He has a wife and three kids, lives in the suburbs and has a conventional job, but he is anything but your average Joe. That’s because, several times a month, Chris Dietrich enters businesses where animals are exploited and stages bold disruptions, forcing perpetrators to confront abuses they would much prefer to ignore.
TheirTurn: When did you become an activist? How did it happen?
Chris Dietrich: I went vegan four years ago and became an activist two years ago. I felt that change needed to happen, and I wanted to be a part of it. I started by leafleting, which I still do today, and then began engaging in direct action. Today, I’m an organizer with DxE in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland.
TheirTurn: Why do you think that disruption is an effective approach?
Chris Dietrich: I am passionate about direct action because it’s a proven method. Social justice movements in the past were moved forward, not by those playing nice, but by those who demanded substantive change. Imagine how big an impact we would have if 100,000 of my ethical vegan brothers and sisters took to the streets.
TheirTurn: How often do you take actions like the ones in the video?
Chris Dietrich: Our DxE chapter stages organized disruptions in malls, restaurants and grocery stores at least once a month. Lately, I have also been entering restaurants and doing speak outs on my own.
TheirTurn: In the videos, you appear to be fearless. Are you ever
scared going into an action?
Chris Dietrich: When I started a couple of years ago, it was very nerve-wracking, but, like anything else, it gets easier the more I do it.
TheirTurn: Have you exited your comfort zone? If so, what were the
Chris Dietrich: I always like to be super prepared, so, when I was asked at the last minute to do the main speak out at a disruption in NYC, I told the organizers I wasn’t sure if I could do it. Luckily, I settled down and found my voice.
article entitled “Why Activism, Not Veganism, is the Moral Baseline,”
DxE Co-founder Wayne Hsiung argues that “it’s time for us to be inspired,
not to lonely inaction, but empowered activism.” In other words, if we want
to liberate animals, we must take the lead from activists like Chris
Dietrich who transitioned from the passive act of not eating them to active
approach of boldly and defiantly fighting for them.
To learn more and/or join DxE, please visit Direct Action Everywhere.