Frances Cheng and Joshua Sias, Unsung Vegan Hero, 2016

Tribute by Alka Chandna, PETA

If you look up the term “power couple” in the dictionary, you might find a picture of Joshua Sias and Dr. Frances Cheng—although the pair would probably humbly demur and insist that the honor should go to someone else. For years, Frances and Josh have not hesitated to roll up their sleeves or don a costume to make a difference for animals. As community organizers in Cleveland, this dynamic duo leaflets, coordinates literature tables, participates in protests, and marches in parades, spreading the message of veganism and animal rights. At Cleveland State University, the pair has organized talks (throwing in a free vegan dinner) where hundreds of people come out to hear distinguished movement luminaries.

Recognizing that the currency of the vegan advocacy movement is mouthwateringly delicious vegan food, Frances and Josh also engage in spatula activism! They host pop-up vegan nights at popular eateries in Cleveland, showcasing their delectable creations and promoting the idea that vegan food can be affordable, healthy, and delicious while also donating all tips to a local farmed animal sanctuary. They serve on the committee of the Ohio VegFest. And they used to volunteer at a kitchen where they prepared healthy vegan meals for the homeless (that’s where they met!). Frances also provides scientific assistance to several nutrition-related organizations, and translation services to animal rights groups for their work in China and Taiwan. Are you tired yet? I am!

Frances and Josh are equal parts crazy brilliant and fantastically compassionate. Frances currently spends her days applying her considerable smarts serving as a science advisor in PETA’s work to end animal experimentation, while Josh is pursuing graduate studies in animal ethics. The two of them are so dedicated, so humble, so hardworking, and so focused on the prize of animal liberation, my heart hurts. I’m over the moon that the Pollination Project has chosen them for the Lisa Shapiro Award for Unsung Vegan Heroes. Congratulations, Frances and Josh!

Date grant awarded: October 1, 2016