Street Vendor Project (SVP) is a worker center founded in 2001 to organize the diverse community of workers, self-employed people and small business owners who make their living on the streets and sidewalks of New York City. The vast majority of SVP's 1,800+ members (over 90%) are immigrants from countries as diverse as Ecuador, Mexico, China, Morocco, Bangladesh, Egypt and Senegal. SVP organizes under the premise that vendors have the power to take charge of their workforce in an evolving economy where there are increasing numbers of unstable and exploitative jobs. The Street Vendor Project also runs the yearly Vendy Awards, which is both a fundraiser for SVP and a celebration of all street food vendors in New York City.
We believe SVP can incite systemic change by transforming New York City policies and practices to support and encourage (rather than discourage and police) immigrant entrepreneurship and employment opportunities through street vending. By organizing the street vendor community we are building an active, self-empowered vendor leaders engaged in democracy; a political environment in which city officials consider street vendors' concerns in their policymaking; a law enforcement culture that respects the rights of workers in public space; and public awareness of the issues faced by street vendors and their centrality to our city's life and culture. SVP also provides legal representation, training and small business services to members as a means for organizing vendors to have a voice in the decision-making process that determines how, where, and under what conditions they work. SVP is an anchor in the grassroots movement for the rights of street vendors across the United States.