Ms. Socorro ‘Sukie’ Muller Sargent, Lisa Shapiro Award Winner 2017
A tribute written for Ms. Socorro ‘Sukie’ Muller Sargent, written by: lauren Ornelas, Food Empowerment Project
What do you do when you are 55, born in Mexico, but now live in one of the farthest reaches of Texas and your husband is a hunter? You go vegan. That’s what Sukie did in the late 1980s. But she didn’t stop there. She also started the first animal rights group in El Paso as well as the Vegetarian Society of El Paso (vegan, of course!).
For those of you who do not know, the closest major city to El Paso is actually in Mexico, and the drive from there to Austin is 8 ½ hours. I say all of this to give you some understanding of an activist who has created an oasis for animal rights and animal activists where there was none.
The animal rights group she started had their first meeting in her home on September 16, 1992. There were eleven attendees, plus two from a group across the border in Juarez, Mexico. They organized Fur-Free Friday for many, many years; World Day for Animals in Laboratories; and vigils for Homeless Animals Day. They protested the annual rattlesnake roundup in Alamogordo, New Mexico. They freed Sebastian, a 125-year-old lobster, and sent him to Maine, where CNN was waiting to film his release into the sea. They protested the rodeo, circuses, and any other animal entertainment that came to El Paso.
The Vegetarian Society has become a resource for people not only in Texas but also nearby New Mexico. They organize Thanksgiving events that hundreds of people attend every year.
Sukie and I have known each other for decades – I actually helped to coordinate the first animal rights conference she attended. However, several years ago I stayed with her and got to learn more about her. I was incredibly impressed by her energy, smarts, family–everything about her. She is an inspiration and someone whom I aspire to be like. As someone who went vegan when she was older, Sukie gives us hope and embodies the reality that no matter what age a person is, they can make a difference. She constantly inspires me with her enthusiasm and compassion, which she shows in not only the work she does but in the wonderful team around her. She also rescues cats.
Sukie inspires me with her courage and determination; she sees no borders, not age, not her passion and not to what she can accomplish.
And, yes, her husband went vegan too, and Sukie is now 84 and going strong!
When Sukie learned she won the award, she shared a quote she keeps by her desk: “Work for a cause, not applause.” Clearly one she lives by. I am so honored to share with all of you a bit about Sukie. Love you, woman, and thank you for all you do!