Vendor of the Week
Global Vendor: Sylvia
Most of us, in our everyday travels, come across multiple steps. Whether we are walking up them to get somewhere or down them to exit a building, there are steps everywhere. Rarely do we see these as anything more than objects on our way toward our final destination, and yet, for many they are everything. For Sylvia, these steps were her warmth, her home, her only form of stability.
Sylvia says she works with One Step Away because it reminds her of the steps she overcame in her life.
“If I don’t remember why I left those steps, I will go back,” she said.
“This is a special paper. It helps people realize it might be you.”
For 35 years, Sylvia was homeless, living on the church steps on Broad and Girard. Inner turmoil because of her personal history led to her introduction to drugs.
“Pride, guilt and shame didn’t let me reach out to my family,” Sylvia said. “I began to dress up the outside. I was really torn up.”
Today Sylvia is three years clean.
“God helped me stop getting high,” she said. She is in her own housing and wants those who make a donation to support her work with One Step Away to know, “This is God’s work, not mine.” She believes One Step Away is a source of inspiration, and every time Sylvia sells a paper, she does more than work to change the face of homelessness. She is keeping hope alive, because as she tells herself every day: “Just for today, I am clean.”
The Occupy Philadelphia movement introduced Syvlia to One Step Away, and after joining as a vendor in January, she has continued with the organization because of a special bond with it.
“This is a special paper,” Sylvia said. “It helps people realize it might be you. Homelessness is a degree thing. We are at the final degree, and you are before us, but it is still a degree thing.”
Accurately hinting at the structural violence that has made the economy “messed up,” Sylvia rightfully argues that homelessness is not a matter of people simply being biologically inferior or inept but rather a symptom of a bigger system of oppression that can hurt us all.
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