I live in Northern California and co-own the Bay Area Custom Laboratories where we design and manufacture cruelty-free/vegan skincare for small independent companies. I’m in the process of releasing my own skincare line which will fund my activism and allow me to support vegan organizations and charities. Last year, I enrolled in law school with a goal to provide free legal services to organizations like Animal Equality and to represent activists prosecuted for their compassion. I volunteer as a vegan mentor personally and through vegan outreach. When I became too busy to provide personal attention I decided to create a website. It’s designed to provide information and tools for people I mentor and to anyone curious about or interested in the vegan lifestyle. (Every person I interact with) www.rociovita.com
What was the moment you realize that you wanted to go vegan?
I was four or five years old when my perception of the world changed. I walked out to my backyard and found that my father was holding down a terrified pig. The screams the poor desperate animal let out were horrific and deafening but the look in his innocent tortured eyes pierced my soul. I yelled out begging for my father to stop. I was ignored and laughed at. I remember someone held me back, making me completely helpless but seconds before his life was stolen, we locked eyes. His eyes communicated so much… I saw the same innocence and vulnerability that I saw in my little sister. I saw terror, confusion and I saw him pleading to live. I was forced to wash the blood from the ground as punishment for my “tantrum.” As I scrubbed the pavement I could still see the fear in his childlike eyes, I could still hear his screams of horror and agony. I couldn’t help him but his death was not in vain, it was the last time I had blood on my hands. That was over thirty years ago.
For years I didn’t know there was a word to describe who I was and what I stood against. I felt completely isolated in a cruel and indifferent world. It wasn’t until I was 11 years old that everything became clear and the world opened up. I saw a dirty piece of paper on the ground. The crumpled pamphlet had a picture of animals with words that made me fall to my knees in tears, “Animals aren’t ours, PETA.” Reading the leaflet was a second awakening. I wasn’t crazy or alone in the world, I was a vegan! I became an activist that day.
PETA gave me the direction and information i needed to lead others to a compassionate lifestyle. Through them I learned that one brave and compassionate person is stronger than a Cruel or indifferent mob, To use my voice to make the voiceless heard, to fight for the vulnerable.
- Every one of our meals is an act of protest
- I fought to save the redwoods
- I fought against the use of animals in circuses
- I continue to fight against the use of fur and leather
- I continue to fight against rodeos, zoos and animal attractions
- I continue to fight against animal testing and work to change industry standards
- I continue to expose everyone I encounter to VEGAN.. It only takes a spark to ignite a flame…so many strangers, co-workers family members, and friends have gone vegan. My mother, siblings, aunts, uncles and most of my cousins are all vegan when they started off judging and mocking.
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
Lead by example, be kind and patient with questions. People can change, Be their inspiration. Vegans are awake to the cruelty of the world, It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the suffering around us. Feeling helpless is devastating, it will make you depressed and angry. overcome this by being involved somehow, I volunteer at a local farm sanctuary and conduct cruelty investigations for PETA. Figure out how your talents and abilities can save lives, we all have something unique to offer.
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
I prefer my cooking over restaurants. I support them when I can but I don’t eat out much. I got used to cooking for myself(ever since the little bag of rice) love to create healthy and delicious vegan meals. I can make anything vegan. I’m going to start posting my own recipe videos to share with you all.
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?
I don’t have trouble finding vegan items. Vegan alternatives are everywhere now. Before vegan became mainstream I used it as an opertunty to get creative. I made whatever wasn’t sold, I’ve never felt like i was depriving myself. Even now, I like to sew…In protest of designers who use fur, I’ve designed and made the gowns I wear to vegan galas and charity events. It’s also the reason I designed my own skincare line. If it doesn’t exist, make it!
I refuse to accept the world I was born in to, it’s our responsibility to leave it better than we found it. Every vegan act has a ripple effect capable of causing a tsunami.
Are you the vegan that you wish you would have met?
I go through my daily routines with the thought that I might be the only vegan you encounter. I find a way to make every interaction count…
Favorite organizations in order :
Favorite book is Plato’s The Republic. In it, I found the allegory of the cave. I was 15 when I first read the allegory, In a time when being vegan made you a complete outcast. Most People responded with a lot of disbelief, hate, and aggression. (So much More than today)The Allegory gave me a real perspective and an understanding as to why people responded the way they did. A must read! and there are YouTube videos of the allegory for people who don’t want to read Plato