Keeping up with our series of activist profiles, let’s get to know Vegan Outreach volunteer and intern, Joselyn Aguilar! We first met Joselyn in Part I of our Spring 2017 Top Leafleters series, but now we get to learn a little bit more about her and her vegan journey.
Joselyn traveled with Vegan Outreach’s Mexico Outreach Coordinator, Emmanuel Márquez, during the spring—leafleting at 44 schools and distributing 25,284 leaflets!
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I’m from Mexico, and I live in Mexico City.
What got you interested in animal rights and veganism?
I’ve always loved animals, but it wasn’t until my partner, Francisco, and I rescued a neglected kitten that I shifted my perspective on farmed animals. The kitten—who we named Lithium—was malnourished when we took her in, and it made me very sad that her prior family didn’t take care of her.
Not long after adopting Lithium, I saw a disturbing video where dogs were being killed for food. At one point in the video, I had to close my eyes because of the images on the screen and the first thing that came to mind was Lithium. I thought to myself, “How can I get so angry at people who mistreat dogs and cats, but I can pay someone to kill a cow?” That’s when I went vegetarian, and I went vegan about a year after that.
How did you get involved with Vegan Outreach and leafleting?
A few years ago, Emmanuel Márquez, Vegan Outreach’s Mexico Outreach Coordinator, posted on a local vegan group’s Facebook page, saying that he was looking for outreach volunteers in Mexico City. I met up with Emmanuel and former Vegan Outreach intern, Carlos Contreras, at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México to help leaflet. Now, every time Emmanuel comes to Mexico City to leaflet, he stays at my house—to save money on lodging costs—and I go out and leaflet with him whenever I can.
Do you have a favorite leafleting moment to share?
When Emmanuel and I were in the state of Aguascalientes last March, a student approached us to ask for a leaflet. He said he was happy we were passing out information about animals and that he was in the process of going vegan. He told me, “At first I wanted to go vegan because of the pollution the meat industry produces, but when I found out how animals are treated on factory farms, I went vegan for them.”
What do you do for fun when you’re not leafleting?
I love reading, flying kites, watching horror movies, and baking. For my birthday, I decided to do a personal challenge of watercolor painting for 365 days. So far, I’m loving it!
Do you have anything else you’d like to add about leafleting?
l always believed in the power of leafleting, but it wasn’t until I did it myself that I saw the real effect it has on people. Since I’ve started leafleting, I’ve met several people who’d gone vegetarian or vegan because of a booklet they’d received from Vegan Outreach.
Can you tell us one of your favorite vegan products to share with our readers?
Foreign vegan food products I love are Tofutti’s cream cheese and sour cream. The Mexican vegan food product I love is made by a very small company—so small they don’t have a website yet. I like their Veganisse, which is vegan cheese made out of coconuts, potatoes, and cashews.