I am working with Hidden Voices on a project focusing on homelessness. I just spent the day with six of the rudest, most disrespectful, angriest teenage boys and girls I have ever met. They did not want to be there. It was Spring Break and they were ordered by the court to be with us for the afternoon. Ordered there because of things like hitting teachers, going after another student with a knife, drugs, you know the usual things seventeen year olds are doing to pass time in school (not!). I forget there are kids like this out there. My kid wants to be with me, she has respect for others, compassion and goals. What is going to happen to these kids? I loved them, they are so raw and honest, and so sad in so many ways. What is WRONG with parents. Teach you children well, people!!!!!!! So anyway, our project with them was to build a "house" that told us who they are, past in the attic, present in the middle and future on the ground floor. It's really interesting to watch this process, and I'm sure these kids are going to be on my mind for awhile now. Here is the thing, a lot of the community service they have to do is cleaning, picking up trash in ditches, things that are punishment because of what they did, like being ordered there by the court, because a teacher pressed charges, because they got hit. Well, wouldn't you press charges? These are kids.Why can't they be shown a better way, instead of making them do something that is just going to piss them off more, teach them about something better to strive towards, something they might actually like to do and want to do more of. This system we have is so F'd up. Here is a bit more about the project, the show will be April 9 at the Artscenter in Carrboro if you want to come. No charge but kind donations are welcome! You can go to Hidden Voices.org to read more about the project:
Home Is Not One Story debuts in April 2010, with writings, photography, performances, and video created by members of these communities, as well as a digital audio and print tour, exhibit, public video display, and school curriculum guide for implementing a focus on home and homelessness.
Home Is Not One Story is a community-based project highlighting stories from those who have experienced homelessness in North Carolina. The project gives voice to residents who have experienced episodic, as well as chronic, homelessness. Whether we call it housing displacement, housing crisis, or housing transition, homelessness can deprive us of the basic physical and emotional space needed to create and sustain personal dignity. Home Is Not One Story explores the challenges faced by those in transient housing, including motels and campgrounds; the chronically homeless; those escaping domestic and family violence; homeless women veterans; families in long-term shelter housing; foster children and young adults in and aging out of the support system; immigrants and refugees; LGBTQ teens in housing crisis; and the “hidden” homeless, who find shelter where they can but who lack a stable residence. These individuals and families have much to communicate about identity, place, and access. They have much to teach us about survival, flexibility, and the power of home. They have much to say.