From The Archives
“I want to write about the great and powerful thing that listening is.
And how we forget it.
And how we don’t listen to our children, or those we love.
And least of all – which is so important, too – to those we do not love.
But we should.
Because listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force …
When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.
Ideas actually begin to grow within us and come to life.”
Brenda Ueland, The Art of Listening
30 years of listening every day to young people on the edges of our society is beyond profound. It is an honor to be trusted to listen and to hear their thoughts and perspectives.
The Back Door was created in 1988 as a community project, a community response with a singular purpose of listening to young people and to learn from them about how they experience our society, and how community people can understand and be useful to their exit from the street culture.
The name, The Back Door, resonated with young people for whom front doors were often closed. Young people intuitively understood the safety of a backdoor and their access through it. In 2005 The Back Door renamed itself The Doorway.
The Doorway opened a more robust process of including community people as a critical element to the acceptance and belief in the young people inside.
Our society continues to document young people in databases that are formatted around their behaviors. They become data on the lists that seek funding to fix them. There are no formal opportunities to hear and respect them as persons.
LIVING DOCUMENTS is intended to offer you a direct opportunity to hear and see and imagine and feel the realities of their lives. They do not seek pity, They seek to be understood and respected.
Together we offer this Journal as an anthology, offering you an opportunity to know their capabilities and their grace extended to us in their learning to fit and create their own space to belong.