Humboldt residents living on the edge of poverty now have a voice.
That was the intention of Lorena Boswell, founder and editor of The Humboldt Edge, a street paper whose first issue comes out
today. Boswell told the Journal today that publication of the first issue has been delayed by a week.
"I am so grateful that I have this opportunity: that people on the edge, who are wary because they have been knocked down so many times, are trusting me to be the platform for their voice,” she says. Boswell is a volunteer coordinator at HSU. The yearly trips she organizes for students to help the needy in cities such as San Francisco and Portland helped inspire this project.
This year she and her students spent spring break in Sacramento, and Boswell had an opportunity to meet with the editor of Homeward, that area's periodical written by houseless and low-income residents. That meeting was a catalyst for an idea that had been germinating in Boswell's mind for several years: a similar paper for Humboldt County.
Emotion colors her voice when she recalls the conversation she had with one of her students on the return trip.
“Usually it was me who's encouraging them, but I was ... talking about how I wanted to do this but I wasn't sure that I could and he just turned to me and said, 'You can do this.'”
Most street papers also have a vendor program, in which homeless people can sell issues. Boswell says this may be yet to come, depending on response to the pilot edition. The first Humboldt Edge will be distributed free in front of the County Courthouse, at the Farmer's Market and at several community resource centers.