By Dionne Gilbert | vendor and vendor coordinator
The first day of spring has passed, and those of us who are natives find the reactions to the changing seasons kind of funny. We can have a day of summer and winter, in the blink of an eye. As I write this, there is snow on the trees; tomorrow, well, we shall see. Yet the grass is getting greener out there so we know the consistent nice weather is on its way.
The crazy Denver weather has made it hard to vend. But such is the vendor life.
As a writer I know this well: it is not what you say, it is how you say it. I am very thankful to the vendors who make me laugh and smile. There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful to be where I am. I am here by grace. Albert has made a trip home to Detroit. He is the top vendor and I am privileged to call him a friend. Lando is back in town from his travels, as is Dwayne. It has been good to see them and welcome them back.
I recently had a meeting with a WorldDenver delegation, and it touched me deeply. We had several journalists visit from Yemin. It was more of a round table discussion. I feel changed, gifted, and am thankful to live in the US after that conversation. Here, good or bad or indifferent, I can say what I want without fear of someone harming me or my family. The VOICE can give us a true voice because we’re not stifled from speaking. Our editor, Kristin, might make changes in our pieces to improve it, or clarify a point, but we have the right to speak here. The WorldDenver visit made that advantage clear.
I need to share with you some decisions that have been made—decisions needed to be made for the greater good of our program. Due to behavior not appropriate for a vendor, we’ve had to not only suspend a few vendors, but it had to come down to terminations. This was not only my decision. I answer to others as well, and it was a team choice. And the decision to terminate is not one we make lightly. From our executive director to VCAB, which stands for Vendor Committee Advisory Board, consisting of a number of veteran vendors who have been with the VOICE for years—we together considered the situations and made decisions together.
Both positive and negative, my vendors impact my life everyday. Fortunately there is more positive than negative. I love celebrating traveling vendors home, acknowledging new accomplishments, and seeing new vendors succeed. I don’t think they realize what they give or bring to us. ■