Seven months ago there was another billboard on this corner. You might remember my Chase rant. Soon after my post, the offensive advertisement, “home ownership within reach in Oakland?,” was removed.
I see this corner every week when I take the 27th Street exit on my way to church. Each week the homeless camp spreads further out in all directions, new tents, more shopping carts, more hungry people, more debris. Does it make sense now to advertise that “Marijuana has arrived?” What’s next? Could we plant a different seed? Maybe just one mustard seed of hope?
I can’t promise that I won’t mention this important film again. The reason – everyone needs to watch it. The Independent Film version of Dogtown Redemption can be streamed until August 15th here. Even better, you can purchase a copy of the full version here . It will change your outlook about recycling, the homeless and addiction. Okay, so I may be a bit biased since one of the characters happens to be my homeless son (more about that if you scroll down to my previous posts).
My son had the courage to share his life in the hope of making the world a better place. I am building courage to publish my memoir with the same hope. Sometimes we learn our greatest lessons from our children.
Watch the film. Host a screening. Share the story. Make a difference!
Last week I posted an article about my homeless son that I wrote for The Street Spirit. Today I encourage everyone to put this on your calendar: Dogtown Redemption will premier on PBS Independent Lens Monday, May 16, 2016. Please check your local PBS channel and tune in to this thought provoking documentary. If you miss the show, the DVD is available on the Dogtown Redemption website.
But let’s back up for a moment to an era before the tough times began. The year was 1984. My son, Jason, was only 10 years old, a robust, likeable young man with the determination to earn his Junior Black Belt. He studied the art since he was 7 years old and met his goal in September 1984. He continues to study the art – the one consistency in his life for the last four decades. This is the dream that keeps him alive today.
I watched his life become a broken dream. Not his broken dream but my broken dream. He struggles with the consequences of his addictions but he does the best he can and holds his head high. I bow my head with the loss of this beautiful boy and what he could have been.
It is said the writing of a memoir can be a healing experience and I am finding this to be true. It’s not about what might end up in the actual book; it’s all about the process.
When Amir Soltani was working on Dogtown Redemption he shared his wisdom with us. Many times he said, “It will be a healing film.” While it is a difficult film for me to watch, as I share it with the public I see the profound effect it has on the audience.
It is with Amir’s encouragement that I strive to write a purposeful memoir of experience, strength and hope. One that will make a difference.