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Évelia, who sells tamales at the intersection of Junction Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue in Queens, began with a grocery cart and no permit. Her story is a typical one. She arrived from Mexico in 2000. “When they arrested me [for operating without a permit], I really felt horrible,” she says. “I cried. But I had this courage inside. I decided to sell the next day.” After harassment from police, more arrests, obtaining black-market permits and contending with angry restaurant owners, she can finally sell her tamales legally. The video in this post tells her story, in her own words.

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