Archive for September, 2010
The Ashland and Cortez Latin Kings were among the first gangbangers I worked with when I was at Teen Challenge back in the early 70s. It was through their President, Michael Perez that I was introduced to all the other sections of the Latin Kings. I’ve not seen any of them since 1973. I know that Lucky was killed, but do not know what happened to any of the others. If anyone know their whereabouts, please let me know. Also let me know if you can fill in any of the names and stories of other guys in the pictures whose names I’ve forgotten.
Lucky’s demise is related in Chapter 37 (pp. 206 – 208) of the book My Bloody Life by Reymundo Sanchez (Chicago Review Press, 2000).
For Those at Risk
“To those of you out there living the gang life or looking to get into it, please take a moment to let the following words soak in.
I have never met a gang member who wasn’t looking out for him- or herself first and foremost. The loyalty they show you to suck you into the lifestyle disappears the moment you decide not to risk spending the rest of your life in a jail. Not to be a moving target, or the moment someone who outranks you suddenly has something against you. You are not the king or the queen of the streets as you are made to feel that you are. You are simply a scapegoat for dirty officials and drug dealers you’ll never even meet. Don’t fool yourselves – there are easier ways to live the hip-hop life. I mean you can wear the clothes, enjoy the music, do the dance, do it with those who stay in school and without getting yourself killed. All the police, judges, and politicians, and suburbanites you think you are hurting by your acts of delinquency are getting rich at the expense of your life.
If it is abuse at home that is making you turn to gangs, seek help. Please seek help. Go to a teacher, to a school counselor, talk to anyone you think can get you out of the abusive situation. But you have to understand that extreme situations often call for extreme measures. Prepare yourself to make tough decisions that may feel as if they are the wrong things to do. Just understand that you have to get out and there is no time to be a pussy. Take control of your life before someone else makes you lose control. It’s amazing how so many good kids let a couple of assholes ruin their reputations and then turn bad when they feel they have no choice. Or they get into a situation where they are hurt by a rival gang or a cop and suddenly have a reason to accept the gang way as the right way.
I can go on and on about the dos and don’ts of the streets but I’ll spare you the lecture. Bottom line is that standing on the corner acting tough does not make you tough. It makes you a stupid, ignorant asshole who fucks up everything for the rest of us. Get an education, and go live the life you think you are being denied.”
former Latin King gang member
Pp. 285-286 in Once a King Always a King
Sanchez is also author of My Bloody Life.
An interesting out-of-the-box organization working with gangs and at-risk youths in Boston and its surrounding areas.
Download the ROCA Intervention Manual from their website. A very useful tool!
A thought-provoking book on global justice and christian activism. Extremely pertinent for those of us involved in work with gangs and all their associated issues. Its time for each of us to begin mobilizing hope in our own corner of the world. Read what Jim Wallis has to say about this book and its author:
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Adam Taylor, more than any young leader I have met, exemplifies the best of the next generation of Christian activists. He was first a student of mine at Harvard’s Kennedy School, then my course assistant; then I joined the board of Global Justice, the student network that Adam started; then he joined our board at Sojourners; then he became Sojourners’ senior political director; then he became a White House Fellow and served a year working in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs and Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. Adam has become my friend, kindred spirit, and younger soulmate in the movement to put faith into action.
Mobilizing Hope is his first book, and is a manifesto for his generation, which is such a sign of hope for me.
Order Mobilizing Hope now and learn tangible and inspiring ways to put your faith into action.
This important book is five things at the same time. First, it is a story – partly Adam’s story and partly the story of his many cohorts who are shaping the next strategies for faith-based social change. Second, it is a theology for social justice, full of biblical references, reflections, and metaphors that point to God’s intentions and future for the world. This is not an argument rooted in political ideology, but a vision for social justice rooted firmly in the scriptures. Third, it offers a spirituality for young activists, with the mature understanding that if you want to be a person of justice and action, and last for very long, you must also become a person of prayer and contemplation. Fourth, Mobilizing Hope is a handbook for those who want to experiment with activism and search out their own vocation in changing the world. It is a guidebook for how to make a difference, with many examples of what works and what does not. Fifth, it is a strategy manual. Adam consciously draws on lessons from past movements for change, particularly the civil rights movement. Adam also shows how to draw from historical movements to develop new forms of organizing and advocacy that can meet our current realities.
Order Mobilizing Hope now and strengthen a growing movement for social justice.
Adam quotes one of my favorite lines from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “This hour in history needs a dedicated circle of transformed nonconformists.” That belief is the core of the book – the importance of a committed minority of transformed nonconformists who creatively apply their faith in fresh, bold, and innovative ways. This book intends to inspire and mobilize a new generation to become part of that prophetic minority. From now on, whenever I meet those eager and seeking young people who want their faith and their lives to make a difference in the world, I have a book to recommend. And I commend it to you.
It could change your life.
Founder and president, Sojourners
More thoughts on Mobilizing Hope
Towards an understanding of the Gang Mentality:
Lots of information:
A useful tool for rearch into Chicago gangs:
An interesting resource on the earlier Chicago gangs from chicagogangs.org :
An overview of domestic violence can be found at:
From an involved organization:
A useful tool:
See who the guys in the hood are representing: