Rusty Wright: ‘The Streets Were My Father’ Movie Review

‘The Streets Were My Father’ documentary poster.

Could you forgive someone who murdered your family member?  Or was an MIA parent?  Absent, neglectful or abusive fathers can leave lifetime scars. The Streets Were My Father depicts three sons who experienced it all, and have turned their corners in dramatic, inspiring ways.

Lee Habeeb and Our American Stories produced this moving documentary about journeys from hopelessness to redemption. It releases on on Father’s Day, June 20.

Fatherless homes correlate with numerous societal blights, including poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, crime, behavioral problems, and more.  This film’s three male subjects knew it all too well.

Gang unity and revenge

Carlos Colon’s single mom endured multiple abusive relationships.  Gangs and poverty permeated his young life.  School seemed meaningless.  “The streets were my father,” he lamented.

“What attracted me to the gang,” he recalls, “was actually just the unity. We all had something in common.  A lot of us were miserable.  We had no fathers in our lives.”  And gang life was risky: “I remember getting into a shootout with somebody.  Shortly afterward, they came back and I got shot.”

His feelings festered “like just a pot, so much boiling and brewing.  I wanted to get revenge.”  Carlos shot and killed a man, becoming a fugitive. His desire to be a father for his child eventually got him caught.  A murder conviction brought a twenty-year prison sentence.

Cocaine, shooting; reaping, sowing

Louis Dooley both loved and feared his dad, who used his own mean demeanor as social currency, a trait young Louis sought to emulate. His father abused his mother both verbally and physically, and lost his life in a soured drug deal.  “God, I hate you,” Louis exclaimed.  Anger, bitterness and sadness haunted him.  No one helped him process his pain and despair.

Drug use morphed into drug dealing with crack cocaine. “It just kind of spiraled out of control,” Louis remembers, “until a lot of violence [took] place with me doing drive-by shootings.”

“I just continued down that path.  And you know, there’s a verse in the Bible that talks about reaping what you sow.  And so it was just a matter of time before I was going to reap what I sowed.”  At age 19, convictions of attempted murder and robbery earned a life-plus-100-years sentence.  He contemplated suicide.

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SOURCE: Assist News Service