“Vendor Power! Vendor Power! Vendor Power!” That chant filled the halls of the beautiful 117-year-old Judson Memorial Church last Tuesday night for the Street Vendor Project’s annual Great Street Meet.
The Street Vendor Project (SVP), part of the Urban Justice Center, reaches out to vendors in the streets and teaches them about their legal rights and responsibilities. They hold monthly meetings to plan collective actions for getting their voices heard. The Great Street Meet is SVP’s annual community gala, a night to celebrate with street vendors and the community of vendor advocates.
Take a look at our night at the Great Street Meet in our Facebook album here
Some of our favorite street vendors, many who have won Vendys awards, donated great food for the night:
Vegan vanilla and strawberry donuts from vegan food truck, Cinnamon Snail (Vendys People's Choice Award 2012 and Hero Award 2013),
Wafels from Wafels & Dinges (Vendys Best Dessert 2009)
An array of cookies from Insomnia Cookies
It wasn’t just a night of great food from some of the best vendors in the city, it was a night to celebrate the community fighting for vendor rights. Present to join in the festivities were supporting City Council Members: Margaret Chin, Ben Kallos and Robert Cornegy. One thing we forget is that street vendors are small businesses. With over 20,000 street vendors in the city, they are often one of the first sights of tourists. In that sense, as councilman Cornegy said, “Street vendors are our city’s on-the-ground ambassadors!”--which is why we need to support these important players in our economy.
But before the night was over, we all got a taste of what it’s like to be at a SVP meeting. Vendors, SVP members, allies and guests all joined hands to repeat the chant repeated (in five languages:English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and Bangladeshi) after every monthly meeting: “Vendor Power! Vendor Power!,”