23. Lucy: Why I had (& still have) a Nickname
I am going to keep this relatively short because I think this will make complete sense to my fellow vegan activists. I get asked a lot what my name is: “Lucy or Laura?”. So I am going to tell you why I had the nick name Lucy when my birth name was Laura but also why I am holding onto it.
When I first started doing activism (summer of 2016) I was participating in activism & protests at ribfests, road side zoos, & rodeos. All occurring in a community I grew up in (or very close). During this time we were always peaceful with our approach & outreach with others. However, even though this community was supposed to be my home I still didn’t feel safe. People who disagreed & were in denial that there was an overt conflict happening to animals were unpredictable & often expressed violence. I have seen & heard physical & verbal threats to peaceful protesters who want to create a positive change & liberate animals. Since a handful of these people knew me & often stalked me online, I felt I needed protection in these situations.
So, my self defense was changing my name. So I made up the nick name LucyLooEllis (Lucy) on all my main online social media platforms (including email). I also asked my friends to call me Lucy in public & at protests. The point being, it would make it slightly more difficult for a stalker/predator to harass me. It just put my mind at ease, so I felt safe enough to continue my activism. I had just started and was not ready to give up quite that easily. As the years went go on, I moved to the city where I found rapid growth & motivation to become stronger & make progress within animal rights activism.
One very important thing I found inspiring was the courage shown by Direct Action Everywhere during “open rescues”. This was a new type of activism at the time. It is where individuals identities are openly shown to the public and are completely honest & transparent about the footage they are gathering during their time at a “farm”. This was a huge growth in the animal rights movement. I finally felt there was a shift/change were I felt safe to have my identity back & grow stronger such as this group has done. There were people supporting each other & the law was finally understanding the ethics of who was actually in the wrong & seeing/hearing the issue in a very confrontational manner. This is a huge progression & I am so proud of those who have worked so hard to make this a reality & step in the right direction.
I could talk about how much I love this forever & ever… but let’s get back to the point of this blog…
So, shouldn’t I be open/honest too & change my name back to Laura? I thought about it (I really did) for a long time & decided to add my real name back to my social media and etc. HOWEVER, I don’t think this should be forgotten. Although my experience is nothing compared to the hardships of many other anonymous activists (who risk everything they have for animal rights & for love) it is a concept that should not be forgotten. It shows just how much we genuinely care about these animals & this movement. We were willing to give up our identity so they could be free from violence. This is part of the story of the animal liberation movement & our roots of where we have come from. So I am keeping LucyLooEllis & Lucy in my social media & as my nick name.
It is becoming history.
We have come along way. It was not easy, but we will never them leave them behind.
In remembrance: My name is Laura, but you can call me Lucy.