MEDIA RELEASE: 10-Year-Old Arizona Girl & Her Grandfather Set to Receive First Homo Ahimsa Award

MEDIA RELEASE: 10-Year-Old Arizona Girl & Her Grandfather Set to Receive First Homo Ahimsa Award

Phoenix, Ariz. (February 18, 2020) — In Defense of Animals’ Interfaith Vegan Coalition has announced the winners of the first ever Homo Ahimsa Award. Two Arizona-based activists, 10-year-old Kimaya Rainy Rao and her grandfather Dr. Sailesh Rao, will be honored for their nonviolent activism at an award ceremony this Sunday.

Ahimsa is the Sanskrit word for non-harm and nonviolence. Venerated champions of the teaching include Mahatma Gandhi, who took a vow of Ahimsa that informed his life and his activism. 

“The Homo Ahimsa Award honors those who live in nonviolent, respectful, and ahimsa partnership with all life.” Judy Carman, co-founder of the Interfaith Vegan Coalition and author of Peace to All Beings and Homo Ahimsa.

“In today’s world, it is a truly heroic act every time we express nonviolence or ‘ahimsa’ through our actions, thoughts, and words,” said Lisa Levinson, of In Defense of Animals and co-founder of the Interfaith Vegan Coalition. “We are proud to present our first ever Homo Ahimsa award to honor the noble work of Kimaya Rainy Rao and Dr. Sailesh Rao and to end the violence and domination of animals suffering in the food, fashion, pharmaceutical, and entertainment industries.”

The Interfaith Vegan Coalition grants the Homo Ahimsa Award to those who embody the Homo Ahimsa qualities of nonviolence and compassion for all beings. Homo Ahimsa award recipients demonstrate how vegan living can co-create a world of peace, partnership, and loving kindness by ending violence and domination to people, animals, and the earth. 

The Homo Ahimsa Award was established by In Defense of Animals’ Interfaith Vegan Coalition and is given during the Season of Nonviolence to honor those who exemplify the qualities of Homo Ahimsa in outstanding ways. The award is named after the book, Homo Ahimsa: Who We Really Are and How We’re Going to Save the World, by the Interfaith Vegan Coalition’s co-founder Judy Carman, who coined the term.

Carman added, “We can stop violence to animals, people, and the earth caused by our species, Homo sapiens, by making a personal commitment to nonviolence. Together we can evolve and become a kinder species: Homo Ahimsa.”


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Sunday, February 21: Homo Ahimsa Award Ceremony

This inaugural year, In Defense of Animals’ Interfaith Vegan Coalition will bestow its first Homo Ahimsa Award to Climate Healers’ founder and executive director Dr. Sailesh Rao and his granddaughter Kimaya Rainy Rao (see bios below). Together, they’re striving to build a vegan world by 2026. 

Register here to join the online Homo Ahimsa Award Ceremony on February 21, 2-3 pm PT.


Discover more on Facebook event page:


Biographies of Homo Ahimsa Award 2021 Recipients

Dr. Sailesh Rao has over three decades of professional experience and is the Founder and Executive Director of Climate Healers, a non-profit dedicated towards healing the Earth’s climate. A systems specialist with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, Dr. Rao worked on the internet communications infrastructure for twenty years after graduation. During this period, he led the transformation of early analog internet connections to more robust digital connections that also ran ten times faster, at 1Gb/s. 

In 2006, he switched careers and became deeply immersed, full time, in solving the environmental crises affecting humanity. Dr. Rao is the author of two books, Carbon Dharma: The Occupation of Butterflies and Carbon Yoga: The Vegan Metamorphosis, and an Executive Producer of four documentaries, The Human Experiment (2013), Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014), What The Health (2017), and A Prayer for Compassion (2019).

Dr. Rao is a Human, Earth and Animal Liberation (HEAL) activist, husband, dad and since 2010, a star-struck grandfather. He has promised his granddaughter, Kimaya, that the world will be largely Vegan before she turns 16 in 2026, so that people will stop eating her relatives, the animals. He has faith that humanity will transform to keep his pinky promise to Kimaya, not just for ethical reasons, but also out of sheer ecological necessity.


Kimaya Rainy Rao is a ten-year old Human Earth Animal Liberation (HEAL) activist and the Founder of the Vegan World 2026! project at Climate Healers. She is an Animal Hero Kid featured in videos produced for the Million Dollar Vegan campaign of 2019. She is born of Indian-African-O'otham-Choctaw ancestry and strives to bring a unifying global perspective to her activism, cutting across national, tribal and species boundaries.


AHIMSA Acrostic 

Ahimsa is the compassionate way to inner peace and world peace through non-killing, non-injuring, non-harming, and nonviolence. 

A: Abstinence from animal products

H: Harmlessness with reverence for life

I: Integrity of thought, word, and deed

M: Mastery over oneself

S: Service to humanity, nature, and creation

A: Advancement of understanding and truth

Acrostic credit: Jay Dinshah, of American Vegan Society (AVS). AVS is a member of the Interfaith Vegan Coalition.





  • In Defense of Animals, Interfaith Vegan Coalition co-founder, Lisa Levinson,, 215-620-2130
  • Interfaith Vegan Coalition co-founder, Judy Carman,, 785-760-2446  

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 37-year history of protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats through education, campaigns, and hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.

The Interfaith Vegan Coalition helps animal activists and spiritual leaders bring vegan values to spiritual, ethical, and religious communities. The coalition provides tools to help all faith and secular wisdom traditions practice the ideals of nonviolence, lovingkindness, and harmlessness toward all animals.

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