I have always considered myself a good person with good values and a strong sense of justice. I grew up in Lima, Peru with four sisters and two brothers, and a mother who raised us on her own and did the best she could helping us grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.
It wasn’t until July, 31 of 2013 after searching for inspirational speeches on YouTube and coming across “The Best Speech You Will Ever Hear” by Gary Yourofsky that my values, ethics, and moral compass were questioned.
Gary’s passion and words were crystal clear and his strong message affected me greatly. At the same time I discovered something in me I didn’t know I had –a heart full of compassion. I felt as though I was born again and given a second chance to do something meaningful in my life. On August, 1st, 2013 I went vegan cold turkey and never looked back.
Feeling love for animals is easy. But feeling pain when they suffer can be overwhelming. When we love animals deeply, when we are sensitive to the pain of others, seeing or learning about the suffering of animals can be debilitating. Compassion can hurt sometimes. So, I realized that being vegan wasn’t enough, so I became an animal advocate.
Not My Lifestyle, but My Life
I’ve done ALL kind of grassroots activism to spread the vegan message, but I came to the realization that it just wasn’t enough, so thus came the idea of writing my first children’s book with the main goal of spreading the vegan message around the world!
Why a children’s book? As a mother, I believe the importance of reaching out to children cannot be overemphasized. We mustn’t any longer wait for children to become “adults” or “grow up” and leave it to their “choice” to do what? To undo the process of indoctrination and socialization? I want to show people the bottom up approach, because children are more open-minded, inherently compassionate, and receptive to new ideas. We need to empower them with the right for their choices at an early age. Only empowered children can save humanity from the massive ethical crisis we are witnessing.
Changing the World, One Book at a Time
My first book Milk and Cookie a Little Spooky seeks to raise awareness of dairy consumption for future generations by taking a critical look at the dairy industry through vivid and whimsical illustrations. It emphasizes the overall benefits of a more compassionate, dairy-free lifestyle, and provides an amazing opportunity for all parents to respect the wisdom and kindness of their children.
Spreading Veganism Further through My Art
Being an animal advocate, and veganism as the only ethical way of living through my children’s book (s), I wanted to expand some of my art work and have it more widely available and customizable, so I am currently working on a new, lovely line of vegan greeting cards, with the goal of helping animal rights organizations and animal sanctuaries through donations from the purchase of individual cards and boxed sets of Thank You and Notecards. So stay tuned!
Leading by example, wearing a vegan T-shirt, leafleting, cooking for others, and educational resources –vegan videos, lectures, essays, articles, and pictures.
Written by Maritza Oliver
You can find out more about Maritza’s amazing books by visiting her website here.