At the end of last year, the city passed an ordinance prohibiting pedestrians from panhandling motorists or people within a vehicle on medians or busy streets. Although a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico stopped the enforcement of the ordinance (at least during the duration of litigation) the idea of the ordinance still resonates with me today.
Each day driving in almost any part of Albuquerque I pass a panhandler. Despite the ordinance, I often stop to give food or money when I can. After three years of passing by, I decided to tell their stories through pictures. Multiple food bags were handed out during the process and many stories were told. This may be a small project with little impact, but it’s hopefully just the beginning. My objective is to raise awareness that criminalizing panhandling is not the solution.
Madison Spratto is the news editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Madi_Spratto.