Archives for the month of: May, 2012

Words cannot describe how excited I am to finally be sharing Philip Black’s story with you all!

This is the first of the ten videos we will be releasing every Wednesday of the summer and we hope that they will inspire you to have meaningful conversations about homelessness and poverty. Maybe you’ll even decide to subscribe to Street Sense!

In the process of writing a bunch of things right now but will write a more in-depth write-up of this experience soon!

Don’t forget to comment and share this blog with all of your friends, family members, and coworkers!

All of the best – Abby


Sense of Accomplishment

Day 2: Success!! Just as hot out today but no mic troubles! We had an awesome day working with David Denny near the Eastern Market today. Luckily we were also able to find Philip Black (“The Cat in the Hat”) for a re-do as wel! Accomplishment!

David Denny has been selling for and working with Street Sense for two years now. He says that Street Sense gives him that “sense of accomplishment” which he had been lacking before and selling the newspaper has allowed him to break out of the vicious cycle of drug dependency and unemployment. Keep your eyes and ears open for when we release his video on June 4th!!

Johnnie and I are both looking forward to lots of editing and our first day volunteering in the Street Sense office on Tuesday afternoon. Feel free to comment on this blog or email us with any questions!

Have a Happy Memorial Day! – Abby

Philip Black

“The Cat in the Hat”: Philip Black calls DC his home and Street Sense his second chance.

It is realllllly hot here in DC today – the sun is shining and there is very little breeze. We went out to the Eastern Market this morning to find Philip Black, also known as “The Cat in the Hat”, and ask him to be our first interviewee. Having already spoken with Philip before we decided he would be the perfect person to begin this journey with. We had a wonderful time hanging out with him and watching him during “showtime” as he calls it. His story is incredible and there is no question that Street Sense has given him hope. We can’t wait to share it with you all; however, due to some mic-issues (first day and all) we have to head back over tomorrow and ask for a re-do… whoops! Learning all the time!

Be sure to check back soon for the video. Johnnie, Philip and I can’t wait for you to see what Street Sense is doing and how it’s impacted Philip and other vendors alike! We’re hoping to have the video up and running on Monday via the Street Sense YouTube account!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!  – Abby

One of the most important people to acknowledge in this process is my partner in crime: Johnnie Mae Martin. Johnnie is a good friend and will be helping me through every piece of this project. She is an Organizational Communications Major at Capitol University and has already caught many of my spelling errors on this blog!

They say that everyone experiences a little (or a lot of) anxiety when they are preparing to take the first big step into the real world, doing what they know to be meaningful work:Anthropologists are charged with the task of understanding and representing cultures that otherwise have little voice; leaders are faced with the moment they take on the responsibility of others; and activists become anxious to lead social change by inspiring others. My name is Abby and I am all of those three things; and I am in fact, nervous.

Through short YouTube films and a photo journal project I will be acknowledging the hope and success which homeless men and women experience when they work with Street Sense ( in Washington DC. My goal is to inspire you, the readers of this blog, to have meaningful conversations and move towards creating social change.  My project is comprised of four goals: understand, create, educate, and reflect. Through these four goals I will be creating a campaign with the help of others to understand and pay tribute to the change that Street Sense is enabling in the lives of homeless men and women. I will be documenting their stories and working with them to understand why the Street Sense model works.

So here we are, at the first step. All of the sudden all of the preparation I’ve done must be good enough and I am charged with the task of taking a deep breathe and trusting that I can handle it. I have over 300 pages of reading on homeless populations, anthropological methods of activism, and how leaders must carry themselves and understand their colleagues and followers. So, I guess I’m ready. I’m accepting that every anthropologist feels anxious before they enter the field, that every leader questions their ability to lead others, and that every activists struggles to balance their passion with the reality they are in. Accepting and embracing. So.. deep breathe.. first step. Here we go.