Esperanza del Barrio

Award Recipients - 2005

Lidia Calleja, Nayeli Tobon, Aide Burgoa, Carmen Vera, Oliveria GOnzalez and Flor Bermudez, Co-Founders

Esperanza del Barrio (Esperanza) is ìa membership-led organization based in East Harlem that assists low-income Latino/a immigrants and their families through grassroots organizing, political/legal education and leadership development.î  Its goals are ìto facilitate the empowerment of the immigrant community and change state and city policies that impede the community’s ability to achieve self-determination.î

Esperanza del Barrio focuses on community organizing campaigns to challenge discriminatory and anti-immigrant practices and defends street vendors’ right to work and to develop economic alternatives for survival.  It provides legal representation in criminal court to members facing summonses and criminal charges related to street vending.  In addition Esperanza del Barrio supplements this work with programs such as: adults education courses, job skills development, a legal clinic, youth group, children’s tutoring program, and health education.

Through Street Vendors for Justice, a collaborative and multi-ethnic citywide coalition, Esperanza challenged street vending politics while promoting a positive image of street vendors as a legitimate workforce.  The coalition’s work led to the Equal Access to Vending act removing the requirement that non-citizens applying for a vending license show proof that they are authorized to work.  The coalition is now working to raise the number of street vending licenses issued by the city; this quota has no changed since 1983.

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