• Description

Salvador Reza, a longtime organizer for indigenous Mexican rights, helped lead a successful campaign to organize taco vendors in Phoenix. Faced with a local ordinance that would restrict the operation of mobile food stands, effectively banning them, Reza and his colleagues at Tonatierra mobilized the vendors to fight back. Their ultimate success recaptured the spirit of a community traumatized by 500 years of colonization and cultural destruction. Tonatierra's strategies included the following:

  • Involve Vendors: Once vendors understood that the ordinance targeted them and threatened their livelihoods, they were able to establish a working group, representative of the community. They fashioned a way of regulating vendors that would ensure safe food and safe neighborhoods.
  • Create a Team and a United Voice: The vendors negotiated among themselves until they could present their recommendations as a team.
  • Rekindle Culture: According to Reza, "We are fighting back, but not with weapons of guns. Our weapons are culture and understanding and communication."