For which I will humbly say: I'm sorry.
I'm a Southerner who has found being vegan in the South (whether in Mississippi, North Carolina, or anywhere in between) to be particularly challenging. I write this blog to help others in their own journey to health, whether it's just one recipe or the inspiration to begin a more compassionate lifestyle. Putting other people down has never been, and will never be, a part of this blog.
Was saying that I was far away from civilization an exaggeration? Yes. Is it a fact that this part of Mississippi is considered rural? No.
It's been almost three weeks since that post, and each day I become more and more impressed with Cleveland and it's great coffee shops, pretty neighborhoods, and Southern hospitality. Already, I've encountered some of the kindest people I've ever met, and I've lived in the South my entire life. Within minutes of walking into a downtown boutique, the owner was giving us directions to her house so that we could use the pool. An older woman pulled over and gave us a ride to church yesterday when she saw us walking in the heat. The guy who sold me my camera at Wal-Mart told me all of the best places to go out on the weekends, including the hot spots where I could get vegan food. (He was right! The waitress at Lost Pizza Co. didn't even bat an eye when I ordered a Happy Hippie with no cheese.)
I'm not here to "save poor little Southern America" like one anonymous commenter said, or the "poor little illiterate, hairlip children" like another. My summer school students are neither illiterate nor hairlipped. They are, however, fourteen of the smartest, kindest, most hardworking people I've ever met; victims of a system that's decided it's alright for them to fall through the cracks. I'm here simply doing the best I can, (frequently) falling short, and trying again.
There are obviously a lot of stereotypes about Mississippi, the Delta, etc. that residents believe are unfair. Calling me names does nothing but help promote those stereotypes. Luckily, I've already "met" (via email) an awesome Cleveland-er name Kayla who is willing to help me understand where everyone is coming from.
Along with my sincere apologies, I leave you with this quote:
|“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”|