Introducing Haz Feliks, a fantastic member of our Community Network 

Tell us about yourself, Haz

I live in Aylesbury and work in higher education, providing tech solutions to help support teaching and learning online. I have been participating in diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace and am heartened by the enthusiasm of my colleagues. Bi-visibility and Pride have been of great importance to me. I like to get a bit existential in my conversation sometimes, bringing up my philosophies with people and companion animals – aren’t they good listeners? I’m dad to a 10-year-old, banana servant to two bunnies on the weekend and a once-in-a-while carer to an adorable Labrador Shar Pei.

What do you do in your role of Community Organiser?

As a Community Organiser I help coordinate volunteering at our local outreach stand and the surrounding activities including online publicity. I’ve been joining local and national vegan outreach efforts since I became vegan in 2015. In 2017, I started to organise my own stands with different themes and included food samples with the help of VegFund. In 2020, we started to work with the local council and the shopping centre. Shortly after, a friend suggested we consider working with The Vegan Society. This turned out to be a great fit for us, and has really helped us feel supported in our work. Plus there are other benefits such as aligning our campaigns and welcoming new volunteers as Community Advocates.
I’m very keen to make things as inclusive and accessible as possible through my role as Community Organiser. One thing I really like is that we require minimal monthly participation.
For example, Advocates can join for as little as one hour at a stand. I’ve welcomed the increase in commitment and support from The Vegan Society towards local community outreach efforts.

What does veganism mean to you?

Veganism for me means doing my best and striving towards more tolerance and kindness in a sometimes harsh world. I want to be part of any solutions I can, whether that’s supporting a transition to a post-animal agriculture economy or focusing on sustainability and wellbeing for all beings. I also like to follow institutions like Friends of the Earth who run important campaigns like Population Matters.

What do you hope to achieve in your volunteer role?

It has been amazing to see the boom in plant-based products on the shelves. In the future I want to play my part in what looks to me as an inevitable, long-term shift to plantbased economies and industries.
I recently joined a new community and animal sanctuary project near Aylesbury. I’m sure it’s going to be both fun and a lot of work, and I’m very excited about helping to bring people and animals together. As I write this, earlier today we picked up two beautiful sheep who are now safe in their new forever home.
I think there’s a lot of potential in local outreach to build a positive presence with our communities and further normalise veganism. I look forward to future collaborations with the local council, businesses and groups and using my education background to incorporate fun learning activities to help increase engagement.