In this article, The Contributor catches up with several of its street paper vendors to find out how their lives and sales have been affected since COVID-19 hit. Although The Contributor has been able to continue printing physical copies of the paper during the pandemic, its vendors have had to adapt in order to maintain both their sales and their relationships with customers in a way that is safe for everyone.
Black lives matter: Protest movement against racism, oppression and police brutality sweeps across America
Since the death of George Floyd, a young black man killed by a white police officer as his colleagues stood idly by, protests have sprung up across the US and other parts of the world calling for an end to systemic racial injustices and police brutality. American street papers were present at many of those protests.
US street paper vendors on being denied voting rights as former felons when the democratic process is more important than ever
Coronavirus has even upended democracy. In a recent Wisconsin Democratic Primary vote, very little accommodation was made to ensure people could get out to vote, and do so safely. It’s a worry ahead of an important Presidential election set for later this year. If the current circumstances continue, the situation may end up actively stopping people from voting. But the US already has all sorts of different restrictions hampering the ability of its citizens to vote. Two Contributor vendors explain how their past felony charges bar them from exercising the franchise.
Days before Christmas, communities across the US joined together to memorialise those who had died while homeless that year. INSP North America director Israel Bayer summed up the tragedies that have beset countless homeless Americans, while a group of the country’s street papers collaborated on making sure these remembrances, and the people they were about, were noticed.
Julie B. has made a name for herself in the Contributor office for being determined and resilient. Here, she reflects on her Native American heritage, talks about the hard work being done by street paper vendors and discusses what life is like with a brain cancer diagnosis.
Health care is a hot topic in the United States and the debate about health care is likely to be a key issue in the run up to the presidential election in 2020, and differing opinion on how it should be reformed has already been core to the ongoing Democratic Primary. The prohibitively high costs of accessing health care, combined with the high number of people without medical insurance, means that many Americans cannot access the care that they urgently need. Two vendors talk to The Contributor about their experiences of the American health care system.
Recently, two street papers in different parts of the world published similar stories celebrating organisations that give free haircuts to homeless people. Dortmund-based magazine bodo told the story of the Barber’s Angels, a group of professional hairdressers from all over the North Rhine-Westphalia region who had come to Bochum to dish out complimentary styling. Across the Atlantic, Nashville’s The Contributor described a day of business for the Nashville Street Barbers.
Randolph B. has found security through his work selling The Contributor. He knows that he will always be able to sell the magazine, regardless of his work situation, and that he has the support of customers with whom he was forged lasting friendships. Despite having recently taken on paid work with Rock City Mechanical, Randolph still sells The Contributor in the evenings and at the weekend. Here, he speaks of his love for his customers and for his adopted hometown, Nashville.
American street paper The Contributor has been going for over ten years as a traditional news print publication. But, last week, the Nashville, Tennessee publication reinvented itself with a sleek new magazine format and updated design.
In his look back on 2017, The Contributor vendor Maurice talks about what he has learned in the past year that has made him the best vendor he can be.
Army veteran Anthony hasn’t had a home to call his own for 27 years. But after seven years’ hard work selling The Contributor, he finally has his own place.
After Hurricane Ivan, Jessica Thurmond lost her home and was forced to live in her car. Jessica found help through the kindness of strangers – and now she wants to pay that compassion forward.
Formerly homeless vendor Mario spread some kindness with a donation to the victims of the devastating East Tennessee fires. Mario saved three days of street paper sales to give to the official victim fund.
Nashville weekly paper The Contributor launched in 2007 and has since trained more than 2,800 people to be vendors. They’ve just hit six million sales.
This fantastic awareness-raising campaign from The Contributor in Nashville highlights a very important point about street paper vendors.