Safe spaces to work

5 May 2017

Working by yourself on the public sidewalk, as vendors do each day, carries many safety risks we don't always consider. You might get robbed. You might get arrested by ICE, and end up deported. You might get beaten by authorities. You might get struck by a runaway vehicle.

Or you might get viciously assaulted by a gang of criminals, as happened to long-time SVP member Souleymane Porgo this week. Porgo, an immigrant from Burkina Faso, has sold books and handbags in the South Bronx for many years to support his wife and two young daughters. All of whom were near his table on Tuesday afternoon when one man tried to steal Souleymane's merchandise, then returned with four friends. Souleymane's attack, captured in a disturbing video, has left him in a coma, in the hospital, with a fractured skull.

While we think about what real safety means, all we can do is hope that Souleymane recovers, and that his attackers are captured and brought to justice. In the meantime, we have launched a Go Fund Me campaign to help his family a bit during this difficult time.

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