Urban Justice Urban Justice Center individual rights - social change

There are perhaps 20,000 street vendors in New York City. They have been an integral part of our city for more than 200 years. They sell hot dogs, hand bags, and almost everything in between.

Vendors are small businesspeople struggling to make ends meet. Most are immigrants and people of color. Many are U.S. military veterans. They work long hours under harsh conditions, asking for nothing more than a chance to sell their goods on the public street or sidewalk.

Yet many wealthy corporations and individuals would prefer to see no vendors on our streets. These special interests are very effective at manipulating our government to "crack down" on street vendors, usually in the name of "quality of life" enforcement. In the average year, there are more than 40,000 tickets written to vendors, and about 10,000 arrests.

The Street Vendor Project works to correct the social and economic injustice faced by these hardworking entrepreneurs. Reaching out to vendors on the street, we hold clinics to educate vendors about their legal rights. Working to support a local vendors' rights movement, we organize vendors to participate in the political process that determines their fate. Finally, we engage in systemic advocacy to help policy makers and the public understand the important role street vendors play in the life of our city.

For more information about the Street Vendor Project, go to www.streetvendor.org.

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