Due to the recent robberies and attacks on local minority street vendors, we have started several projects to show them support. These individuals are often children, women, or elderly. They push heavy carts and/or stay out in all types of weather trying to make ends meet. They are always at risk of being attacked, even during the best of times.
We have felt especially inclined to help out 66 year old Bernardo Nunez. Last Saturday on July 11th, 2020 his ice cream cart was stolen outside of a 99 Cents Only Store in Long Beach while he was inside purchasing napkins for his route. This was his only means of income. He has no family. After we shared his story on social media platforms and created a GoFundMe, the community came together to replace his bicycle cart and raise $10k in just 2 days!
Photo by Local Hearts Foundation: Alex Sanchez
Thank you very much to those who donated and have shown support. We are incredibly grateful to news stations Univision 34 and Telemundo 52 for helping share our story and for accompanying us while distributing supplies. A very special thanks to our partners and sponsors who have stepped up to join us in giving back to the community.
We aim to provide street vendors with pepper spray and PPE to help them stay as safe and healthy as possible. During these unprecedented times, we also aim to relieve some of the street vendors’ financial burdens by paying for things like their medical bills or rent if needed. We hope that by doing this we are not only helping save street vendors’ lives but also helping to change the future of their entire families.
Street vendors have no choice but to risk their lives in order to support themselves and their families. Unfortunately this is not the first we hear of these attacks; they have been taking place for decades. This is partly due to street vendors often being immigrants. A local journalist who wrote about the recent attack of an Elotera Ms. Mendez, explains just how vulnerable street vendors are: “Most immigrants (often undocumented) or other folks of color who live on the margins, averaging around $10,000 a year in income. They often work alone and may set up before dawn, when there are fewer eyes on the street. And they are less likely to report crimes for fear of retaliation, deportation, receiving a citation themselves, and/or having their livelihoods confiscated - all of which makes them an easy target.” (Sahra Sulaiman, StreetsBlog LA). The number of attacks and deaths amongst street vendors continues to rise. We can change this together.
The most recent project part of our Defend Eloteros Movement is the T-Shirt collaboration with local Los Angeles artist Big Sleeps. It was made in an effort to raise awareness about the street vendor attacks and to raise profits to support them. All proceeds from this Big Sleeps X Black Sunshine Distribution T-shirt will go to Local Hearts Foundation in support of local street vendors.
Whether it be a monetary donation or a donation of your time, any contribution big or small helps to save a street vendor's life. Help spread the word by sharing about our projects, reach out about becoming a volunteer, or make a donation through our GoFund Me: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/help-local-hearts-foundation-get-a-van