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March 29th, 2013

He’s a ‘road man’…

This term is used by Young People to describe a person that spends their time on the street generally it has a negative feel, ‘road men’ tend to hang out on the street corners, speak in a slang, and possibly engage in illegal activities, they may have a general street ‘swagger’ – an air of confidence, can be agressive, they know, and play the system on the street.

We had a really interesting discussion with a group of young men the other day about another young person they referred to as a ‘road man’. They identified themselves as different and that a ‘road man’ is negative, it is really interesting because looking from the outside the media and potentially community would describe the whole group as ‘road men’ or ‘hoodies’ or a ‘gang’. This lead me to thinking about my own perceptions and reminded me to continue to question those perceptions, judgements. We are continually bombarded with negative images and impressions of young people particularly through the media. This also made me question what it might be like for the specific young person – the ‘road man’, if not only the media, but potentially his school, police, family are negative toward him and about him (and as a result of conversations with the particular young person they are), but not only these people, but his peers or friends, this could feel like a very lonely place.

The Canaan Project is about bringing positivity and hope to these young people, to bring a bit of light to the darkness, to work to bring relationships to lonely young people.