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10 vegans of color about what veganism means to them

In Queens, where I've lived all my life, I find a bodega (a corner shop) that's faster and easier to fill with processed foods than fresh produce in my neighborhood in Jackson Heights. a predominantly Latinx part of Queens. Why? For food deserts – what the CDC refers to as "areas lacking in affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk, and other foods that make up a wholesome and wholesome diet," are not uncommon in low-income color communities. A study from the year 2014 dealing with the intersection of racial segregation and poverty concluded that "districts with greater poverty and a large minority population have less access to supermarkets". Last March even a report called Jackson Heights as one of three Queens "food swamps" (their term for "neighborhoods where fast food and junk food outlets are healthy alternatives"). From home, I see two bodegas, a KFC and a popeye's, but no plant-based options, or even a menu with a plethora of whole and minimally processed foods.

Apart from the food swamps and deserts, there is the way animal husbandry in the factory contributes to a dynamic that harms communities, especially color communities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the US, more than 60% is black or Latinx employed in the animal slaughtering and processing industry, and 38% are immigrants. The disease and injury rates in the meat packing industry are two and a half times higher than the national average, and will be a serious workplace injury three times more common in the meat packing industry than in the US Total Sectors, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Authority. The CDC reported on the various health risks of working in a factory or even living near factories. Injury rates and disease rates for workers in chicken and beef processing are higher than for other types of manufacturing, according to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO). Some research indicates that meat packaging is physically dangerous. In 2009, a statistical analysis in the Journal Organization & Environment found that abbey districts have four times the national average of violent arrest, with significantly higher rates of alcoholism, domestic violence, and children Abuse and suicide. The study hypothesized that "the work of killing animals in an industrial process can have social and psychological consequences for the workers." It is important to note that the study found a correlation and no cause.

Veganism is important to me because I believe that black and brown people deserve to have food that does us good both physically and mentally. It's not that veganism is naturally more nutritious or healthier than not being a vegan. (After all, you can eat high-processed foods and avoid vegetables in just about any diet!) Which is better for you if you have access to fresh produce and minimally processed foods and can incorporate them into your diet. This means we need more fresh produce and minimally processed foods at affordable prices. We deserve access to foods that improve and not harm our health. And we deserve access to jobs that pay a living wage and do not jeopardize us physically and mentally.

That's why I founded Veggie Mijas a national collective of women and non-binary people Femmes of Color. It was formed out of the "bonnet": for the community, made within the community. The issues I've just described are central to Veggie Mijas and those we believe are ignored (or ignored) by mainstream white veganism.

Mainstream Veganism – How Mainstream Wellness and Nutrition – does not often do so through abuse that brown and black people and immigrants undergo in the capitalist cycle. That's why we, Veggie Mijas, believe in reshaping the way veganism is spoken by including analyzes of food swamps and deserts, the suffering of animals and humans, and the health of black and brown people. These are all aspects of food justice and the reasons why organizations such as the La Raza for Liberation and Food Empowerment project are trying to make veganism intersect with it, to see how the food industry affects black and brown communities.

A bit of sister / sibling, community gardening, recipes and resources for food accessibility and food education Veggie Mijas has to offer can make a big contribution to food justice for brown and black communities. Decolonizing your eating habits to avoid the damage to animals and humans caused by factory farming begins with eating more plant foods, finding more information about your roots, finding your coworkers, and asking family members accessibility.

There are so many reasons why people become vegan with color. Here are some amazing Veggie Mijas / Mijxs who tell us what their vegan lifestyle means to them.

