Meet Your Vendor: James Manning, #16


In one sentence, who are you?

A starving artist seeking to legalize compassion.

Where do you usually sell Groundcover News? 

The Ann Arbor District Library when it is open. Otherwise I sell in the Main St. area.

What is your favorite thing to do in Ann Arbor? 

I enjoy hanging our with the few friends I have because Ann Arbor has a sense of camaraderie that can make hangout spots somewhat magical.

What is something about you that someone on the street wouldn’t know? 

Regardless of how I’m treated, I strive to have manners and be respectful to others. I see it as combatting the various stigmas of the ultra poor and homeless and the fact that nothing nice is said about us. 

What words do you live by? 

Do unto others as you would do unto yourself.

What motivates you to work hard selling Groundcover News? 

I do Groundcover because I would rather be one more good person in this sick world who tries to undo the damage done to the reputation of the destitute rather than help affirm the irrational prejudices people harbor towards the downtrodden.

What are your hobbies? 

Reading sci-fi and Japanese manga, drawing abstract tribal art and music, music, music!

What was your first job? 

Interior and exterior painting with my father when school was out. I was around 8 or 9. And yes, this counts as a job because I worked and got paid. Compared to how employers treated me while I was homeless, it was a huge blessing. Homeless employment involves a lot  of labor intensive hours for often little to no wage at all.

What is the best way to start the day? 

4 cups of coffee and reassure myself that at least a couple of people will treat me like a human being.

What changes would you like to see in Washtenaw County? 

I firmly believe this needs to happen everywhere in America or else poverty will get so bad it will become a guaranteed death sentence. I pray to someday see something of a job placement service, like Michigan Works but way more effective and not discriminatory (which happens everywhere, all the time). Deep down people know that poverty = the death of your human rights! I pray for a mandatory job placement service so a homeless person can at least have a chance of fixing their life up. Most of society will move heaven and earth to keep the poor stuck right where they are in the gutter. The world wants you punished and broken for the crime of poverty. And trying to get work and escape this life is   viewed as a huge crime and act of defiance. I simply want the poor to at least have some rights that are not immediately discredited by society. 

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