#VendorWeek 2018: Real Change rallies notable local figures to sell street papers with vendors

Local celebrities are taking to the streets of Seattle today to sell US street paper Real Change with the magazine’s vendors to mark #VendorWeek 2018.

Following in the footsteps of fellow INSP member The Big Issue Australia, whose annual CEO selling event is also underway, Real Change will match artists, musicians, writers, activists, and politicians, with vendors in the city’s Westlake Park, to show community support for work, opportunity and quality journalism.

They will then take to the streets to sell papers alongside their vendor partners, in the hope to raise awareness of Real Change’s work, as well as that of the international street paper movement as a whole, and hopefully to give each vendor a big sales boost in the process.

Participants in the day of #VendorWeek celebrations will include city counsellors Kshama Sawant and Mike O’Brien, activist Cary Moon, comedian Brett Hamil, Emmy-winning news anchor Enrique Cerna, wrietr Hanna Brooks Olsen, and radio DJ Rob ‘Rockfish’ Oxford.

Real Change employs and empowers around 300 homeless and very low income people every month. Last year, the publication helped put more than a million dollars in the pockets of 717 street paper vendors.

One of those vendors, Susan Russell, said: “Real Change gives us hope and the support of a whole community. It’s a beautiful opportunity for homeless people to help ourselves.”

The street paper’s founding director Tim Harris said: “While poverty and homelessness is big and complicated, some solutions are standing right in front of us.

“Investing in our vendors is one way to say ‘I believe in you, and am working for change too.”

They won’t be alone in their celebrations, with street papers across the US, and wider North America, also taking to the tradition of organising a Big Sell event to celebrate #VendorWeek.

Chicago’s StreetWise, Philadelphia’s One Step Away and the Denver VOICE will be hosting similar events, as will Canadian street paper Megaphone, in Victoria and Vancouver. Fellow INSP member Mi Valedor, in Mexico, will host a selling event, as well as a bigger celebration bursting with activities for vendors, staff, volunteers and readers alike, this Friday.

#VendorWeek is a chance to show the wider world the hard work that vendors do for their street papers. If there isn’t a Big Sell event happening in your local area, get down to your nearest vendor and show your support by purchasing a street paper anyway.

You can read more about what’s going on during #VendorWeek 2018 here.