I am Nicaraguan, 20 years old. I moved to Berkeley from Modesto, CA in the beginning of 2017 to be an organizer with Direct Action Everywhere, Vegans of the Bay and a volunteer at the Berkeley Animal Rights Center, the first community center for animal rights in the country. I organize protests, marches, and fun community events for DxE and I also work part-time as a barista in a vegan coffee shop.
This Saturday, October 21st The Official Animal Rights March will take place in Berkeley beginning at 12 PM at Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus. There are going to be AWESOME speakers including the president of the Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy, the founder of Happy Hen Chicken Rescue Animal Sanctuary and much more. We are also going to have smoke flares, drums, and free vegan snacks!
What was the moment you realize that you wanted to go vegan?
I considered myself someone who cared about social justice. I would speak out against sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination every time I had a chance to do so. I also felt an extreme connection with animals but I didn’t make the connection between the animals I said I loved and the animals I was eating. I came across a video of animal slaughter and learned about the egg and dairy industry and it broke my heart so I decided to go vegan. I knew that wasn’t enough so I started leafleting and organizing Earthling demos in our local community college until I became an organizer for Direct Action Everywhere.
Why is being Vegan important to you?
Because animal liberation is social justice. I am here to challenge injustice whatever it is. A lot of times that’s injustice towards nonhuman animals. Other times that’s injustice towards immigrants, injustice towards people of color or injustice anywhere we find it. I am here learning, working and fighting until everyone is safe, happy and free.
RESIST Canvas Book Bag! $13 To Purchase click here.
Any recommended social sites, Facebook Groups or other?
If you are in the Bay Area I recommend the Vegans of the Bay Facebook Group. We organize community events like vegan potlucks, dance parties, Karaoke nights, etc! And it’s a great community to meet new vegans in the area.
Do you actively promote veganism? How? Please share any stories you would like.
I am constantly working to change the social norms that allow violence towards animals by taking nonviolent direct action. One of my most memorable actions took place on the last day of DxE forum 2017. We learned at the action briefing that morning that all 200 of us would be participating in DxE’s first broad daylight open rescue. We silently marched to a slaughterhouse in San Francisco and held white flowers and bore witness while activists walked into the slaughterhouse and removed six hens one by one. I felt so empowered to be part of a community and a movement that was putting animal liberation into action. With each bird who came through those doors, leaving their property status behind, tears fell down my cheeks as I promised myself that I would keep fighting until the day we could remove all animals from exploitation everywhere.
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
The Veghub in Oakland! I LOVE IT!
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
I encourage all new vegans to meet nonhuman animals, volunteer at a sanctuary and get to know some of their residents. Once you meet the survivors of the animal agriculture industry and learn how each one of them has different personalities you will no longer consider them food and you will have no problems staying vegan for life.
What are you favorite Vegan non-food products or companies?
Kat Von D has the BEST vegan makeup!