“The world’s premier advocacy organization for the differently animated, the Zombie Rights Campaign strongly believes in equality for all individuals, whether living, unliving, or anywhere in between.” -ZRC
According to the Zombie Rights Campaign “Although great progress has been made in many areas of civil rights, sadly, the undead and their allies still face tremendous difficulty in larger society. Stereotypes abound, and unjust discrimination against the undead, and zombies in particular, is commonplace”.
We interviewed John J Sears, President of the ZRC, to find out a little more about what the ZRC hopes to achieve.
We begun by asking;
So we know what the Zombie Rights Campaign is, but what was your motivation for starting it?
We were inspired to start the ZRC about four years ago after a long car ride and a spontaneous discussion about Zombies and their place in our society. I can’t recall if there was a particular outrage against the Undead that day that caught our attention, but ZRC Co-Founder (and current Art/Technical Director) Jenny Rowland and I stayed up late into the night brainstorming ideas on how we might work toward Zombie Equality. It just seemed so obvious that Zombies needed help, and that we had to try and provide that help.
I suppose it was an epiphany.
What is the ultimate goal of the ZRC and how do you hope to achieve it?
The ultimate goal of the ZRC is true Undead Equality and Zombie Tolerance, ideally worldwide. Which, of course, would put the ZRC out of a job.
That’s sort of a utopian idea; in the shorter term we’d be happy with changing the prevailing Anti-Zombie attitude of people in general so that Zombies and the Living alike can live without this constant fear of one another.
Your website says that if you want help ‘We humbly suggest writing letters to your elected officials, raising Zombie Awareness amongst your friends and family, or participating in pro-Zombie events in your community.’ What should people include in these letters?
The letters would vary from situation to situation, but we’ve found that you can get surprising and positive results by tying the particular problem(s) facing the Undead to the respective elected officials. Tell them about their Zombie constituents and suggest realistic actions they could take to help out.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to send such letters immediately preceding an election, particularly a close election, when every vote counts.
What in your opinion is the worst case or example of zombie prejudice?
Worst is a hard one. There are companies out there selling ammunition and custom-manufactured weapons designed specifically to harm Zombies, which seems like a powder-keg waiting to go off. On the other hand you have prominent Zombiephobes like Robert Kirkman and Max Brooks who have constructed lucrative industries around pushing their own particular prejudices against the Undead. Then there are the governments which, to varying degrees, strip people of their civil rights merely for having been deceased an arbitrary amount of time. For some reason being ‘dead’ for five minutes, say, from a heart attack is very different legally from being dead a week before clawing out of your grave.
Since your question needs a single answer though, let’s just go with Robert Kirkman and the Walking Dead empire. He’s not a nice man and it shows.
What do you say to people that would assume zombies aren’t actually alive, and have one train of though…. to eat?
Well, a lot of Zombies aren’t actually ‘alive’ in a conventional sense, there’s no denying that. Some are, of course, and we represent them too, whether chemically or mystically altered to be Zombies.
When asked about the big Zombie diet question I often turn it around a bit and ask the questioner whether they want to be judged primarily on their diet, especially if that diet is unusual due to a medical condition. If the problem a person has is with being involuntarily eaten, that’s understandable, and we can work toward a common solution, like donating surplus organs after death to hungry Zombies. Turns out nobody really needs your spleen after you die, for example, so if you don’t come back yourself, why not let a Zombie have a nice lunch?
Do you face a lot of criticism for what you believe in?
Certainly. We’re here to take that criticism and engage in outreach and dialogue. If progress is to be made we specifically need to seek out the people least receptive at present to Zombie Rights. So we go to a lot of horror conventions, film festivals, Halloween events and the like, the stronghold of the opposite camp.
Are there other organisations campaigning for a goal such as yours?
Not many that we know of. There was a Zombie Anti-Defamation League but it seems to have gone defunct last year. (http://zadl.org/) Capcom muddied the waters a bit by staging a fake Zombie Rights movement to promote Dead Rising 2, even going so far as to run novelty candidates in a UK election.
We’ve heard of similar movements for Vampires, though they’ve always had a bit better PR than our clients. The ZRC wishes them the best of luck.
If you could introduce any zombie-friendly legislation/laws what would it/they be?
Mostly we just want the law applied equitably to the Undead, so a law banning discrimination based on Undeath status or a constitutional amendment (where applicable) saying Zombies are equal citizens protected by the law would be great.
Zombies could also use some consideration from the state for their unique needs; a law banning the consumption of human flesh is all well and good, but Zombies who require a human diet from time to time should get exceptions made.
Most zombie friendly movie/TV show, book etc?
Well, ‘Fido’ is pretty widely available and Zombie Tolerant. TV shows are mostly abysmal on the Zombie front, especially recently. Books have a lot more variety, with plenty of stories at least told from the Zombie perspective. One of our favorites is ‘The Dishonored Dead’ by Robert Swartwood, which takes place in a post-Zombie Apocalypse world where the Undead faction won, re-established society, and came to desperately fear outbreaks of, well… Living people. Eye-opening and very original.
Do you believe that there is such a thing as animal zombies such as in Resident evil and if so do you campaign for their rights as well?
Sure! Undead animals are fine by the ZRC. The treatment of Undead dogs in particular in the Resident Evil series is appalling, especially since they can obviously be tamed/domesticated just like Living dogs. Shooting someone’s pet should be unacceptable regardless of vitality status.
What is the most important thing you want to tell our readers?
Zombies are people too, and while people can be scary, if you extend the hand of friendship we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results, and very rarely bitten.
You can find out more about the ZRC on
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