. 1 Ashlee Dume 23, Harlem, New York

"I identify as a vegan African American woman with Latinx heritage. I became vegan because I wanted a healthier lifestyle, but research has shown me that veganism is also about animals and protects our environment. Being a vegan POC is important to me because I know that my community has health differences when it comes to preventable diseases like heart disease and diabetes. I want to show the colored people that veganism is accessible to them and that vegan food can be delicious! "

. 2 Ysanet Batista 28, South Bronx, New York

Phillis Kwentoh 2017

"Eating and preparing plant foods is the way I honor my body, my health and my black and brown ancestors It is important to understand that blacks and indigenous people are dying from so-called lifestyle disorders that can be addressed, at least in part, with better access to healthier foods (as well as affordable healthcare and employment). ] food corporations My goal in promoting a plant-based lifestyle is to raise awareness of the food system and understand that we can feed and sustain our bodies with ancient and culturally relevant plant-based foods and spices. "

Courtesy of Starr Carrington [19659021] "I identify as a vegan femme of color, because for my black body, choosing self-care and compassion as core values ​​is a political attitude. I approach my activism through the Black Feminism and Justice to highlight the unique experience that black / brown women, femme, and non-binary people experience as they try to reconcile their lifestyle with their values. By exposing the wisdom and heritage of my ancestors, cultivating compassion for life, and promoting conscious consumerism, I am changing the vegan narrative. "

. 4 Ivonne Quiroz 34, Orange County, California

Enrique Valencia

Courtesy of Ivonne Quiroz

"I identify as a vegan Latina because it is important for others to know that we are exist; This veganism is not just for white people who are wealthy. Veganism is for the girl from the area of ​​"mother", single mothers, welfare recipients, immigrants and those at the intersection of all these identities. It's important for me to improve those identities, because being vegan is good for stopping the suffering of nonhuman animals, but it's also good for the health of our planet. Denying people the opportunity to influence all these aspects because they do not see themselves in this movement, or do not see themselves in the individuals who call themselves vegan, is an injustice to human and nonhuman animals. "

Courtesy of Cristina Cartagena

" Being a vegan woman in color is a unique experience because five years ago I felt I was the only one, even though the mainstream vegan culture is mostly white I think vegan social media vegans are now forming their own subculture – I find more vegans coming from the same place where I come from and wanting to pass on authentic ancestral recipes and traditions by giving them our vegan twist, without losing their essence. "

6. Amanda Tello 29, St. Louis, Missouri

" I am a Mexican aborigine and the identification as a vegan of color is important to the creation of space Mainstream veganism ignores people with color and our long history of plant-based diets when we say that this movement is a decolonization of our diet, we have the responsibility to decolonize much more than just the food we serve. Vegans of color bring a conversation and awareness of access to food and racial justice to the movement that currently does not exist. It's about regaining our access, our power and our divine right to the food of our ancestors. "

. 7 Reatna Taylor 25, Charlotte, North Carolina

Courtesy of Reatna Taylor

"Being a vegan of color is important to me because we live in a world where so much is Oppression reigns both humans and animals. Veganism, so largely Eurocentric and animal-centered, seems to ignore the advocacy of the traumas and injustices faced by the coloreds. For me, it's important to be part of the POC Veganism community, which offers a unique perspective and narrative to the larger conversation. This perspective emphasizes the advocacy of disassembly of these people's injustices and of animals. "

. 8 Jael Buscema 25, Queensland, Australia

Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

"To identify as a vegan, the Argentine allowed me to honor my ancestors and their oneness with the Earth. I believe that careful consumption is crucial not only for our personal healing and progress, but also for the protection of our depleted lands. I would like to bring this form of consciousness into many color communities. "

. 9 Letitia Richards 36, Charlotte, North Carolina

Courtesy of Letitia Richards

"When I started my wellness trip about 13 years ago, I realized how important it was to me, my lifestyle change and the relationship I had to eat. I wanted to experience everything nature had to offer, and veganism helped me with it. I want to raise awareness and show how important it is for us to take care of all parts of ourselves – mind, body and soul. "

10th Alyssa Perez 27, Bronx, New York

"I identify myself as a vegan Puerto Rican and to me that means I am a person of color whose diets do not involve animal cruelty and exploitation. [Being vegan] is essential for my personal and professional life: I am healthier, feel better, think clearly, and I can educate others about how the meat and dairy industry damages the natural environment . , The environment is something to which I have deep roots and connections. So it's really my being vegan. "

Quotes were edited for clarity. The ideas expressed in this story are the opinion of the author and those presented and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SELF or SELF editors.

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