Testimony Before the New York City Council on the ‘Street Vending

Modernization Act” (SVMA)
October 26, 2016
Good afternoon and thank you for permitting testimony on this issue today. I
am Jennifer Arieta, Program Officer at North Star Fund. North Star Fund is
New York City’s community foundation working to create a more just and
equitable city. For 37 years, North Star Fund has helped make democracy
happen in New York City by building a diverse network of donors to support
the grassroots leaders that move the City forward.
Gene Carroll
Maria Hinojosa
Craig Kaplan
Pamela Koslow
Monami Maulik
Iris Morales
Arva Rice
John Sayles
Cornel West, Ph.D.
Barbara Winslow

North Star Fund is deeply invested in supporting advocacy efforts that
improve the lives of low-income New Yorkers. We have specifically invested
in the organizing efforts of street vendors for over 14 years. I am here today
to offer North Star Fund’s perspective on the ‘Street Vending Modernization
Act” (SVMA) and provide a more nuanced and progressive framing of the
impact of this legislation.

In Memoriam:
David Hunter, 1916-2000
Grace Paley, 1922-2007
Michael Ratner, 1943-2016

To be brief, two things about SVMA resonate strongly with our foundation:

David Alexander
Nisha Atre, Chair
Jennifer Flynn
Andrew Goldberg
Amber Guild
Pierre Hauser
Asa Johnson
Lloyd Martinez
Gonzalo Mercado
Christine Parker
Zahida Pirani
Mark Reed
Lisa Steglich
Alvarez Symonette
Candis Tolliver
Michael Waterman
Maggie Williams
In Memoriam:
Betty Kapetanakis, 1952-2002
Donald Anthonyson
Susanna Blankley
Ana Liza Caballes
Cathy Dang
Jennifer Flynn
Kesi Foster
Mo George
Aber Kawas
Katie Lindsay
Natalie Peña
Adilka Pimentel
Zahida Pirani
Richard Burns,
Interim Executive Director

The impact of SVMA extends well beyond the scope of street vending;
after key victories like the IDNYC program and funding for day laborer
centers, SVMA is the next opportunity for us to champion immigrants’
and workers’ rights in New York City.

One of the most compelling aspects of SVMA is that it stands to be a
tangible victory for advocates of gender justice in our city. Advancing
gender justice is at the core of North Star’s grant making; our
foundation has invested deeply in the organizing of street vendors
because immigrant women, particularly those who are single mothers
and heads of households, are disproportionately impacted by the lack
of vending permits.

North Star Fund supports the advocacy efforts of our grantee partner Street
Vendor Project to increase the number of vending permits in New York City.
As a funder of a majority of the community organizing that takes place in our
city, North Star is confident that SVMA represents a continuation of the City
Council’s support of legislation that many of our grantee partners have fought
for and won in the arena of workers’ rights. We are proud to have provided
critical seed funds to organizations such as Make the Road, VOCAL,
MinKwon, NICE, Faith in NY and many more that led advocacy efforts that
the City Council has supported. We view our funding of street vendor
organizing as a strategic investment in the advancement of workers’ rights.
When Street Vendor Project first approached us for funding we were well
aware of the forces that long opposed vending in our city. Ultimately, as a
philanthropic institution we believe in taking risks on new and emerging

organizing campaigns. Despite the odds at the time, we invested early on in street
vendor organizing because of its potential to make a big impact for low-income
workers across our city. While North Star has always been a resource for those
looking for a philanthropic perspective on the landscape of social movements in
our city, in more recent years – particularly after Hurricane Sandy – we have
deepened our efforts to engage and help our grantees gather, frame, and put forth
a progressive perspective on the issues of the day. Today, you’ll hear and learn
from advocates that supporting SVMA is the smart choice for many reasons. As we
all continue to strive for a more equitable city, I was particularly moved to testify
at this hearing to remind you that it’s the choice that puts you on the right side of
I’d like to personally commend Speaker Mark-Viverito, Council Member Levine,
and all of the council members supporting the SVMA for continuing to stand up
for workers’ rights. Thank you again for giving us this opportunity to speak with
you today; we look forward to working with you to further advance gender justice
and immigrants’ and workers’ rights in our city.

Submitted by:
Jennifer Arieta, Program Officer


North Star Fund Testimony Before the New York City Council on the ‘Street Vending Modernization Act” (SVMA)
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