Vendor Profile: Levi Holland has been selling Megaphone for nearly a decade
'My own boss'
“My sister-in-law, she got me into selling the Hope in Shadows calendar. She turned me onto that because, me and my boyfriend at the time, we were just moving from Prince George to Vancouver. Basically, I had nowhere to live. Living out of our van, we were homeless. I just didn’t have a job ready.
“We were trying to get a place, we were short on money, ended up working day jobs and that. My sister-in-law, Julie, turned us on to Hope in Shadows. She said you buy them for $10 and sell them for $20, you’re your own boss. I thought, ‘Man, I don’t want to stand on a corner and sell calendars, no way!’ She explained more to us: how it provides jobs and how people from the Downtown Eastside can express themselves through photos. Now I’ve been doing it for 10 years. I thought I’d give it a shot one day and holy smokes did we ever do well.
“Then eventually, we started saving our money. I was doing odd jobs here and there. Eventually we got our own place and it was through the help of the calendars and magazine.
“For me, it just gave me my own sense of being my own boss. I go out any time and make my own hours. The extra money always helps any way, shape, or form. I like meeting people. I like listening to their stories and they like listening to mine. I like the magazine itself, lots going on that people don’t know about that’s in the magazine. I learn from the magazine plus all the other injustices in the world.
“I read what’s in the magazine, and that way I can talk to my customers about it.
“I was first interviewed by Megaphone in 2009. A lot has happened since then. One of the biggest things was me and my family got into a horrific car accident, on May 18, 2013. All of my siblings, three of my brothers and my sister, and myself. I flatlined at the scene of the accident but they were right there— all five of us in the accident. We were all hurt really bad.
“We got t-boned at the intersection of Marine Drive and Capilano in North Vancouver. I was in the hospital for four or five months. My other brother was in the hospital for three months. We all shattered our hips, lots of injuries. I was the worst one of all. My mother could’ve lost all five of us in one shot.
“Everyone sent us big cards and flowers.
“Smithers is my hometown and I’ve moved away from there quite a few years ago. I go back every few years to visit my hometown. But I left because of the racism there and it’s still like that too.
“I’m Nisga’a Nation and Wet’suwet’en Nation. My father is from the Little Frog Clan and my Nisga’a mother is from the Gisk’aast tribe, the killer whale.
“I have not been able to work steadily since my accident. It’s been three years since I worked a stable job. Selling Megaphone and the calendar really helps me out.”
Levi sells Megaphone in Vancouver.