I grew up in San Antonio, Texas, where I was raised by my mom. Both of my parents are Mexican – I am first generation on my dad’s side and 11th on my mom’s – my family was in Texas before it was the US or even Texas. We did not have a lot of money as my mom did her best and even though I first went vegetarian when I was five, I was not able to stick with it because we didn’t have the financial resources to always buy our own food. I went vegan in 1988 when I was in high school. I lived in various states but feel my home has been Northern California since 1997. I founded Food Empowerment Project as vegans weren’t always open to my work of connecting social justice issues. I currently live in Rohnert Park in Sonoma, California, and am married to animal rights author Mark Hawthorne.
lauren Ornelas will discuss a form of environmental racism that threatens the health of future generations – current and future – and how the vegan movement has made itself exclusive and not inclusive as part of its advocacy when it looks at issues impacting communities of color and people of color.