Last night I had the honor to wear green with the MINNEAPOLIS MAD DADS. More than that, I got to document their nightly routine helping the homeless.
We started off at their headquarters on the Southside before hopping a bus to the light rail station. Right away, the guys were in service mode, and I’ve never seen a group of gentler men. So friendly, kind, and positive, it was rare that anyone–even in the roughest shape–would refuse to take the hand these guys reached out. And I’m talking everyone, whether they had been slumped-over, short-tempered, or even a group of drug dealers on a corner. These brash dealers softened at the approach of the MADDADS, and the leader of this pack didn’t hesitate to follow MADDAD Robert to the side to have a one-on-one.
These connections are possible by MADDADS’ unique and effective role being leaders, being non-threatening, and simply being helpful. Their presence is aided by years of good will and reputation they’ve built in Minneapolis communities.
I filmed the guys helping those inebriated, those who were cold, those hungry, and those looking for social services, whose contact info the MADDADS document for later phone calls.
Last night revealed two aspects of the homelessness epidemic for my upcoming documentary series: 1. How the homeless in cold Minneapolis use public transportation as shelter. 2. How the members of the community (MADDADS) are responding to the need.
And actually, there was third aspect: capturing the insights from the MADDADS, who themselves used to have struggles similar to those they now help, and who shared with me their thoughts on the causes and solutions to homelessness, addiction, and other aspects of struggle in America. My series will be greatly enhanced by these insights.
Making our final train stop for the night, we exited through the lobby of the station to see police tape bordering a pool of pink liquid. They hadn’t even yet mopped up the blood wash water. And the victim of the stabbing, a young man, was there with fellow drunk friends. He had been bandaged up and shared the story–a senseless, violent act emblematic of the destructive place in which many Americans find themselves.
THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING MY WORK. It is because of you, I can reveal the organizations, service work, people in need, and solutions to these social issues. If you’d like to help further, please share this work I’m doing.
Finally, to learn more (and to help) the Minneapolis MADDADS, check out their website here: http://minneapolismaddads.org/
To learn more about (and support) my documentary project, check out the project page: https://www.gofundme.com/manage/documentaryhomelessness-in-america