What is Top Manta?

Top Manta is the brand of the commercial project of the Mantero Union or Popular Association of Vendors Ambulantes de Barcelona, ​​the Popular Coop of Street Vendors of Barcelona, ​​SCCL.

We are a group of around 300 people, mostly Senegalese, who live in Barcelona. Our activities are focused on promoting and favoring the employment of people who are dedicated to street vending, provide assistance and economic resources to the most vulnerable people within the collective, fight against racism and the structures that allow it and create research projects sociological and cultural material.

A little history

In October 2015 the Union was born and we managed to register our organization as a non-profit Association for profit in 2017. Our association is made up of migrants and people of color as a collective that experienced displacement. Currently, it is made up of 300 migrant members, of which 12 of them are fully involved in the activities of the Association, which also has the help of 24 volunteers in training of the processes of the commercial activity and collaborators. We work permanently in the anti-racist struggle to denounce and combat racism and colonialism. Our The project aims to overcome the exclusion suffered by our group. street vendors we are victims of multiple discriminations: because of our race and class, because of the work we do and our socioeconomic status (such as housing, access to resources, etc.). The Association allows us to overcome the situation of the street that violates and criminalizes us, creating a space of security and common work, in which collectively we can create answers to the various problems that concern us.

Also in 2017 we created our Top Manta brand, which was born as a project of the Popular Association of Barcelona Street Vendors, to demonstrate the skills and value of immigrants who want work legally to contribute to the global and Barcelona economy and improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable people.

For years, street vendors have been attacked by police, politicians and the media migrants because current legislation and institutional racism prevent migrants who flee their countries of origin, whether due to poverty, war, violence or persecution, find a job decent. The project has allowed the Popular Union of Street Vendors of Barcelona to dignify our work, register our own logo and create our own business, the Cooperativa Popular de Barcelona Street Vendors, SCCL with which we seek to regularize the administrative situation of the street vendors who live in Barcelona, ​​integrate them into the city and make the population aware of our current problem, eliminate racism and get the necessary support from society and political groups to modify the current legislation that discriminates against the poorest and most vulnerable groups.

Our social and solidarity project is based on four main pillars:

1. Search for labor solutions for the group of street vendors in our city and the exclusion suffered due to current immigration legislation that prevents migrants have access to work and a decent life.

2. Build bridges with the local community: integrate our collective in society, improve our living conditions, dignify our work, demonstrate our values ​​and contribute to the economy of the planet and of our host country.

3. Initiatives to fight/defense: promote and contribute to the elimination of laws discrimination against immigrants.

4. Contribute to the sustainable development of our planet through the use of organic textiles and fair trade.

We currently work in the following lines of economic, social and solidarity activity:

● The main activity is local commerce: design, sewing, serigraphy and sale of our own fashion garments and other products (t-shirts, sweatshirts, bags, caps, masks, African clothing, and other accessories), as well as screen printing services at affordable prices. Our products are they sell in our physical store in the Raval neighborhood, Barcelona (Carrer d’En Roig 13, 08001 Barcelona) and in our online store (https://www.topmanta.store/).

● Training services, promotion, cultural exchange activities and talks aimed at entities, groups, schools and in public administration: training in anti-racism, in the rights of migrants.

● Sewing services.

● Food services: Senegalese food services, mainly at popular festivals, meetings political, cultural, etc.

Through our activities and our Top Manta clothing brand, we want to make our situation known and that society sees us as we deserve, as what we really are: fighters, workers, with trades and with the desire to work without being harassed daily by the police. We are people who risk our lives to access honest and legal work.

Our idea is to expand the possibilities of self-employment so that the colleagues who have trades and knowledge can apply them in some type of service, promoting the presence of migrants in the cooperative world and favoring the development of a global social market. Our project and model self-management has begun to be implemented in other cities in Spain and we believe that it can inspire everyone vulnerable groups and spread to all countries of the world, so that migrants can work and reside legally in the country in which they are located, be able to demonstrate their worth, their knowledge and culture, have a dignified life and strengthen ties with the host community. This is how we understand self-management: innovation policy for a more just and hopeful horizon.

We are convinced that promoting the presence of migrants in the cooperative world favors development from an anti-racist perspective and the improvement of the social market.