Edgar’s Letter

Edgar’s Letter

I call this missive “Edgar’s letter” because it was found in the personal papers of my friend Edgar Orsini after he died. Edgar was a Latin King that I first got to know in the early 70s.  The letter is not addressed to anyone in particular, nor is it signed. That makes it uncertain as to whether Edgar was the author of this letter or not. It remains important for the rest of his family, as well as others connected to the gang lifestyle, however, because of its content. Whether Edgar wrote this note or not, it must have been important to him because he kept it neatly packed in the file of his personal papers. What makes it eerily haunting for his son Anthony, however, is that it echoes what his dad said to him the night he was killed. Just before going out on that fateful night, Edgar turned to Anthony and said, “I care about you. I love you very much,” words almost quoting verbatim what we find in the next-to-last paragraph. Therefore, whether Edgar actually wrote these words, they were considered important enough to keep and must have echoed his own personal sentiments. These were sentiments he obviously wanted to communicate with members of his family, and in particular, we might guess, his own sons (Edgar Jr., Carlos, and Anthony). Hence, the message is of utmost significance to Anthony and others who will read it.  It has a message of truth that all gang-bangers would be wise to heed. The letter itself follows:

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Before you make the wrong decision, please listen to me. The history of all gang feuds is the history of label struggle for the sake of “click” recognition. It is the egotistical force which leads our people to rivalry and senseless disputes which often cost the high price of human life. The life of our people! With the intention to help change this social and oppressive phenomena, I’m writing to convey to you the negative aspects of gang life and shatter that false illusion of good that blinds our brothers and sisters into believing that they need to be a gang member.

Imagine a group of people on top of a cliff, and they are all holding hands, they made a vow to hold each other’s, jump off the cliff and not let each other go until they hit the surface. Well, that symbolizes the gang life. The group represents the “gang.” The vow symbolizes the vow that every person makes once they join a gang., the deadly act represents the need for recognition and the surface symbolizes destruction.

You are probably saying to yourself, that’s not a good analogy because they wouldn’t make that vow, anyone knows that if you jump off a cliff, you would surely die or if you are lucky, get severely injured, but you are wrong, those kids that join gangs see people die in their own neighborhood because of it. So, what I want to talk about is the fact that they hold hands, the false illusion of love and unity is what binds them, the need for recognition, acceptance, and purpose. Cause our young brothers and sisters to choose that path. (blindfold) You see, we all want to be part of something, but due to our ignorance of the potential consequences, we see sometimes make the wrong decisions, joining a gang is definitely the wrong move and once you make that decision, its hard to turn back.

While they were falling and getting close to the surface, some of them realized what they were headed for and some remained blind, those that wanted out before they reached the surface were trying their hardest to grab a tree branch or something that would stop the fall, only a couple were able to succeed, some of them couldn’t make it because they jumped too far away from the cliff, and nothing was within reach. Some of them couldn’t get out of the situation because the person that was holding their hand wouldn’t let go. So, in the end, those that were blind, those that were not within reach of anything, and those that were held back were all destroyed, yes, only a couple out of the whole group managed to stop the fall by grabbing hold of something.

While living a gang lifestyle, everything looks fine, but after a while, things change, reality begins to kick in and some gang members want to make a change. They begin to see the destruction that lies before them, only a small number are able to make that change, some of them couldn’t change the situation because they were too deep into gang-banging and there was no help within reach, “it was too late”, some of them tried to change their lives, but their homeboys held them back. So, in the end, those that were blind, those that couldn’t find help, those that were held back were all destroyed, like I said, only a small number of gang-bangers wake up and are given another chance. But, they are not the only ones, even right now, as I write, there are thousands of teenagers getting ready to jump off that cliff. This isn’t going to change until we unite and let it be known that joining a gang will get you nowhere, I know this for a fact! I’ve served half of my life in and out of gangs.

We need to talk.

Yes, I want to talk to you! I want you to know I care about you and love you very much, you are my life. And I do not want to see you make the same mistake I did, or maybe one worse.

Please don’t take your life for granted.

