Vendor Power, Voter Power!

Vendor Power, Voter Power! is coming your way for summer 2012! By engaging our +1,400 members and their families to vote, and by mobilizing customers of street vendors throughout neighborhoods in New York City, we look forward to building a base of engaged street vendors and vendor-supporters!

Building Community Power: Among Our Members & On the Streets

There are a few key components of Vendor Power, Voter Power! that will serve our goal of building community power through 2012 and beyond.

  • Voter registration: SVP will be registering our members to vote as a tool for building political power. In engaging members around the many ways to ensure their voices are heard, not only as street vendors, but as constituents in the communities in which they live and work.
  • Base-building: SVP will be building a base of voters who are customers of street vendors throughout the city who will be well-informed about issues impacting their favorite vendors in the neighborhoods in which they live and work.
  • Long-term civic engagement: SVP will use the capacity built in doing voter registration among our members and customers of vendors to ensure that our base is not only informed about elections, but comes out to vote in 2012 and 2013,  as well as in elections to follow.

Vendor Power, Voter Power! Team

 Aber Kawas is aburgeoning community organizer and activist  for the Brooklyn and NYC community. Currently she is completing a degree in International Studies from the City College of New York, where she was the president of the Muslim American Psychologist Club (MAPCCNY) a club dedicated to spreading awareness about mental health to the Muslim and campus community. She is currently an intern for CAIR New York, the Voter Registration Fellow at the Arab American Association of New York, and an active member of MAS Youth New York and American Muslims for Palestine. She hopes to pursue her masters in Social Work, and work to improve the conditions of immigrants in the New York area by providing programs and services to both them and their children.  She also hopes to work with several ethnic/religious communities in the future, helping them work together in unity to for social needs and against injustices.
Bryce Williams is a college student living in New York  City.  Enrolled in The New School, he has a great interest in both game design, and how it affects people. After assisting the Brooklyn Museum as a teacher assistant, he wants to explore how he can help the community both actively and creatively
Damaris Dunn is a recent graduate of Suny Oswego. She completed her undergraduate work in History and minored in Afro American and Women’s Studies. She has a strong passion for working with those in underrepresented communities. An aspiring historian, the stories and anecdotes that street vendors have shared with her already, makes the experience quite rewarding. She looks forward to her summer with the Street Vendor Project and within the next year she hopes to go on to pursue her PhD in the history of education.
Lisa Liu is a student from New York City currently pursuing a B.A. in sociology at Haverford College. She is  interested in everything from the visual arts to religion and has interned at various places over the past few years, learning set design at Stella Adler, conducting anthropological field research in Bali, Indonesia, preparing medicinal remedies at a Chinatown herbalist clinic, and interning for various nonprofit art institutions including the Rubin Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was her brief collaboration with DreamActivists this past semester that really drew her to immigrant rights and activism, bringing her to the Street Vendor Project this summer.
Alice Liu is a student who recently graduated high school. Since she was young, Alice has been an active part of the community. Her service has ranged from planning, executing and performing in community events and street fairs, marching in parades, cleaning parks, supporting Margaret Chin during her run for council member, and helping to serve food in Salvation Armies. But her greatest and proudest contribution to the city thus far is participating in the Street Vendors Project. Coming from a vendor family, Alice has made herself a part of the vendor community since she was eight years old. She sold things ranging from lemonade, noodles, tea, to shoes, sunglasses, jewelry, toys, new years decoration and many others in between. She is fueled by the hopes that one day she and her family will no longer need to worry about expensive tickets and interrogating police.
Arslan Khalid Chaudhry is a young adult whose known New York City all his life. Being born in Queens to two wonderful hard working Pakistani parents, he has seen firsthand the pressure and burden placed on immigrants to feed their families here and abroad. His personal experience has led him to keenly understands that immigrants come to the United States working for a piece of the American dream but are faced with opposition from society. Arslan is currently a student at City College of New York focusing on a degree in Political Science. He hopes to help create movements in the future to help the common folk have a voice, for it is only in masses that the people are heard.

Upcoming election deadlines in New York State:

  • November 6, 2012 – General Election (voter registration postmarked by/before October 12th, 2012)

For more information about voter registration, visit the New York State Board of Elections website.

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