Some people ask: “How can you feel justified in forcing your beliefs onto the entire community?”
I would be seriously remiss to ignore this question. And I did think about it - a lot. My conclusion? That not only is this resolution in no way an imposition of my beliefs on anyone, but in its current form, it has no potential to be an imposition in the future.
1) First and foremost: this is a non-binding resolution. Although this project’s goal is to inspire individuals to seek more information about their food sources and ultimately change their eating habits, no one is forced to abide by what the resolution proposes. If people decide, “Hey, I don’t want to know about what I’m eating,” that will be completely legal. If I wanted to impose my beliefs on people, I would first make it so that this proposal was binding – an option, but something I didn’t choose to do.
2) I elected to raise awareness about this issue through the Brookline Town Meeting for a reason. Here in Brookline, we are fortunate to have a government system that has no option but to represent town residents. Each of us elects our Town Meeting member based on whether their positions are similar our own. Accordingly, when they vote for or against an issue, they represent the residents of their respective districts. The course of events isn’t: “Girl submits proposal. Girl passes own proposal. Girl enforces proposal’s tenets.” Instead, the course of events is (fortunately): “Girl drafts petition. Ten Brookline residents sign this petition. Girl submits petition and the accompanying resolution. Town Meeting members (and transitively the represented residents) vote on this resolution. Girl is now able to either say that Brookline residents agree with this proposal, or that they don’t.”
At the most basic level, this project was founded on one position: if people knew about the conditions of veal calf upbringing, they would not want to eat veal. The course of action to emerge from this position is no surprise: encourage people to know about it!
And that’s all this resolution is: an encouragement to find out about the origins of your food, to appreciate your money’s complicity in supporting certain environments, and to have your personal conclusions match your personal actions.