Addendum:

Edgar Orsini was shot to death on July 15th, 2001.  That night, before he went out, Edgar turned to Anthony and said “I care about you and love you very much.

Beach and Spaulding Latin Kings ca. 1972. Edgar Orsini is top row, far left. Big Papo is top row center. They’re all dead.

After reading this you might want to view this rap video by Lecrae called Don’t waste your Life. Find it at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RWEllqh5J0&feature=related

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Comments
  1. Kasondra Orsini says:

    I find this website and Edgar’s letter very interesting. I find it interesting because Edgar is my father. I would like to have contact with Ron just to learn a little more about this letter.
    kasondra@hotmail.com

  2. Big Lou says:

    It’s spelled “Beach” not “Beech”.

  3. This is a such a moving and insightful description of the lure of gangs – it’s all about finding identity and a feeling of belonging really, isn’t it?

    We all have this same need and joining gangs is just an example of the mistakes we make when we try to fulfill it but don’t really know what we’re doing – those of us not in gangs often make the same mistake just in different ways.

    Thanks for posting the letter.

  4. king lito says:

    amor de rey! alkqn – peru – south america

    • Ron says:

      King Lito-

      Thanks for your comment. Do you live in Peru right now? Did you happen to know Edgar or was it the LK connection that drew your interest?

      Ron

  5. King B says:

    ADR to Edgar. I know Lito and just like me he is a seeker of truth and history of our Nation. I found this letter Friday and posted it in Learning section of my site. http://WWW.MYALKQN.com. I would please like to speak to you about this letter and outreach.

    • Ron says:

      Hi King B-

      Thank you for your resaponse to Edgar’s Letter. I appreciate your comment and sharing your website. I too seek truth and, of course, I understand it as coming through Jesus. In any case, I’d love to have access to your site. Though I’m not a King, I’ve been involved with the Kings since the 70s and remain connected to a number of Kings in the Chicago area. Many of the guys I first got to know (like lucky in My Bloody Life) are dead and gone, but others survive. I’d love to be able to reach out to them. I’d also like to sit down with you sometime and chat about things we have in common, and probably some things we don’t. Where do you live, if I can ask without causing a problem. Let me know. I know other Kings trying to do things similar to what you are doing and Edgar was trying to do the same when he was shot to death. I am closely connected to his son Anthony who came out of the Spanish Lords to serve Christ. He’s told me a lot about Edgar’s thoughts before he died as have other Kings who knew him and are still around. In any case, let me know. I’d really like to meet you and have some conversations about all this. Lito too, so if its convenient or possible, maybe we could all sit down together over some good Puerto Rican food.

      Ron

  6. brandy says:

    i feel very sad at the moment because i was searching for information regarding an old friend named edgar orsini. now i realize he is edgar jr. i was told by some other friends that he was arrested again. i was saddened because he has such a big heart and i hate to hear things like this. i wish he had really heard the words of his father so that he didnt have to suffer by imprisonment.

    • Ron says:

      Hi Brandy-

      Where did you know Edgar Jr from? I knew him as a baby and used to hold him when I went to see his mom and dad (Susan and Edgar, sr.). I actually visited with him a couple of years ago down in Austin. I was also sad to hear about the arrest. You are right in that he has a big heart. Did you know how he used to make sandwiched for the homeless for Christmas and new Years? I’ve talked to several family members about it and it seems serious but we’ll see how it all plays out. I’m sure he would appreciate your prayers. I’m about to write him, hopefully giving him a little encouragement. I hope a lot of his family and friends do the same. Did you also know Carlos, or either of the younger brothers?

      In His Grip,

      Ron

  7. dangerouspotentialministries says:

    “Diamond in the back, Sunny roof top, diggin the scene with a gansta look….” I remember sitting on the passenger seat of Edgar’s car and listen to him sing this song word for word. At that time we lived on Spaulding & Crystel. I want to know about Jane and Anthony.

