They Were Shining with Ambition: Stories of the Street Vendor in Los Angeles




The Power of Stories is an archive of projects submitted every year to Building Healthy Communities (BHC) Statewide Convening. It showcases work created throughout California highlighting the power of individual and collective efforts to promote health and demonstrates how stories have the power to re-imagine and transform our communities. Produced in partnership with the California Endowment.

Project submitted by: East Los Angeles Community Coalition

Project summary: The street vendor campaign touches on social and racial justice issues, workers rights, and the shifting of power dynamics by putting disenfranchised people at the table with decision makers to shape policy that supports them and decriminalizes poverty. This project was a collaborative effort between the East Los Angeles Community Corporation (ELACC), 826LA, and the LA School of Global Studies (LASGS) to capture the stories of LA street vendors.

BHC site: Boyle Heights

ELACC organizers trained high school students at LASGS on how to conduct interviews with street vendors across the city and to build relationships with those vendors. The students canvassed hundreds of vendors in LA and authored those vendors' stories into a narrative. Each chapter of the book, "They Were Shining with Ambition," was written by a student. Lifting up the story of the vendors is critical to humanizing the debate around street vending and putting a face to the struggle that thousands of Angelenos disregard subconsciously on a daily basis.

Boyle Heights Street Vending. Credits: Feng Yuan
Boyle Heights Street Vending. Credits: Feng Yuan

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