Today we’d like to introduce you to Destiny DeJesus.
Destiny, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My name is Destiny DeJesus and I’m originally from The Bronx, New York. In 2016, I decided to take a leap of faith and leave NYC for the first time to move to Dallas, Texas. Back in NYC, I was involved in activist groups and coordinated around social justice issues but once I moved to the south, I found it difficult to join similar groups. In 2018, I decided to start my vegan journey and share my process on my Instagram page, @eatyodestiny. Throughout the first year, I attended vegan events in Dallas but realized that I was surrounded by people who looked nothing like me. In May 2019, I decided to start the Dallas Chapter of a nationwide collective called Veggie Mijas. Since March, we’ve been hosting events for vegans of color, specifically women, trans and femmes.
Veggie Mijas is a woman of the color collective, in which we highlight the importance of having a plant-based lifestyle while also intersecting race, gender identity, class, and sexuality; being brown, Latinx, non-binary, women, queer, genderqueer, coming from a working-class background and having other marginalized identities. We are very passionate about spreading awareness of the lack of resources we have to healthier options in the hood, animal liberation, environmental justice. This is a platform where womxn/folks have shared their families recipes, their own recipes, and have talked about why being vegan has connected them to their ancestral roots.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Starting the chapter was pretty easy for me since I was already connected with a few WOC vegans in the Dallas area. The only struggle I’ve come across is the fact that people in the Dallas area are anti-POC only spaces. Here is how I respond to that:
Veggie Mijas is a woman of color and non-binary people of color (WOC/NBPOC) collective. They choose to create a collective exclusive to WOC/NBPOC because otherwise, representation like this is few and far between in veganism, vegetarianism, and plant-based lifestyles as a whole. Stories of POC are changing the way this lifestyle reaches and transforms our communities and that is a priority.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
Our mission is to create sacred spaces for folks where they can share their experiences with food or having a plant-based diet through an intersectional lens. We are known for holding POC only spaces for vegans of color in the Dallas area. Veggie Mijas has a national collective list where folks can share their information, know about events happening in their city, and meet other vegan folks of color in their community. Therefore, our main focus is sharing space, relearning ancestral practices through foods, share our plant-based recipes and provide access to information our community needs. This is done through organizing events such as potlucks, vegan panels, farm sanctuary trips, yoga sessions, learning how to plant herbs and much more. Lastly, our goal is to show folks that decolonizing your diet is possible.
What were you like growing up?
Growing up as an only child, I was very active. Because I didn’t have siblings, my mother and grandmother made sure that I was always around lots of young people and making friends. I grew up in the Girl Scouts and stayed with the organization until I graduated from high school. My mother was the leader of our troop and I watched/helped her coordinate a lot of our troop events. From that, I learned how to coordinate events and promote them. I’ve used those skills throughout my adulthood to spread awareness of whatever causes I’ve been passionate about. Now, I use all of that experience to host events in the Dallas area for people who look like me!
- Website: www.veggiemijas.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/eatyodestiny
- Other: www.instagram.com/veggiemijas
Credit: Destiny, Veggie Mijas Dallas Chapter Organizer, @eatyodestiny