Street Stories: Zan Berry

Zan Berry is a 31-year-old musician and educator who works at the Matthewson Street Church with the Tenderloin Opera Company (TOC), a music and theater group made up of people currently and formerly experiencing homelessness and advocates. Zan has lived in Providence since 2016 and focuses on building accessible creative communities.

Zan and other members of TOC worked all of summer 2021 with the Rhode Island Organizing Project to raise awareness about the State of Rhode Island’s Multi-Hub Bus Proposal among transit riders and users of Kennedy Plaza and collect their feedback. “Mostly what we heard is that it was a really bad idea,” says Zan in the video below. “So many people rely on the centrality of Kennedy Plaza to get to school and appointments…. it feels more like a business plan for downtown Providence than a transit plan.”

Zan also shares his fears as a pedestrian in Providence trying to cross busy streets and construction zones, and thinks “if politicians invest in public transportation, it really benefits everybody. It makes it easier to get around, more sustainable if we’re trying to meet climate goals. It just feels like there’s this disconnect – we have to make things faster and more convenient for people that own cars. And if you walk or take transit – tough, you just have to deal with it.”

Interview by Brittanny Taylor.