July 5, 2021
For many of the homeless men and women who sell the Street Sense newspaper in Washington, D.C., the COVID-19 pandemic was just another obstacle they had to deal with in their day-to-day lives.
The restrictions caused by the pandemic had a significant impact on Street Sense vendor Queenie Featherstone's ability to communicate with others. As a woman with a hearing disability, she relied on reading lips to understand what people said. The mask mandate made that nearly impossible and don't get her started on social distancing.
"That part kind of hurts my heart, because I've always been a people person of hugging or greeting or kissing, in a friendly manner," she said, with a chuckle. "But now because of this pandemic, I air hug.”
Featherstone demonstrated by crossing her arms across her chest and gesturing for the person she was talking to to do the same.
"We air hug each other, but it's not like the physical greeting of your fellow man," she said. "This is different.”
This week's episode of the "Look at This" podcast examines the big and small ways the COVID-19 pandemic affected the daily lives of the District's homeless population.
June 28, 2021
Saul Aroha Nui Tea, who goes by "Salty," has chosen to walk a different path than many of the other vendors of the Street Sense newspaper in Washington, D.C.
"The life I have chosen is a preparation in the Gospel of Peace and a full commitment to being willing to lay my life on the line as a pilgrim diplomat," he said.
Salty expresses his peaceful activism through the stories he writes for Street Sense, his puppets, and music.
In this week's episode of the "Look at This" podcast, Salty talks about his recent trip to California, how he learned to play guitar, and what inspired him to walk a path of peaceful activism. He also plays a new song written especially for the Street Sense podcast.
Photo of Saul Tea by Rodney Choice.
June 21, 2021
Street Sense vendor and artist Rita Sauls lives in a tent encampment with around 30 other people in Washington, D.C.
"Before becoming a tenter, I was living in a three-bedroom house," she said. "It did catch on fire, so I was displaced.”
In addition to being a Street Sense vendor and artist, Sauls is also a "tent facilitator," which means she provides and helps set up tents for other homeless people in the District.
"I used to walk around and see people on the benches and in the streets and in the storefronts, and I would ask them, 'Would you like a tent?'" she said.
In this week's episode of the "Look at This" podcast, Sauls talks about how she became a tent facilitator and reveals some of the hardships and losses she and her fellow tenters face by living on the streets in D.C.
June 14, 2021
Carlton Johnson is a homeless man who sells the Street Sense newspaper in Washington, D.C. He's also a poet.
Although Johnson began writing poetry when he was young, the poems he writes today reflect the things he sees and feels when he's out on the streets. Sometimes he even recites poetry to his customers.
"I call it street slamming," he said. "They'll see what I see but they'll hear what I'm feeling.”
In the first episode of "Look at This," Brian Carome, Street Sense Media's executive director, said a valuable resource the newspaper provides for its vendors is an opportunity for self-expression. Many vendors, like Johnson, do this by writing articles or poetry for the newspaper they sell.
This week's episode of the "Look at This" podcast, Johnson and fellow vendors Ayub Abdul and Darleesha Joyner share their poetry and talk about the importance creative expression plays in their lives.
June 7, 2021
Sheila White has been able to turn her life around thanks to the classes and connections she found working as a Street Sense vendor in D.C. In this week's episode of the "Look At This" podcast, White talks about how working for Street Sense Media put her on the path toward earning a college degree and pursuing a career in photojournalism.
May 28, 2021
In the premiere episode of "Look at This," vendors Marcellus Phillips and Chon Gotti share stories on how Street Sense Media has helped them turn their lives around and become more self-sufficient and independent.