In the days after my brother’s passing, I experienced first-hand the system’s response to a family’s loss, my family’s loss. The apathy of our local police force, the laziness of our coroner and the general message given to my family that “he was a junky so what do you expect” as well as a quick understanding that the investigation into his death was to go no further than the lip service given to my family by an apathetic detective that told me on the day my brother died “you need to lower your expectations, I have seen hundreds of these and there is nothing remarkable about your brother’s death.” My family has experienced the flaws in our system, the shirking of the responsibility of elected officials and the complete sense of loneliness a family feels in their own community when those put in place to protect and serve refuse to live up the calling of their most important duties.
As a visual communicator and artist I started to create posters and prints depicting the apathy of local elected officials, as well as telling the story of a family, my family, that has lost a loved one to heroin. I have placed these on the street in my hometown as a community catalyst to conversation. Each time I hang these materials in my community the police systematically destroy them as the message is often directed at the lack of community and government response and this is something they are attempting to silence. As quickly as the work goes up the work comes down. My intention is to start community conversation for two reasons: one, I want people to ask questions, seek answers and hold their elected officials accountable to the jobs they were placed to accomplish; and two, to understand our responsibilities as citizens to police their own neighborhoods. The dealers of heroin, death, run ramped within our communities and we must act now for the sake of our brothers, sisters and most importantly our children.
This is where you come in. I am asking for funding to help to obtain a high-powered projector in which to illuminate the messages I am bringing to my community. The projections will be unable to be destroyed by the police and local government as paper of my posters is continually torn and discarded. This will allow us to boldly display the messages that we will no longer accept dealers of poison in our city and we will focus our energy on getting those in need of treatment of addiction the resources needed to start the long path of recovery. In my city as in most, if you have money then treatment options are plentiful and if you do not then no help is here for you. We will blast these concepts in light for all to see and consider. We will rid our city of heroin and opioid dealers, including physicians that irresponsibly prescribe opioids, as this epidemic started with them and this cannot be forgotten. We must learn from this to never again allow the systematic creation and subjugation of addicts by licensed professionals. We will also start to demand quality care for those without insurance or the ability to pay for treatment. In my county if you have no insurance then county options are what is available, which means a three- to five-day medical detox if and when a bed is available. Those with any knowledge of opioid addiction understand that this does not begin to treat any aspect of the mental component of addiction which is far more powerful than the medical effects of opioid withdrawal. The projections that will be streamed with light, a beautiful concept, will call those in power to their civic responsibility to the people of our community to keep them safe and act with all citizens in mind first, not the fiscal worries or the perpetuation of their jobs. The projector will illuminate the issue in technicolor clarity and in a format that cannot be dampened. It is my goal that once the projector is obtained that it can be utilized by not only my project but by anyone in need of illuminating an issue of great urgency. I will make this equipment available for those that support this cause and I will be there to help them bring an end to social injustice wherever it breaths. We have to do this together and we must understand that as a community we have the ability to create good and lasting change