As part of an initiative for Safari Yangu and a few street vendors, Harlem Artisan Market opened its doors in December 2018 as a pop-up indoor market on 105 west 125th street in Harlem
As we involved the community in our work more, we quickly realized that we can’t limit our mission to only just telling immigrants stories, we had to start being part of the solutions. The challenges immigrants faced we so overwhelming, it was not close to what imagined or expected. The group we interacted with most were street vendors in Harlem, many of whom used to be store owners but lost them due to gentrification. Safari Yangu’s interest in working with street vendors in Harlem was inspired by a large number of immigrants in the community who are street vendors with untapped potential and skills; vendors who sell a variety of products such as handcrafted items like baskets to mud cloth, sculptures, jewelry, paintings and beadwork. Despite their valuable skills, talents and knowledge, systemic and institutional barriers continue to block these vendors from their full potential. Noticing the challenges immigrants and street vendors face, Safari Yangu, with no funding or external support, collaborated with numerous vendors in order to form a working group to help mitigate some of these challenges.