After nearly 28 years of uplifting the voices and stories of homeless people in the East Bay, this may be our last issue. Youth Spirit Artworks, our publisher of the last six years, has announced that they can no longer afford to support Street Spirit. The last issue—at least for now—will come out on June 1 and be distributed throughout the month.
Starting in July, Street Spirit vendors will begin selling Street Sheet (San Francisco’s street newspaper). You will see the vendors you have come to know outside East Bay grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and cafes—they’ll just be selling a different publication. I hope you buy it. Street Sheet is amazing, and we are extraordinarily grateful to the Coalition on Homelessness, their publisher, for stepping in to help provide a resource for our vendors to sell while we try to sort out what’s next.
It is an apt coincidence that this June issue is a collaboration with Street Sheet and the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust. We started working on “Homeless on Stolen Land” long before I learned that we had lost our funding, but it feels especially fitting now. I hope this issue helps guide the transition into this new era.
I have learned so much from this newspaper. For one, I learned that a thing—an inanimate object like a newspaper—can become a place. It happens like this: Our vendors come into our office to pick up copies of Street Spirit and maybe have a cup of coffee, then they go out onto the street and talk to people as they sell papers. That is the ritual through which, somehow, a place is created of newsprint. Like a city within a city, Street Spirit has become a place of connection and care at the center of a human rights crisis that threatens to swallow our communities.
This paper is a living thing with a legacy of immense community support. We have been so honored by your readership and belief in our project. As we work to pave the way to the future of this critical East Bay voice, we invite you to help. If you want to host a fundraising event, contribute supportive artwork, post about our work on social media, pitch ideas about who our new publisher might be, or otherwise get involved in the effort to relaunch Street Spirit, get in touch. We are available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The future of Street Spirit will also rely on the financial support of our readers and community members. If you are able, please consider making a generous donation to help us continue our work. Our current goal is to raise $250,000 or more to cover the first year’s budget and other associated expenses. You can send donations through our new fiscal sponsor: Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP), an amazing advocacy organization based in San Francisco whose director Paul Boden helped us get our start back in the 1990s. WRAP accepts tax-deductible donations online and through the mail. If you are writing a check, make sure to indicate that the money is intended for our project by writing “Street Spirit” on the memo line.
Checks can be sent to:
Western Regional Advocacy Project
2940 16th Street, 200-2
San Francisco CA 94103
If you are giving online, go to tinyurl.com/SAVESTREETSPIRIT and write “Street Spirit” in the box at the bottom of the page that says “If you have a special purpose for your donation, please let us know.”
Take care. We trust that we will be back soon.
Alastair Boone is the Co-Editor in Chief of Street Spirit.