Tag Archives: Street Roots volunteer

How Street Roots, vendors give perspective

SR vendor coordinators, left, right Art Garcia, Becky Mullins, Kaisa McCrow, center

by Kaisa McCrow, Contribuing Writer

I’ve always believed that everyone has a story to tell. Each person’s life has diversity and magnitude, regardless of their experience as rich or poor, well traveled or homebody, straight or gay, redneck or radical. What we share is the uniqueness of our experiences as we work our way through this world. If we’re lucky, we may be able to share these experiences with someone else.

Over the last several months I have found myself in a position to celebrate the diversity of the human experience. I have been interviewing Street Roots vendors and writing their profiles for the newspaper. It is a lucky and humble place to find oneself; perpetually at the mercy of a new perspective or lesson afforded by each vendor’s life. I’ve had ideas about what it means to be homeless; what it means to have or have not. Yet interviewing vendors has taught me so much more, simply by listening and drawing out pieces of an individual’s narrative.

The Street Roots motto is “for those who can’t afford free speech.” The content and investigative journalism in the paper provides stories regarding marginalized communities, inequality, systemic abuses, addiction, etc. It brings clarity to political wranglings over budgets and often complex systems that are difficult for people to understand. The newspaper asks what the need is, who the needy are, and what they look like. Street Roots is also a platform for individuals to publish their voices through poems, editorials, and opinions. It connects the Portland community with each picture, heartfelt poem, and customized cartoon. If the investigative journalism of the paper uncovers the way people are being marginalized, the personal side of the paper reminds us that we are all the same. Continue reading