A moment of laughter from a Stephen Colbert joke on a suicidal night four years ago changed everything for Blake. He began a journey of re-engaging society by meeting complete strangers each day as a form of personal therapy. This was also a mission to get on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, serving as a symbolic goal that was sparked from that moment of laughter.
He has gone out for 1,499 days in a row which is over 12,000 hours of effort, and has met with 31,282 strangers (As of 12/20/19) in his quest to overcome his trauma and raise awareness for both PTSD and sexual assault. These strangers have all shared with him their amazing messages of support and hope in 92 languages with 27 Sharpie marker colors on over 4,000 square feet of poster boards. This cross country journey has created this incredible participatory art project that has become a collective story of hope and support. These 482 giant foam poster boards have colorful messages that include artwork, poetry, short stories, jokes, bible verses, and much more.
This journey has been featured on Inside Edition in New York, CBS 5 News Phoenix, and over 50 other news outlets around the states. An Emmy-nominated documentary was produced about his journey by a group of journalism students at Arizona State University. Blake also has a big goal of becoming a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He explained the significance of this show (on that suicidal night) in his TEDx talk at Grand Canyon University. He wants to deliver his message, and the messages of all of his supporters, to the show and provide hope and support for many others overcoming their traumas.
Blake was born in Gary, IN, lived in Los Angeles, San Diego, and England however he has resided in Phoenix for the last 15 years. Ron Blake graduated with an MPA in Public Affairs from Indiana University, was elected as a city councilman in suburban Chicago at a young age, was a high school physics teacher, and was honored for his work with students as a high school cross country and track coach for 15 seasons.