Roland Jackson created Planet Health Compton and Vegan State of Mind after he found himself in a car accident that would change his life forever. This accident took away his ability to do the activities that kept him healthy, like swimming and hiking. He needed to find a new alternative, so he turned to veganism, and it saved his life.
Jackson is now taking the blessing of veganism into the city of Compton and other inner-city communities. Jackson is doing this by creating Planet Health Compton, his flagship restaurant & cafe, community center and retail plaza.
During his own upbringing, Jackson sought, but could not find, adequate places to nurture his own wellness. Therefore, he hopes to provide the community with these much needed resources through Planet Health Compton. Through his dedication, he hopes to inspire healthy minds and lifestyles. On top of his already stellar achievement of giving back to the inner-cities, Jackson founded Vegan State of Mind (VSOM), a clothing brand created to inspire a conscious mindset and lifestyle.
Jackson continues to put wellness at the forefront of all he does and devotes himself to change.
Ruby McAuliffe: Roland, tell me about Planet Health Compton.
Roland Jackson: Planet Health Compton is a marketplace for like-minded individuals who have brands they want to put on display. It’s basically like a Walmart for the urban community and for people who have small businesses, Black-owned businesses and Brown-owned businesses that don’t have a way to launch their brand.
Ruby McAuliffe: You have mentioned that there weren’t a lot of safe spaces for you growing up that allowed you to study or to work on your health. How is Planet Health Compton changing that for individuals?
Roland Jackson: Well, Planet Health Compton will be a safe place, and will be designed to be a module for everywhere. That’s the goal: for people in the area to be able to come in and study, showcase their talent, showcase their thoughts, their abilities and to network with each other. There’s never been a place like this built for the community. That is why it’s considered a safe place for me, because only like-minded individuals who are trying to grow through good energy and good vibes will be in here. It’s not a space that’s built for hanging out, drinking, clubbing, partying. It’s strictly built for networking, enjoying good food, having a positive vibe and launching your brand and ideas, and maybe you’ll come across someone else that has the same vision as you.
Ruby McAuliffe: What made you want to give back to the inner cities through Vegan State of Mind and Planet Health Compton?
Roland Jackson: So many times we ask people to change, and we ask people to adopt a certain way of thinking. But the first thing we have to do is allow them to see that we’re here for them no matter what, that this place is built and designed for them.
Giving back to the community is essential, and anybody that is attached to Planet Health Compton must give back. I don’t care if you’re a brand. I don’t care what you are or who you are. You’re going to have to give back through time, clothing, food, or whatever else, because you have to build a community and get the community members’ attention through understanding, donating, talking and gaining their trust. Letting them know they can come here and that we have their back, that we can figure it out for you even if you can’t figure it out yourself; and that’s what giving back is designed to do.
More specifically, we are giving back through our opportunities. We have opportunities for educational purposes, business, credit repair, housing, loans, jobs, healing, Reiki sessions and more. We even have two girls that are going to come aboard and teach English and Spanish. So many people are volunteering their time to just help the community and give back. We are going to mend the community together.
Ruby McAuliffe: Shifting trajectory slightly, how do your two brands and your mission tie into the Black Lives Matter movement?
Roland Jackson: To me, the Black Lives Matter movement is the uplifting of the Black man, woman and child that is living in the community. I believe what I’m doing has a direct relation to it because I’m in the community. I’m hiring from the community. I’m hiring Black. I’m hiring Brown. I’m promoting Black. I’m promoting Brown. I’m donating to them. I’m there for them. All of the engagement is for the community. In all I’m doing, I’m uplifting Black lives because Black lives truly matter. I actually found a quote that I’m putting on the wall in the plaza that says, “Our lives have always mattered.”
I also think we need to bring our ideas back to our community. As people of color, we are leaders in culture. We are leaders in music. We are leaders in so many things, but we take our ideas and our thoughts and our visions outside of our community instead of inside of our community, which would allow for change — and I’ve always said, as long as your product, vision and service is great, people will go anywhere. You think they won’t come and buy your good food? That they won’t come to support your business? They definitely will; and [if] they don’t, well, the people in the neighborhood will support your business.
Ruby McAuliffe: How do we continue to push forward?
Roland Jackson: I think by understanding that the problem might not get fixed through the government, but the problem has to be fixed through us. I think we can continue to do this if we keep an inner push. This can be buying Black, donating and building up our neighborhoods.
I think the main thing we really need to do right now is call on so many Black leaders — and I’m not talking about politicians. We need to get these people together and get them on the same page and work inside of our communities. Once we start doing that, it’ll turn positive. We also have to start recycling our own dollars in our own community. Let’s network with one another and build ourselves. I think that’s the push, and that’s what Planet Health Compton is really about. It’s what we hope for Planet Health Houston, Planet Health Atlanta, Planet Health everywhere: to network and recycle our dollars.
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