In front of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, parishioners and folks in the neighborhood could always count on finding a delicious meal from local street vendors. Until the police started citing the vendors and shutting down their businesses!
Local street vendors formed an Organizing Committee with St. Elizabeth OCO leaders to fight for the right to continue selling their goods in front of the church. This group worked together for eight long months to find solutions, and win a food ordinance that would be more flexible and help small businesses continue to grow.
And the leaders won! On March 23rd, the Oakland City Council Committee on Public Safety agreed to change the current ordinance on street food vending, and they offered OCO leaders a seat at the table. OCO leaders will work with Council Member Ignacio de la Fuente’s office and other street food vendors to shape a new ordinance that will open up the market for other possibilities.
Sara, a St. Elizabeth parishioner and food vendor said that it has been a long road, but worth all the work. “Talking in front of a crowd is getting easy, and I felt powerful,” Sara told us, “persistence and commitment has paid off, but we are not done yet. We still need to get the whole City Council to agree on the new ordinance. But we are much closer that we have been.”