Fresno, Calif. (KFSN) — Street vendors in Central California have been the target of violent and even deadly attacks in the last few years.
“These vendors are just trying to provide for their families, they are trying to work just like you and me,” says Joseph Vasquez with Cultiva la Salud.
Genoveva Islas runs Cultiva la Salud. She believes attackers are looking to take advantage of a vulnerable community, less likely to go to the police.
“I do think that stems from the idea that the Latino mobile vendor could be undocumented and is likely not to report it if something happens to them,” says Genoveva.
The City of Fresno was so moved after the death of vendor Lorenzo Perez, they knew they needed to take action, so they approached Cultiva la Salud.
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They gave the non-profit a $20,000 grant, enough to pay for security cameras on 20 vendor carts and video recording service for a year.
The non-profit is hopeful these cameras will make potential robbers think twice.
Joseph says, “It is not something new — it has been going on for a while and it has just been brushed under the table or just forgotten about and they are tired of it.”
The group has received 36 applications. They’ll need to narrow that down to 17, so they’re going to help women and senior men first.
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The group is hoping to secure more funding to expand the program, creating a safer work environment for hundreds of local street vendors.
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