What struck so many people upon meeting Tommy, hearing him speak or reading his essays: He radiated a magnetic energy of wisdom beyond his years and compassion rooted deeply in his soul. He was a dynamic force for good in this world, driven to expose, challenge and uproot all forms of injustice, including the suffering forced upon animals.
“When it comes to the right to live free from the blight
of aggression, oppression, from tyrannous might,
how smart you are friends shouldn’t matter at all;
trauma is still trauma for the creatures that crawl.”
excerpt from Where War Begins by Tommy Raskin
Soon after Congressman Raskin inspired the idea behind — and became the first participant in — Animal Outlook’s VegWeek campaign in 2009, Tommy also began aligning his morals with his menu. He was a passionate vegan, and in 2017, Animal Outlook was honored to feature Tommy as a speaker at our DC VegFest (video below) as well as at our holiday celebration (video), leaving audiences in awe after sharing his powerful and poignant poem, Where War Begins.
Tommy’s authenticity, wit and unflinching determination empowered those who knew him and created a ripple effect, inspiring countless others he never met. Though his extraordinary life was tragically brief — cut short by the darkness of depression — his love, laughter and light are woven into the hearts and memories of all the people and animals whose lives he touched.
Tommy Raskin’s Legacy Lives On
The Bloom Raskin family launched the Tommy Raskin Memorial Fund for People and Animals, a fund that will “distribute money on a semiannual basis to causes and charities championed and advanced by Tommy Raskin, such as Oxfam, Give Directly, the Helen Keller Institute, and Animal Outlook.” Donations can be made to this fund, which is operated through the Greater Washington Community Foundation.
Additionally, the strong and supportive community in which Tommy grew up is encouraging others to consider engaging in at least one small act of compassion in Tommy’s memory. If you’re willing, please add your action to this growing list of Acts of Goodness in Honor of Tommy Raskin, and you can also add to the comments below to help inspire others.
Tommy will be deeply missed, and our hearts go out to the entire Bloom Raskin family and to all those who knew and loved him.
Erica has served as President for Animal Outlook since 2005, after being an active volunteer starting in 2000. Since taking the helm, she’s taken the organization to new heights with continued growth and accomplishments for animals that include ending the egg industry’s use of the misleading claim “Animal Care Certified” and successfully persuading BOCA foods to stop using eggs. Vegan for more than 25 years, Erica has been working in the animal protection field since college. In 2013, she was honored with the prestigious Animal Rights Hall of Fame award.