A photo of a sign that says "Hate has no home here"
Photo by Gwynette Smith

When selling Street Sense you encounter all kinds of people. Most of them are on their way to somewhere, to do something. Most people just pass by. As a vendor of information, I sometimes have interaction with security guards. For the most part, many of the guards appreciate that I am making positive use of space and time.

Every so often, though, I find myself in battle with them about public vs. private space. On one occasion, I was told I could not sell the paper on a street near the White House. I showed the guard my badge and told him Street Sense has agreements with the Metropolitan police department agreeing to that arrangement. He insisted that because this was “Obama’s block” I couldn’t distribute the paper there. I did everything I was supposed to, but still had to move along.

We all have faced discrimination, but for those who are impoverished it makes the situation worse. D.C. has the ability to be a model of a human rights city. But every day many discriminative actions take place against those impoverished citizens. Let’s hope that through time many voices here at Street Sense we can reach those in power and implement ways to combat and eventually end poverty.

Reginald Black is a Street Sense vendor.