Alejandrina AceretoJacob DempseyBarista and educatorsPortland, Oregon
AA: “If I could change anything in the world? I think for me, the environment is my biggest concern because it’s what I’m studying, and it’s something that I’ve always been very passionate about. So whether it’s through my paintings, or through conversations with people, I want there to be more understanding about what’s going on with our planet. I guess I’d change global warming. I’d change where that’s at (that word has been overused so it’s a very cheesy thing to say nowadays), but at the end of the day, money doesn’t matter, all these things aren’t worth where we’re taking our Earth.”
JD: “I think I would change the way people actually look at things, because there are so many filters over things. Being vegans, we understand what happens in the meat industry and in the milk industry, and people just shut their eyes to it. If you think of all the politics in the world today, there are so many filters over things and people just act like the filters are not there. The big thing I would change is to just have people actually understand what’s really going on, and look at the truth.”
“At the end of the day, money doesn’t matter, all these things aren’t worth where we’re taking our Earth.” - Alejandrina
“Music has always been a place where I can unleash hell—whatever’s inside of me, I can get out.” -Jacob
AA: “I have very set thoughts on how I feel about being vegan but I don’t want to be that person who’s pushing it on others, unless someone asks, and then I’ll totally talk about it. But just through living by example I think we can make a big change.
“There’s an organization that I love called PangeaSeed and I’ve found a lot of inspiration through them. It was how I was first introduced to that kind of activism—where you are making art to catch people’s eye. It’s just an art piece—you know, if it were a quote, or a document stating facts, people wouldn’t want to look at it—but when you create something beautiful people are naturally drawn to it and accidentally get sucked into that world. I got to work with PangeaSeed a couple years back and help an artist with a mural. We were doing it on coral acidification. It was humongous, and it was just a bunch of dead white coral, and people would be like ‘Well why is it white? Why does it look this way? Why are there skulls on the painting?’ It was a way to get people’s brains moving, and that’s what I like about art.”
JD: “Everyone has to express their emotions in their own way and get things out, because we can’t just hold everything in all the time. Music has always been a place where I can unleash hell—whatever’s inside of me, I can get out. And there’s been moments that I’ve been in practice with my band and just broke down in tears. Music lets me express every emotion that I’m feeling inside, and almost hide it like a secret—I’m singing this, but it really means this.
“As millennials, people look at us like, ‘Oh, stop complaining,’ and it’s like, ‘Well, we’re in poverty and we can’t do anything.’ Ale’s going to school and she’s an environmental studies major so that she can make change. Right now, she can only tell people how it is. Someday, she’ll be able to make a change in the world.
“Ale’s mom is vegan, her dad is plant-based and her brother is pescatarian since age 12, because when Ale was in 8th grade she said, ‘I’m gonna start making my own food’ and she has affected change in her whole family. I started being vegan because we were in California and there was a drought, and I started realizing how many gallons of water they use on animals, just to be slaughtered. We saw the facts, and we went with what would affect change the most.”
“The big thing I would change in the world is to just have people actually understand what’s really going on, and look at the truth.” - Jacob
AA: “Pepper is a very intuitive dog. I’ve had mental health issues since I was fifteen, and through my depression and really dark episodes, she’s been there. I don’t know if it’s because she’s been with me since she was a puppy, but even now, if I get home and I’ve had a stressful day, she’ll come up to me and look at me like, ‘What’s really going on?’
“I grew up moving around a lot. I’m from Mexico, and moving to the United States was a really big thing.So I’ve grown up with a constant feeling of homesickness. It’s had to do with family members being a country away or, you know, having a new country that’s home. But for now, we have this space, and we can finally well, nest, and we now have a space that we can express ourselves in. Before, it was always like, I’m in a tiny little space and I’m just crunched up, trying to create something. So now it’s so good having this, and Pepper and Nala, and Jake.”
JD: “This is the first backyard we’ve ever had. My whole childhood, I had one backyard maybe. So we’ve always made this house feel like home. When you come back from a really hard day of work, or a trip—even going back to San Diego, we miss home. I’ve never missed home, ever. It’s the craziest feeling.”