What Brenda Sanders & Chinny Krishna don’t have in common with Sheriff John Root
BALTIMORE, Maryland; CHENNAI, Tamil Nadu, India; London, Kentucky––Some people, like Food & Justice web video host Brenda Sanders of Baltimore, dedicate their lives to breaking down stereotypes and expanding the horizons of everyone around them.
Some people, like longtime Blue Cross of India humane society chief executive Chinny Krishna, build records of innovation and accomplishment on behalf of both animals and humans that are so long and distinguished that they need never fear the past catching up with them.
And then, by contrast, there are people like Sheriff John Root of Laurel County, Kentucky, whose lives center on reinforcing stereotypes while hiding personal history that should embarrass people of common decency.
Food & Justice goes on the air
Sanders, introducing herself as “the co-founder of Vegan Soulfest, the world’s first and largest black vegan festival, co-founder and co-owner of vegan food manufacturer The Greener Kitchen, and founder of Afro-Vegan Society,” on September 9, 2021 launched her hour-long weekly Food & Justice program in video form on Youtube, Facebook, Twitch, and Twitter, with a podcast version to follow the next morning at either https://www.fjpodcast.com/audio or https://www.fjpodcast.com/podcast..
Sanders’ initial interview guest, vegan and organic grower Malik Kenyatta Yakini, is also dedicated to breaking down stereotypes and expanding horizons.
Introduced Sanders, “Yakini is a co-founder and the executive director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, which operates a seven-acre farm in Detroit, and spearheaded efforts to establish the Detroit Food Policy Council, which he chaired from December 2009 until May 2012.
“He views the ‘good food revolution’ as part of the larger movement for freedom, justice and equality,” Sanders said.
Following Dick Gregory’s giant shadow
The same might also have been said of comedian, civil rights leader, and vegan advocate Dick Gregory, 1933-2017, whose active endorsement of a plant-based diet began a decade before the emergence of the modern animal rights movement and two decades before even most leading animal rights groups acknowledged opposition to meat-eating as a humane priority.
Unknown to most white vegans, black activists have been a few steps ahead of the white-led vegan movement ever since.
Refused to dissect in 1958
Chinny Krishna, 77, raised in Chennai, India, in a a family whose forebears had been vegetarian for generations, never had to give up eating meat, nor did he grow up in a society where not eating meat was condemned by peer pressure.
But Krishna, an ambitious and promising science student, was admitted at age 14 in 1958 to the elite St Joseph’s Boys’ High School in Bangalore, in the Jesuit school’s centennial year.
This was a rare opportunity for Krishna––and became an unexpected challenge when he was asked to dissect a frog.
Krishna refused, left the school, and returned home to Chennai, then called Madras, where in 1959 he helped his parents to found the Blue Cross of India, after they became dissatisfied with the lack of ambition they perceived at the SPCA of Madras.
Krishna went on to earn a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Madras, followed by a master’s degree in business administration from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.
Returning to Madras, Krishna married his wife of 57 years, writer and cultural historian Nanditha Krishna; took over the management of the Blue Cross of India; and sold his motorcycle to finance starting his own company, Aspick Engineering.
Initially manufacturing “rabbit ears” for television sets, Aspick Engineering went on to build radio telescopes and satellite arms for the Indian space program––and, in 1973, produced a vegan tennis racquet with an aluminum alloy frame, nylon string and a vinyl rexine grip, which revolutionized tennis racquet design around the world.
Introduced Animal Birth Control
Meanwhile, under Chinny Krishna, the Blue Cross of India in 1966 introduced neuter/return population control of street dogs to the world, promoted as ABC, short for Animal Birth Control.
After thirty years of observation, the Animal Welfare Board of India adopted Animal Birth Control as recommended national policy in December 1997.
The Indian national ABC policy has been federally subsidized since 2003.
Along the way Krishna served multiple terms on the federally appointed Committee for the Purpose of Control & Supervision of Experiments on Animals and developed several of the first computer programs used to simulate and replace dissection, beginning with one called CompuFrog.
Lifetime achievement award
Krishna’s distant past finally caught up with him on September 5, 2021.
Emailed Krishna to ANIMALS 24-7, “Earlier today, I was honored by St. Joseph’s Boys High School with their life time achievement award, 63 years after I left the school because of my refusal to dissect a frog.
To be honored by your alma mater is special,” Krishna said. “I had completely lost touch with the school for over six decades.”
Root upholds stereotypes but not the law
And then there is John Root, 56, sheriff of Laurel County, Kentucky since 2010.
Root, as ANIMALS 24-7 pointed out on August 19, 2021, seems hellbent on upholding the stereotype of the corpulent, corrupt southern sheriff who ignores cockfighting and illegal gambling machine parlors practically under his nose, boasts of his prejudicial dismissal of complaints from outsiders, makes much on Facebook of relatively routine arrests, and meanwhile accomplishes little or nothing of substance to stop crime.
Kentucky, overall, has a much lower crime rate than most of the U.S., but Laurel County is an exception. Two-thirds of U.S. cities have lower crime rates than London, the Laurel County seat. The Laurel County property crime rate is 38% above the Kentucky state average; the Laurel County violent crime rate is 43% higher.
Repeatedly asked by Showing Animals Respect & Kindness [SHARK] to raid and close two notorious local cockfighting locations, Root has for many months balked, despite having been shown considerable evidence of illegal activity going on at both, included unlicensed alcohol sales in a county where any alcohol sales are prohibited outside of London.
History comes to light
Root’s past caught up with him on September 8, 2021, when a SHARK video exposed history he might have imagined he had long since shaken.
The video consisted chiefly of SHARK founder Steve Hindi reading aloud a front page article by Lexington Herald-Leader staff writer Tyrone Beason, published on July 10, 1993.
The gist of it is that Jennifer Garland, of Barbourville, Kentucky, fell face-first from an open Jeep on her 20th birthday, July 6, 1993.
“Her jaw was broken, most of her teeth were chipped or missing, and she was covered with scrapes and bruises,” wrote Beason. “Two of the people in the Jeep work for the state police: John Root, 28, of London, a trooper at the Harlan State Police post; and Jerald M. Robinson, 26, of Corbin, a dispatcher at the London post.”
Jeep did not stop
Added a subsequent Associated Press report, “The Jeep belonged to Robinson, the driver. Melanie Garland,” the 17-year-old sister of Jennifer Garland, “told her mother later that Robinson did not stop, despite her repeated pleas to do so.
“When the men went back to pick the woman up, they dropped her off at a laundromat parking lot about a mile away, although Knox County General Hospital,” relocated in 2000, “was 100 feet from the accident scene.”
Jennifer Garland later “underwent eight and a half hours of surgery that involved removing all but two of her teeth and placing steel braces in her left jaw,” the Associated Press account concluded.
Robinson was charged with failing to stop and render aid, a misdemeanor. As of 2020, public records indicate, he was paid $33,565 a year as a certified driver’s test administrator.
Available public records do not indicate whether Root was disciplined at all.
Jennifer Garland later married, and now lives in Tennessee.