Real-life super heroes on the streets of the United States
Twenty-eight-year-old David “Civitron” Civatarese is a Boston-based real-life super hero. In his day job he works with adults with autism but in his free time, Civitron dons his home-made super hero disguise – a burgundy and orange jumpsuit – and takes to the sidewalk, assisting his community however he can by cleaning up the streets, helping out the homeless or families in need.
He’s part of a growing collective of ordinary citizens across America who have transformed themselves into something – and someone – else, made themselves larger than life. Going under the banner ‘Superheroes Anonymous’, the collective is dedicated to inspiring the super hero spirit in everyone.
According to Civitron, it’s about finding out what your individual powers are and finding out how you can use those powers to help your community.
“Many of us dress up as an original super hero persona – and that’s part of the personal journey of going out and changing your life, of becoming the change that you want to see in the world [to quote Gandhi]. We take a look at ourselves, take a moral inventory – and see what we can change. With the persona we provide a template for ourselves to live by.”
The costumes – and the reasons for wearing them – are different for everyone, says Civitron.
“It’s about becoming a living example, not only for others but also yourself. You put on the costume to remind yourself you are out there specifically for the purpose of helping and for living your cause. For others, it’s more about fun.”
Whether it’s Life Lazaros, a New York hipster who wears a black mask and works on the street with runaways and homeless people, or Zeta Man, who coordinates fundraisers in his local hip hop community, the growth of the real life super hero has been exponential in recent years, with close to 200 members across the United States.
Health and safety
But it’s not a question of vigilantism, Civitron is keen to point out. Superheroes Anonymous members act within the boundaries of safety and the law and liase with the police to build upon existing mechanism within society, rather than working alone. They aim to take responsibility within their own community.
Whether you wear a costume or not, Civitron says the guidelines to becoming a real-life super hero are simple:
“Know the law and know what the legal boundaries are. Always be safe… and for anybody looking to become a real life super hero – they should explore themselves, know what they believe to be true, set out to be that ambassador to the world and always stay true to their message.”