peta2 Calls for National Day of Action in Honor of Deceased Activist

As a Fitting Tribute, Youth Group Asks Everyone to Go Vegan

For Immediate Release:
December 3, 2013

Contact:
Shakira Croce 202-483-7382

Albany County, N.Y. – After learning of the death of 22-year-old Altamont resident and ardent animal rights activist Elijah Sharma, peta2, PETA’s youth division, has called for a National Day of Action on December 4 to honor his memory. The group is asking people of all ages to pass up unhealthy and cruelly obtained meat, eggs, and dairy products and go vegan—something Sharma dedicated his life to advocating. Sharma was a former PETA intern and Star Street Teamer with peta2, and he was a force to be reckoned with at Guilderland High School, where he cofounded Last Chance for Animals GHS and tackled everything from getting veggie burgers added to the daily lunch menu to securing a written policy on students’ right to refuse to dissect or experiment on animals.

“Elijah knew that animals on factory farms endure pure hell from birth to their terrifying and violent death, and we can honor his memory and save animals’ lives by choosing not to eat them,” says PETA Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg, who has sent his family flowers on behalf of everyone at PETA. “True leaders like Elijah are rare, and he’ll be sorely missed by everyone whose life he touched, myself included.”

When it came to arming his arsenal with everything it took to win respect for animals, Sharma, a black belt in tae kwon do, didn’t pull any punches. In his battle against classroom dissection, he met with his teachers, superintendent, principal, and board of education to discuss the suffering of animals killed for dissection and the cruelty of forcing people who object to this abuse to take part in it. During his internship at PETA, Sharma hit the National Mall in Washington, D.C., with the group’s Animal Liberation Project, a thought-provoking display that asks onlookers to compare modern-day animal suffering with the suffering of human beings throughout history.

Another of Sharma’s shining qualities was his ability to inspire others by setting an example. In fact, after witnessing their son’s unwavering commitment to animal rights, his mother went vegan and his father went vegetarian.

Sharma will be featured on the peta2 Heroes page. For more information, please visit peta2.com/HonorElijah.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind