After hearing from PETA that Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has taken Pamela Anderson up on her proposition to go vegan for a month to set a healthy example for Jackson — which just nabbed the top spot on a list of the “Fattest Cities in America” — longtime vegan Russell Simmons thanked the mayor for giving the African-American community food for thought about animal-free eating.

In a letter sent today, Simmons writes, "I admire your involvement in the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and applaud your recent decision to embrace a healthy vegan diet for a month. I went vegan more than 15 years ago because cruelty is cruelty, whether it’s to blacks, whites, children, the elderly, dogs, cats, pigs, or chickens. The health benefits are a bonus: African Americans are nearly twice as likely to suffer from diabetes, while vegans have lower rates of suffering from diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Healthy vegan eating is also a way to empower communities of color, which are often targeted by destructive fast-food companies. Through awareness and education, we can show people that it’s possible to access nutritious foods anywhere, even in “food deserts,” and enjoy long, healthy, humane lives.

“Thank you again for being a true leader, sparking a conversation about the lifesaving benefits of vegan eating, and setting an example for other mayors to follow.”

In a show of support, PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” — is supplying Mayor Lumumba with a week’s worth of cruelty-free catered lunches and has sent every member of his staff an inspirational vegan starter kit.

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