There are activists, and then there is Jared Paul.
Paul, a Rhode Island native, might be considered more extreme than most. He doesn’t just fight for a single cause; he’s passionate about every injustice he sees. He continues to stand with unions in their fight for a living wage and is heavily involved in the “Black Lives Matter” movement. In fact, he has never been one to shy away from controversial subjects in his spoken word and music, which might just be how he has been able to find his audience.
Paul is a wordsmith, combining wit and humor while tackling topics like white privilege and bank fraud in his lyrics and slam poetry. He’s a protestor, fighting against capitalism, war, greed, factory farming, environmental destruction, police brutality and a litany of other social causes. Additionally, he’s an educator, traveling the country for performance and speaking engagements.
It can be assumed that Paul is angry, and he is, but he’s also intelligent, obsessively reading news websites and carefully planning his words to motivate individuals to get involved and be part of the solution. He’s also a vegan, and when he returned to Santa Clara’s Studio Bongiorno on Feb. 28, it was for a celebration. This year, in fact, last month, marks Paul’s 18th vegan birthday.
“As somebody who has been doing this loudly for the last 18 years, I don’t believe that everybody in the world should go vegan,” he said. “I don’t even know if that’s sustainable. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about ending the unnecessary suffering and torture of literally billions of animals and the destruction of the Earth in the process … It’s really time to know where our food is coming from. We don’t want to see what happens on a pig farm or a slaughterhouse or an animal rights video, but that is really where the food is coming from. I challenge everybody here to examine that disconnect because that is really where it comes from … I want to challenge everybody here to think about where their food comes from and what their purchasing dollars pay for and try to give our money to the companies and the small farms who are doing things in the most sustainable fashion.”
Paul’s set, which began after a short open mic and poerformance by members of The San Jose Poetry Slam team, mentioned his veganism, but centered around his socialist views and anti-capitalism stance, as he recited pieces heard on his spoken word CD, Jared Paul Live; songs from his band, Prayers for Atheists; and debuted new material that will be part of an upcoming project.
“I try not to steer away from ugly things in my writing,” he said, “but as we know here … the ugly things are often beautiful and often where we learn about life and reality.”
Paul concluded the California leg of his tour on March 3 and hopes to return to Studio Bongiorno later this year for a musical performance. Visit www.jaredpaul.org for more information.