Date and Time
Aug 13, 2018 6:30 pm
Join us at Busboys and Poets Focus-In! Film Series: Cinema for a Conscious Community for the D.C. premiere of The Invisible Vegan, an independent documentary that explores the problem of unhealthy dietary patterns in the African-American community, foregrounding the health and wellness possibilities enabled by plant-based vegan diets and lifestyle choices. This event is co-sponsored by Compassion Over Killing and Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association.
The Invisible Vegan is a 90-minute independent documentary that explores the problem of unhealthy dietary patterns in the African-American community, foregrounding the health and wellness possibilities enabled by plant-based vegan diets and lifestyle choices. Featuring interviews with luminaries such as Dr. Milton Mills (What The Health cast member), Cedric the Entertainer (actor and comedian), Tracye McQuirter (author and MPH), John Salley (former NBA player and wellness advocate), and Clayton Gavin (aka Stic of the hip-hop duo Dead Prez), this documentary shows how intertwined histories of slavery, twentieth-century socioeconomic inequalities, and the rise of Big Food, have led to the increased consumption and dependence on meat, processed, junk, and fast food.
Inspired by Ralph Ellison’s 1952 firsthand account of alienation as an African-American in The Invisible Man, the title of this documentary evokes the ways in which prevailing attitudes and stereotypes about veganism within the African-American community have rendered the benefits of this lifestyle invisible within spheres of popular culture, social experience, and political debate. The documentary begins with the personal story of Jasmine Leyva, a 30-year-old black actress and filmmaker currently based in Los Angeles. Over the past seven years, Leyva has committed herself to veganism, both in lifestyle and research. Taking Leyva’s unhealthy childhood growing up in Washington, DC as a point of departure, the film interweaves her narrative with the professional and personal experiences of a prominent group of vegan activists.
Jasmin Leyva: Just “Jas” to her friends — she is unapologetically an artist. Born in D.C., a city that used to be more appreciative of doctors, lawyers, and politicians, she moved to Los Angeles for college to pursue her dream while completely dismissing America’s. After three years of itching to “do” and despite uninvited judgments, she left school a year shy of her degree for a TV production job. She is debt free! From there, she went on to work as an associate producer on a NAACP winning docuseries entitled Unsung, and shortly after, was given the opportunity to write and produce on Being, a docuseries highlighting dynamic entertainers in film and music.
Jasmine and her fiancé, Kenny Leyva, are currently producing their own feature length documentary, The Invisible Vegan, a film that chronicles Jasmine’s personal experience with plant-based eating. The film also explains how plant-based eating is directly linked to African roots and how African-American eating habits have been debased by a chain of oppression stemming from slavery, economics and modern agribusiness.
Not to sound pedestrian, but the sky is the limit and her evolution will be televised!
Xavier Brown: Xavier Brown is a native of Washington, DC and a graduate of North CarolinaAgricultural and Technical State University. He operates at the boundaries of urban agriculture, environmental sustainability, and African Diasporic culture. His work intertwines sustainability with the issues that impact stressed communities from gun violence to mass incarceration.
By studying the practices of indigenous people and going back to ancestral knowledge, Xavier is creating a new sustainability movement that is healing the people and the land by reconnecting our scared relationship to the earth.
Tracye McQuirter: She is a 30-year vegan, national best-selling author, public health nutritionist, international speaker, and vegan trailblazer.
She has a master's degree in public health nutrition; directed the nation's first federally funded vegan nutrition program; co-created the first vegan website by and for African Americans 20 years ago with her sister, Marya McQuirter, PhD; helped increase the number of black vegans and vegetarians to nearly 1.5 million people; wrote Ageless Vegan (June 2018) and By Any Greens Necessary, a national best-seller that was the number one recommended vegan book on The Huffington Post; and co-created the first freeAfrican American Vegan Starter Guide.
Milton Mills, MD: Milton Mills, MD practices urgent care medicine in the Washington DC area, and has served previously as Associate Director of Preventive Medicine and as a member of the National Advisory Board, for Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). He has been a major contributor to position papers presented by PCRM to the United States Department of Agriculture regarding Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and has been the lead plaintiff in PCRM’s class action lawsuit that asks for warning labels on milk.
Compassion Over Killing (COK) is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) animal advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC, with an additional office in Los Angeles, CA. Working to end animal abuse since 1995, COK focuses on cruelty to animals in agriculture and promotes vegetarian eating as a way to build a kinder world for all of us, both human and nonhuman.
The Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association (CVSA) is a non-partisan, staff-led group that promotes plant-based food choices through events, the media, and other efforts to improve awareness. Staff participate in their personal capacities. Though the CVSA’s focus is on the Hill and Hill staff, their events are free and open to the public. They welcome non-vegetarians! For more information, see https://www.facebook.com/groups/CongressionalVegetarians. The group’s pinned post includes links to articles about earlier activities and events.
Focus-In! Film Series: Cinema for a Conscious Community is a Busboys and Poets-produced monthly film series that screens films with a focus dedicated to social justice, peace, art, music, and/or community value.
Free and open to all! $5 suggested donation the day of the event.
Seating is first come first serve for this event. Full service provided.