The Disrespectful Donkey

Street Sense vendors respond to a column by blogger Eric Assadourian who suggested that they would be better off policing traffic at dangerous intersections than selling a street paper.

You can also read our executive director’s response here.


People do indeed spend two dollars for one newspaper. The articles, stories and poetry we write do require our time and intelligence. Some of our customers do give us donations and do not want the paper. But most give us more than the two dollar donation and tell us that they like reading our paper.

Henrieese Roberts


I am a cinematographer and a rising director. I also am an illustrator and writer. To be these things I first had to become a Street Sense vendor. I do not approve of Erik from The Guardian; I don’t want to be a human traffic camera.

The Street Sense brand is better than that and I think Erik needs to better brand himself. There are a lot of things I want to say. But to be on the positive side, I am better than that. I do not drink and drug — I distribute papers and help produce papers. Truth is, if it weren’t for Street Sense, I wouldn’t know how to deal day-to-day with one child while trying to get my housing. But the motivation I get from everyone here is what I am most thankful for. To be a self-employed Street Sense vendor and build success is to each his or her own. I know there are messed up systems and individuals, but Erik’s business model should not exist.

Sasha Williams


Wow. Thank you for your opinion Erik. The Street Sense vendors are doing very well economically and are empowering more people to become awesome entrepreneurs. We have a couple of amazing groups that we attend Monday through Friday that really bring out the best in each and every one of us who attends these classes: the Filmmakers’ Co-op, Illustration Workshop, Writers Group, Theatre Group, and the vendor advocacy group FACE (Focus, Attitude, Commitment to Excellence), which I came up with the name and meaning for.

Street Sense has brought me out of homelessness and put me in the position for a better life: two jobs and a home.

Thank you Street Sense!

Chon Gotti

In response to the gentleman who wrote the article referenced in Express on 10/16/2014 about homeless empowerment, I would like to say that a panhandler’s cup does not give a voice to the homeless like a street newspaper does, even though First Amendment rights give a voice to the ignorant.

James Davis


It is inexplicably derogatory, denigrating, demeaning and dastardly unacceptable.

Your subliminal, not-so-craftily-couched descriptions and suggestions of Street Sense reflect something: maybe envy or jealousy.

We will check with your stylist and shrink to get more clarity about what you think you know or see.

Keep your Express opinions off paper and I’ll keep my freedom of speech.

Angie Whitehurst

Region |Washington DC

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We believe ending homelessness begins with listening to the stories of those who have experienced it.