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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 is a membership-based project with more than 1,500 active vendor members who are working together to create a vendors’ movement for permanent change. We want more power and more respect. We are part of theĀ Urban Justice Center, a non-profit organization that provides legal representation and advocates for marginalized New Yorkers.