Sonia Pérez – Street Vendor Project, USA

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My name is Sonia Pérez, I am Mexican. I think my power is to be strong and persistent and determined: as you know, I am a single mother and this has led me to become stronger for my children and face challenges that life presents us with.

To this day I thank God for every day of my life I have survived domestic violence and illnesses and also COVID-19 – for that and much more, to be thankful for everything we have. Perseverance led me to look for a better path for my children and a job where I could be take care of them. Also due to lack of documentation, there was no job for me and I decided to sell food in the streets. Of course this leads you to look for a little education, to perform such a new job, and I decided to seek help through the Street Vendors Project and educate myself on what my rights are at work.

It is not easy to be a vendor since we go through many obstacles, we are discriminated against and harassed by so many people who always tell us that this is not a worthy job or a well-seen occupation. I have been fighting to keep my job for more than 20 years and I will continue to fight to legalize street vending for my people and my community. As women, we are stronger and if we are united and organized, no one can destroy our dreams of seeing a better future.

If I had a power it would be the same as I already have, to continue to have a life and health because after all that, you can achieve everything you set out to do. The decision is yours and life is wonderful – it depends on how you see it.