An integral component of In Our Backyard was a series of video conversations where residents of Tacoma, with and without experience of homelessness, hosted each other in their backyards for a conversation about homelessness. Some hosted a conversation at their business or at their owned home. For some, their backyard was a shelter’s parking lot or a public park.
These video conversations document the first time participants met each other. They were given an opportunity to answer suggested questions or to ask each other questions they were curious about. The conversations were shot over the course of two intense and emotional days as community members immersed themselves in honest and open conversations with people they had never met before, in front of the camera.
Homelessness can be a hard subject to talk about as it brings to the forefront economic and social gaps, lack of resources, and stereotypes about others that we all carry with us. But, by making these conversations public, these community members inspire us to join in deep and desperately needed conversations. These conversations are a reminder that the issue of homelessness is not merely the issue of those who experience it, but a social issue that everyone, housed and homeless, could and should support reducing. As Colleen Cline, one of the video participants concludes: “I think my backyard needs to get bigger. I think a whole lot of people’s backyards need to get bigger.”
Videography & Editing: Michael Ball
Installation Design & Technical Support: Matt Daugherty & Michael Sherman
Participants: Angelo ‘AJ’ Harris, Colleen Cline, Evan Candoo, Jan Lassen,Katrina Wedgeworth, Kevin J Moriarity, Linda Black, Lisa Mansfield, Markeys Harvey, Michael Sherman, Patricia Lautenschlager, Rodney Williams, Roni Chelben, Thunder, Virgie Harris, Virginia Crittendon