Boyle Heights street vendors fundraise to vend legally in their own Mercado
It’s been too long to remember the first bite of street food I ever had in Boyle Heights. But perhaps it was from the sweet lady who sold tamales outside of Sheridan Street School, where she stood every morning, surrounded by hungry escuincles like me who opted for her delightful bites of masa, meat and chile over the school’s free pigs in a blanket.
Neighborhood street food vendors are a part of our everyday lives. They are our neighbors, our mothers, our friends, or simply a familiar face. And although not all community members agree with unlicensed street vending, and police have cracked down on them at higher rates recently, they’ve maintained a following. People seek them because they can’t resist their sazón; because it’s a better option than McDonald’s pink slime; or because their food is a reminder of home-coked meals.
Now, street vendors in Boyle Heights are looking for ways to vend without the fear of being ticketed, arrested or wiped away from all their goods. East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) and local vendors are launching “a campaign aimed at providing paths to self-sustainability and better economic opportunities for local microentrepreneurs.” Their efforts will help raise funds for required permits and new equipment so that street vendors can meet their goal of setting up an Evening Farmer’s Market in Boyle Heights.
This Friday, February 3 from 5-10pm, ELACC will hold a fundraiser to help eight vendors who have been displaced by strict police enforcement. Bring cash for tacos, quesadillas, pozole and more, and for the $1 admission at the ELACC house 530 S. Boyle Ave, Los Angeles CA. To donate, visit their page here.
Meet some of Boyle Heights street food vendors in a video produced by ELACC. Stay tuned for some of our videos where we’ll introduce you to Caridad, a street vendor famous for her pozole.