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Lessons for Black History Month

Biographies

Cornel WestCornel West
Renowned author, activist, and social thinker Dr. Cornel West, whose many influential works include the groundbreaking 1993 book Race Matters, has sent a letter to David Novak, the CEO of KFC’s parent company, Yum! Brands, asking that KFC adopt the basic animal-welfare improvements recommended by PETA, which include eliminating such practices as scalding chickens to death in defeathering tanks and breeding and drugging birds so that their leg bones break under their own weight.

In his letter, Dr. West writes, “As a person who is concerned about all injustices, I am asking you to direct KFC’s suppliers to stop breeding and drugging animals so that they collapse under their own weight or die from heart failure and to phase in humane gas killing, a method of slaughter that protects birds from broken bones and wings, electric shocks, and even drowning in scalding-hot tanks of water.”

Dr. West, who is now teaching at Princeton, is no stranger to social struggle. He left the faculty of Harvard University in protest after Harvard President Larry Summers publicly criticized him for writing about social and racial issues. He was involved with the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., and is an active voice in hip-hop political-action summits and national conferences to end street violence.

Persia WhitePersia White

Persia White was the costar of the top-rated UPN sitcom Girlfriends and Co-Producer of Earthlings and has been an ethical vegetarian for more than 10 years. Says White of her anti-fur ad, “This image is shocking, but it brings home the harsh reality that is kept out of deceptive fur ads and fashion spreads: Before animals are skinned and made into fur coats or trim, they suffer incredible—and needless—cruelty.”

“People … wear and eat [animals] and contribute to such violence … every day … and the fact is, I think they should be shown. I mean it is violent. It is graphic. I mean, there’s no problem looking at some freshly picked vegetables. You wouldn’t get sick, you know? Anything that has to be hidden and covered up … I think there’s something really dark going on there that should be exposed.”

White says that her heroes are the people who make a positive difference in the lives of animals by not eating or wearing them.

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