Every morning, on my walk from Market Street station to work, I am greeted by a vendor selling the Denver VOICE, a monthly paper about homeless issues. It’s sold on the street by people who have become homeless and have few opportunities to find regular work. Selling the newspaper is a way for them to make a living. Sometimes, the vendor offers a short, friendly, “Good morning, Miss.” On other days, I stop for a casual conversation and happily fork over $2 for a paper. It was just part of my routine, until one morning when, while filming a video on the 16th Street Mall, I stopped to take a picture of a vendor.
He was camera-shy and uncertain whether it was appropriate for him to represent the VOICE. As I chatted with him to ease his concern, I learned that he was working as a vendor for the Denver VOICE to earn some cash—and to launch his career. He showed me his handheld HD camera, purchased with his VOICE earnings, and told me about his aspirations as a film maker. He wanted to make a difference—and be heard.
We talked about why we both like making videos. We agreed that it was a creative way to get opinions out. He told me about a girl he saw on YouTube that started making videos from her room and now was speaking at the White House. Being a street vendor is his outlet, much like YouTube was for that girl. After speaking with him, I felt even more excited to contribute to the cause on my way to work, particularly because this was a man whose determination is a true inspiration for getting involved.
Get Involved: Support the Denver VOICE by giving a few bucks to a vendor. Feel inspired? Sponsor an event with the Denver VOICE. (Details can be found on the Denver VOICE website.)