By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – This week, Oklahoma’s only street paper, The Curbside Chronicle, received global recognition for its work at the International Network of Street Papers (INSP) Conference in Manchester, England. The Curbside Chronicle, a magazine sold by people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, won in two categories – Best Cultural Feature and Best Vendor Contribution.
The Curbside Chronicle is a program of The Homeless Alliance, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, whose mission is to rally the community to end homelessness.
Launched four years ago in Oklahoma City, The Curbside Chronicle is one of the newest street papers in the industry which has been around for more than two decades.
“This is The Curbside Chronicle’s third year competing in the awards,” said Kinsey Crocker, Director of Communications for The Homeless Alliance. “Despite being one of the youngest street papers, each year it has received the most nominations among the 115 street paper publications worldwide.”
A street paper is a publication used to provide people who are experiencing homelessness with both a voice and a legitimate source of income. Street papers address homelessness, poverty and other social issues and serve as a means of expression for people who experience homelessness.
During the INSP Awards ceremony, The Curbside Chronicle was recognized in the Best Cultural Feature category for their article “No Seconds: Last Meals of Death Row Inmates.”
In the article, the Chronicle spoke to world-renowned photographer Henry Hargreaves as he aimed to humanize inmates through their last meal requests. According to a press release, the INSP award judges found the article to be a thought-provoking and memorable take on a challenging subject.
The magazine also won the Best Vendor Contribution category for the article titled, The Art of Healing,” which features the story and photography of Curbside Chronicle vendor Chazzi Davis.
Davis shares in the article about his mental health, therapeutic photography and the importance of making something beautiful out of his experiences.
“I feel like you can be sick and healthy at the same time,” Chazzi said in the article. “You can ride the roller coaster without the world ending. If I could give anything to another person that is bipolar, it would be that.”
The INSP judges described Davis’ photography as captivating and praised his talent in the face of adversity.
A new concept in Oklahoma, the street paper industry has experienced significant growth globally employing more than 20,000 people in poverty annually and 5.6 million readers worldwide.
The Curbside Chronicle magazines are sold entirely by homeless and at-risk vendors who are able to use this employment as a stepping-stone out of homelessness. Vendors are given their first 15 issues free. After that, they are required to purchase the magazines for $0.75 per copy. They can then sell the magazines for a suggested donation of $2 and keep all of their profit, using a portion of that profit to purchase more magazines and continue their business.
In addition to providing a source of income, The Curbside Chronicle works with their vendors to develop time management, money management, social skills and sales experience.
The publication also works to engage their vendors in social services, earn enough money to obtain housing and move on to more traditional forms of employment.
“The award means a lot to me, I win because of the support and encouragement from the director of the curbside and the homeless alliance staff,” said Davis. “The Curbside has given me a sense of pride and hope for the future. My hope is that others realize good people are out there who would like to see you win.
“The question is, are you willing to find something positive that you can do, to make something good out of the bad things.”
For more information about The Curbside Chronicle, visit www.TheCurbsideChronicle.org.