Smash Street is a safe place for boys-at-risk. We all come to it with a vision.
We understand that. But it’s what we see, and we can’t white-wash it for you so you can feel better about your lives. The vision belongs to us. It is not your vision, and that is fine. Our ideas about the future are grim. Which does not mean that we are set out on some PR campaign to convince you because we’re not.
It’s simple. We’re about three things. You won’t get it. But it’s not important what you get or do not get.
Education wants it to be about the numbers at a graduation that isn’t going to happen. HIV/AIDS health care wants it to be about punishment. Drug dealers want it to be about addiction. And then, there’s homelessness. We understand the extent to which the normals and the suits hate us. The stalkers and the hate mail we receive on a daily basis testify to that.
There are a million and one institutions out there who would shape us into forms they recognize and can control. We do get that the culture perceives the adolescent male as in dire need of structures that contain him. Like detention. Like jail. Like the back of a police car at night when no one can see what they do to us.
SAFE ZONE: A place where our abusers and stalkers and rapists can and haters cannot find us. Even if they do find us on the Internet — stalkers and haters are ubiquitous and ordinary — they cannot find us outside that context. Just because they track down an address, or a list of them, does not mean we are there. A safe zone implies confidentiality. Some abusers will, given the opportunity, continue to abuse. Some abusers will, given the opportunity, continue to abuse when released from prison. A safe zone means we are safe from haters and relatives who are haters.
ART: Using art as a healing mechanism, and at the same time acquiring skills. We are also mentors to at-risk-kids around the planet in SHOW ME YOUR LIFE. Art is a reinterpretation of the world.
Smash Street is about a continuance. An endurance that helps us create an environment that is safe and allows us to thrive if that is even possible. Sometimes we are hopeful, and we believe it’s possible to thrive. But these are fleeting moments. We are not asking for you to approve. We are asking that we be allowed to rediscover our fundamental humanity. Free of suicide. Free of addiction. And free of the human beings who have, and given the opportunity, would hurt, humiliate, and exploit us. Our vision is one of dead bodies in the road.