Activism Amidst COVID-19

On December 2nd, I moderated a panel on UK/US activism in the midst of COVID-19 as co-director of the Centre for the Study of Social and Political Movements. My panelists included Dr Alex Hensby, co-director of the Centre, graduate student Georgina Treloar, Dr Ellie Jupp, and my colleague Dr Cheryl Abbate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Unfortunately, I was not able to record the event, but a fascinating discussion on astounding resilience in social justice spaces was offered. Some movements, like environmentalism, have taken a real hit in mobilization under the pandemic, but others, like Black Lives Matter, have experienced an upsurge in public and media attention.

COVID has also inspired new movements, notably the mutual aid movement in the UK, a community-organized response to inequality, vulnerability, and need when state measures have failed. We also discussed the animal rights movement, which, strangely, has not garnered anywhere near the attention that would be expected given the speciesist origins of the pandemic.

Lastly, our panelists reported on a clear intersectional theme running through various movements. The animal rights movement, in particular, has worked to raise the profile of racial injustice in food production, specifically with regard to ethnocentric racism against Chinese persons and the disproportionate impact of COVID infection in Latinx slaughterhouse communities.


Cover for "A Rational Approach to Animal Rights." Shows a smiling piglet being held up by human hands.

Readers can learn more about intersectional activist politics in my 2016 publication, A Rational Approach to Animal Rights. Receive research updates straight to your inbox by subscribing to my newsletter.