#VendorWeek 2020: A global celebration of street paper vendors

Today marks the start of this year’s #VendorWeek, a week-long reminder of the individuals central to the street paper mission: #ourvendors.

Running until Sunday 9 February, this eighth annual vendor celebration, as always, is an opportunity to take stock of the previous year, at a time when street paper sales can be affected by the post-Christmas lull and adverse weather, and look forward to the challenges and achievements of the future.

While vendors still face growing inequality, the risk of dying on the streets, and being at the mercy of their environment, there are also parts of the world where the social issues vendors come up against are being successfully alleviated, to the point where street papers can take a step back.

#VendorWeek 2020 will see INSP, and participating street papers, highlight the humanity of vendors – as experts, as critics, as creators, as vital members of their community and as equals.

As usual, street papers from across the world are taking part in #VendorWeek with their own special events and activities, some for the first time.

One of those making their #VendorWeek debut is Peruvian street paper Peatón, based in Piura, but whose staff are travelling to the country’s capital Lima to spread the word about their existence and educate the public, and potential vendors, on what a street paper does. They will be giving out breakfast to people living on the city streets.

In Mexico City, street paper Mi Valedor will invite vendors for a similar get-together, a now annual tradition for them, where food, haircuts and even dental treatment will be available.

As always, #VendorWeek spans numerous mediums, from public events, to social media campaigns, and entire editions of street papers dedicated to the celebration.

In Australia, as well as vendor-centric edition, The Big Issue will once again be hosting its always successful CEO Selling event, where big names in the worlds of business, banking and politics, from the CEO of Deloitte to local government officials, don their branded vests and rub shoulders with vendors, entrepreneurs themselves, for a day of experiencing selling street papers.

Similar ‘Big Sell’ events, as they’ve come to be known, will take place in numerous cities in the US, including Denver and Seattle, the homes of Denver VOICE and Real Change respectively, Portugal, led by CAIS, and more. In Skopje, North Macedonia, Lice v Lice vendors are set to meet with the country’s President on Friday 7 February.

The Big Issue Australia vendors will be selling with those business leaders the current edition of the magazine, entirely dedicated to them, and containing some heart-warming and inspiring writing by vendors.

Editorial content focused on vendors is also set to be published in Copenhagen (Hus Forbi), Portland (Street Roots), and Montréal (L’Itinéraire), while in Prague, Nový Prostor is connecting vendors with their customers to set up an ongoing feature so that readers can learn more about exactly what vendors do at their pitch.

Lice v Lice vendors selling with members of the Macedonian government during #VendorWeek 2019 Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard during #VendorWeek 2019. He will participate in Real Change's selling event this year too. [Photo credit: Erin Buell]

INSP supports street papers in 35 countries across the world – that amounts to almost 9,000 vendors. ““Building global community begins with taking small, everyday risks and caring enough to connect,” says Real Change founding director, and INSP board member, Tim Harris about the coordinated effort by street papers to celebrate vendors that #VendorWeek represents. “Supporting our vendors is one simple way to change our world from the inside out.”

You can get involved with celebrating vendors alongside the street paper community by using the usual hashtag: #VendorWeek. But most importantly, throughout the week, make sure you seek out your local vendor and buy a street paper.

Read more coverage of #VendorWeek 2020 here