Satya in Service

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  • Nico Stubler

Mar ’21 Update




Hey Fam,

Happy March! I hope this update finds you and your loved ones healthy and hopeful.

Again, I’ve dropped the ball on my so-called “quarterly” updates… The past 7 months since my last update have treated me well, truly as well as can be these days. I’ve been busy, but busy with good things! And while i’ve felt constantly behind in recent months, i’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! I’m going to keep this update light on words and heavier on pictures, in part to expedite my drafting process, but also to facilitate easy scrolling for those of you pressed for time. Instead, i will predominately link to instagram posts i’ve made over the past year, as each one will come with optional captions and at times multiple photos (swipe left to seem them) if any of the topics spark further interest [this is a new format for me, so any and all feedback is welcome!]. The onset of Covid led me to invigorate my Instagram account and find community there, and if you have an account, i’d love to stay better connected with you on that platform moving forward.

1. Closing NYC Chapter

Shortly after my last update i returned to NYC to finish up my lease, tie up loose ends, and move out. It was my first time returning since the onset of Covid, and i was SO ready to get back! As always, i spent my time between activism, academics/work, and friendships.

Activism

Having spent the previous month immersed in BLM actions in CO, i was excited to plug into actions in NYC as soon as i arrived. While many were dynamic and impactful, my favorites were the biking protests that would swarm the city every week. Alongside my BLM activism i stayed active with animal advocacy, and in addition to my normal activism around the city i was able to make activism trips to Newark and Philly as well.

  1. The 1st Insta post shows images from biking BLM protests.

  2. The 2nd is from an action advocating for just transition of slaughterhouses to peaceful alternatives.

  3. The 3rd is of me riveting street signs around Brooklyn.

  4. The 4th is from a reparations protest.






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Academics

As i closed out my time in NYC, so too did i close out my graduate studies at NYU. I truly could not have been happier with the program, and am SO grateful for the professors and students who made my experience so worthwhile.






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2. California

From NYC i moved to Berkeley, CA. While a number of factors compelled me to postpone my initial plans of attending Berkeley Law last fall, i still wanted to move to The Bay, and was lucky to be invited into a vegan/activist house. My central motivation in moving to The Bay was the dynamic animal activism that has evolved here in recent years, and i wasted no time plugging into the community! Alongside this activism i’ve stayed busy with work, but more on that below:

Bay Area Activism

The Bay is home to the most prolific and active animal rights community that i’m aware of, and i’ve loved plugging in and building power within this network. I’ve predominantly been organizing with Direct Action Everywhere and Compassionate Bay. While i’ve enjoyed taking action in the streets, i’ve found my legislative/policy work with Compassionate Bay to be the most stimulating and rewarding. Specifically, i’ve helped the organization to draft model policies at the state and local level outlining ways legislators can take concrete action to address the harms caused by animal agriculture, and am inspired by the grassroots activism taking place around the state to pressure legislators to implement them. Check out nomorefactoryfarms.com for an example of what we have been up to.

Alongside my work with DxE i’ve helped organize other unaffiliated campaigns and mobilize activists in the Bay to implement them. I’m inspired by this community of activists everyday.






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LA Slaughterhouse Action

The most dynamic set of actions i’ve been a part of since my last update happened in late September at Farmer Johns, the largest slaughterhouse in the Western United States. The week of actions began with a group of activists—myself included—infiltrating the slaughterhouse in the dead of night to rescue a grown pig from slaughter. This attempted #OpenRescue—meaning a rescue where activists do not hide our faces, but proudly and unapologetically take the liberatory actions we know to be just—was followed by a 48hour vigil, where activists from around the state came together to bear witness to the 700+ pigs brought in each night to be killed. The vigil concluded with further direct action, where a group of activists—myself included—were arrested inside the slaughterhouse, followed by a second group of activists who were later arrested after locking down the slaughterhouse gates. While i’ve been a part of similar actions in the past, this one was made special by my parent’s attendance. Their support of my advocacy truly means the world to me.

