Street Vendors Deserve Our Support


Arely Ocampo Bartolo, Managing Editor

“Elotes! Fruta! Nieve!”

God, hearing all those things take me back to my childhood, being a little kid and walking down the crowded and loud hallways within the Alameda Swap Meet. 

I’d walk out of the main building and BOOM! In between the two lots that make up the Swap Meet—–my sole motivation for going and enduring the 40 minute long car ride—los vendedores (the vendors). 

Everywhere I looked, I would see stands full of men, women, and even kids my age buying and selling hundreds of sweet and savory items. From fresas con crema (strawberries covered in condensed milk, coconut, granola, and raisins) to hot dogs wrapped in bacon with homemade potato chips, the swap meet had it all.

But then, I looked around a little more, and would see at least two police cars were stationed outside. The police in the car were eating the treats from the vendors and yet they scowled whenever they saw people with the same treat.

I didn’t realize it at the time but the police were watching the vendedores and trying to keep them from “causing trouble.”

I started looking into this more, and I saw a problem surging in California. From Santa Monica to Santa Clarita, vendedores have been scorned not only by law enforcement but also by people in general. Some are assaulted and have their entire cart thrown into the streets because of some people that don’t agree with what they’re doing. 

I honestly can’t understand how or why street vendors are so shamed. They’re genuinely out in the streets in hot weather trying to earn money for themselves and their families. At least they aren’t running around stealing or being criminals. 

Honestly, no matter what, people shouldn’t judge street vendors for working to earn their keep or overall just trying to actually work.