Due to this misrepresentation about the true scope of veganism, it’s not unusual for many vegans of color to think that they are alone. “I can’t tell you how many people come up to me at events and tell me that it’s so good to see someone who looks like me speaking,” says Lauren Ornelas, the founder of the Food Empowerment Project, and a self-described “proud Mexican-American.” Emiko Badillo, the founder of Portland’s first all-vegan grocery store, credits the same acute visibility problem to why she decided to start the Portland Vegans of Color group. “I started becoming disenfranchised with the vegan community in Portland when I realized how white-dominated veganism was,” Badillo explains. “I put a call out to see who might be interested in forming a vegans of color group, and the responses showed me how much of a need there was for [one].”