  1. The 1st Insta post shows the headline of an Op-Ed i wrote covering the action. If you are interested in learning more about what happened, give it a look! Hollywood Comes to Life in an L.A. Slaughterhouse

  2. The 2nd shows news coverage from the action (i am the activist with the flare on top of the building).

  3. The 3rd depicts me in custody shortly after being arrested inside the slaughterhouse but before processing at the police station.

  4. The 4th took place directly after my release from custody, and includes my commentary about the civil disobedience that took place outside the slaughterhouse following my arrest inside.

  5. The 5th shows the front-page of one of the most influential papers in South Korea, the bottom of which features an interview of me discussing Open Rescue and our attempt at Farmer Johns.

  6. The 6th is of my parents and i outside the slaughterhouse the morning before my arrest. 🖤




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3. Academic Work

Alongside my activism i’ve been blessed to stay busy with academic work i’m passionate about, work i believe will truly make a positive difference in the world.

Harvard Animal Law and Policy Program

I was hired by Harvard Law School in November, and started my work in December researching the public health risks posed by animal markets in the United States. Specifically, my research has focussed on the zoonotic disease threat (i.e., the threat of disease spread to humans from nonhumans) caused by so-called live animal markets, livestock auctions, ritual slaughter, and animal sacrifice. The policy brief will soon be published by Harvard Law School and used to inform legislators around the country of the risks these markets pose as well as ways in which legislators can address them. For an accessible (and dare i say enjoyable) overview of this issue, check out John Oliver’s video below, which essentially covers the work and purpose of this project.


Journal Article

I spent much of the fall drafting and finalizing an article for the Journal for Critical Animal Studies—the premier publication in my chosen field—and was elated to have it accepted by the journal following the completion of peer review. The article was published by the journal last week!! I am really, really proud of the article, and want to give it the attention i think it deserves. As such, i will share a blog post next week to discuss this publication a bit more in depth, alongside a more easily accessible version of the article. Stay tuned!

Book Chapter

In the fall I was accepted to publish a chapter within a forthcoming book titled Vegan Entanglements: Dismantling Racial and Carceral Capitalism. The anthology is to be published by Lantern Publishing, and will bring together voices from across the movement to address the intersection between speciesism, racism, capitalism, and incarceration. I’m one revision away from finalizing my chapter, and am excited to be able to share it with you in the months to come! Until then, this monologue from John Oliver gives a good overview of what my chapter will in part be addressing.


Guest and Ghost Writing

I’ve also had the opportunity to contribute articles to a number of other outlets, both publicly and anonymously. The Insta post below shows the headline for one such article—”Beyond Veganism.”




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4. Movement

While i find meaning and purpose via activism, my true love lies in movement. Simply put, if the world was how i thought it ought to be, movement is all i would want to explore and share with others. (Alas, that is not the case, at least not in this life).

Unfortunately, as has too often been the case with me, my past year and a half has been plagued with injuries that have limited my ability to train. Two of the most serious injuries persist to this day, but i do my best to make the best of it, and make a point of staying grateful for the movement i still have access to!

For years i was too self-conscious to share my movement practice on social media. I stepped out of my comfort zone in sharing my first movement related post early into the pandemic, and have enjoyed sharing such posts ever since! Below are a few of my favorites from the past year:






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5. Looking Forward

After deferring law school admission in 2019 and declining admission in 2020, i re-applied to law schools this cycle and plan to (finally) matriculate in the fall. More than ever i believe a law degree to be the right path for me, and i’m excited to dig in!

My plans between now and then remain unfixed. I had originally hoped to begin a job teaching yoga in Singapore, but Covid scrambled those plans… Wherever i end up in the months to come, i’ll be working to finish the final manuscript of a book project i’m working on, continuing my job with Harvard Law, and activisting as much as i can.

I’ll plan on sending my next update in the weeks leading up to the next chapter of my life: law school! Until then, i really would love to hear from each of you. Whether your update is a few sentences or a few pages, i really do cherish hearing from you. I send these updates to maintain contact with the important folk in my life, but it takes two to tango!

Yours, truly, -nico




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