years ago as I purchased a few items of clothing apparel from their stall, which if any of you attend Vegan festivals, will no doubt have come across them. Their designs are totally unique and the slogans each piece carries is always subtle, yet immensely powerful, such is the power of the written word and an image, all of which are designed by Jay herself, increase the power of the words and vice versa.

In June of 2019 I became the brand ambassador for Viva la Vegan, a role which I am incredibly proud to have and with this comes sponsorship, which provides me with apparel of my choosing and as I see them as the most innovative, sustainable, ethical and inspirational Vegan and animal activist apparel company in the UK, I am honoured to wear their range whilst giving talks to the public and also to wear it in my day to day life.

They have a design that subtly says, ‘Rebel with a cause,’ then animal activist written underneath it. The logo on the back in a much larger and bolder font said, ‘Compassion without action is just observation.’

This shirt and its logo totally resonated within me and in those few words, it spoke immense volumes to me, so much so that without realising it to begin with I was wearing this top for every single talk I gave, Jay soon realised this and the moment she told me I quickly assimilated that I had been without knowing, then basically from that moment onwards, it has become my shirt of choice, only now I do know why I choose it.

This slogan imbues and encapsulates my sentiments exactly and it is such a profound, yet subtle statement that anybody who sees it cannot fail to be enthralled and captured by it, so much so that I have lost count of the amount of times I am asked if people can take my picture, only for them to ask me to turn around so that they can photograph the back of my shirt, which is obvious highly amusing, never fails to make people laugh, yet knowing that they have been touched enough by these words and slogan that they have seen me wearing with pride, is immense and again demonstrates how incredibly powerful the written word really is.

What does Compassion without action is just observation mean: – For me personally and I am sure that many would agree with me, compassion is one of and if not the most powerful and pivotal natural traits that any one of us can possess, as children we have this naturally and in abundance and the sheer innocence of children would not wish any harm to come to any being, regardless of which species, colour, creed or race they belong too and are identified as.

As we journey on the road of life, through peer pressure, various indoctrinations and advertisements that are all too mainstream, we can become subdued and almost nonchalant in our acceptance of what we should be pragmatically opposing, such is the strength of all we absorb and are often shown.

Without compassion we could not have pure love, nor heart felt empathy as it is compassion where these other traits stem from, they are symbiotic and all encompassing, so the analogy of compassion without action is true, as without action is in effect standing alongside and on the same side as the oppressor/oppressors. As individuals we are all guardians and caretakers of this earth in which we live, therefore we are all responsible and have a moral obligation to speak out against any and all atrocities and injustices we see and are aware of within this world.

The onus falls at our feet to protect, care for and love all life, it is as simple as that and fundamentally, once we align our core values with our beliefs, then it becomes clear to see that we all need to stand up for the innocent beings of this world and stand against all that is wrong within this world and if we all awaken to this, then so many of the worlds problems would ease and many would cease to be.
As the summer of 2019 continued, this t – shirt, was also made as a long sleeve top and in the Autumn/Winter of 2019, a long sleeve hoodie was created also as I had requested it, a year on and this is still by far my most favoured piece of activist apparel and I believe that it will continue to be my clothing of choice.

John Awen.