  8. "Bucktown Boy" says:

    Malo (A. Orsini) Is my friend in or out of the gang. I’m honestly happy for him having left the gang. I myself never left but I’m a more dormant member. He has my respect for the things he did while part of the gang and for having left the gang in search of a better life. I didn’t know this part of his life. It explains a lot. This letter is touching because it’s true and I’ve seen many brothers who can do so much more with their lives but choose the street. I now have my family, and that rush I got on the streets isn’t worth risking my kids and my girl. Amor De Senor. Those guys you talked about in the end of a shout out to the Spanish Lord’s, I know them. I’m actually one of them.

    • Ron says:

      Bucktown

      Thank you for your note. I appreciate your sentiments. Anthony is doing well with two young children, Vincent and Avita, and is rowing in his relationship with God every day. He is working hard and has gone to Turkey (to help me on an archaeological excavation) and Nicaragua (to help kids in an orphanage). God has blessed the decisions he’s made and while not everything has been perfect, he is learning and being an inspiration to many. I know he would agree with you about the kids. After having grown up in the gang lifestyle, and now tasting what real life has to offer, I know he wants the latter, rather than the former for, his kids. I know you can understand that. There is so much more, however, and the trajectory of his life has been near miraculous. It’s because he has allowed God to control his life instead of trying to make it all work himself. I’m not sure why you wrote to me this evening, but I want you to know that this is not something restricted to Anthony, but is something you can share in too. You don”t know all of the Edgar/Anthony story but it started back in the 70s when I knew Edgar. After about three years he prayed with me, for himself, and also for his family, that they would have a better life. What’s happening with Anthony now is an answer to Edgar’s pray all those years ago. I say this because Anthony is now passing on the blessing of his father’s prayer to his kids, and you can do the same. If you have not done so, I’d recommend that you not only ask Christ to forgive you of your sins and take over your life, but to also watch over your family and to give your kids the chances you never had. If you man up and take a stand, you will bless your family for generations to come. You will impact your family, wither for good or for bad. Why not step up and make decisions that will impact your family positively for generations to come. Let that be your legacy. I don’t know if we”ve ever talked or not, but I would be happy to do so, in person or on the phone. Let me know, OK. I’d be happy to pray with you or to just talk. God has so much for you, but you have to step up and accept it.

      In His Grip,
      Ron

  9. Carmen Rosado Medina says:

    Hi my name is Carmen Rosado and I used to be madly in love with Edgar, lived with him in his parents house after he broke up with Milly. Ran into him on and off while I was still in Chicago. Last time I saw him was a long time ago. He was in a grocery store on California street near Augusta Blvd. He was probably getting cigarettes or something. I got excited to see him and went to say hello, but as we spoke I sadly realized he was really high and I wasn’t making much sense and I left him with a heavy heart because he wasn’t the same anymore. I thought about him in recent years and wondered what ever happened to him and some of the others in the picture above, like papo and my sweet friend Jerry. They always protected me and made me feel safe. It’s sad to know they all died. It makes me wonder about some of the others not in the picture. Glad I found this site. My friends used to call me Shaggy because of my long and full hair. I lived on Division and Spaulding and went to Orr High School until I dropped out. Later I got together with Ruben Figueroa and we had a beautiful daughter. We are not together but Ruben went to the military after doing some time for murder and recently retired. He is one success story that made it out in time. He and Edgar were very close for many years.

  10. Vic says:

    I CAN VERIFY THAT EDGAR DID NOT WRITE THIS LETTER, IT’S EXCERPTS TAKEN FROM OTHER ARTICLES AND INTERVIEWS THROUGH OUT THE YEARS OF JOURNALISTS THAT HAVE INTERVIEWED BROTHERS FROM HERE AND THERE. I KNEW EDGAR FOR YEARS, WE’RE FROM THE SAME CHAPTER AND WE WERE IN THE PROCESS OF WRITING A BOOK TOGETHER ABOUT OUR NATION. I APPROACHED EDGAR ABOUT THE PROJECT BECAUSE HE HAD THIS EXTENSIVE PHOTO COLLECTION OF THE HISTORY OF THE ALKN DATING BACK TO THE KEDZIE & OHIO DAYS, “THE BEGINNING” AND I WANTED TO PUT WORDS TO THOSE PHOTOS AND DETAIL OUR ORIGIN, OUR HISTORY & OUR CAUSE. IT WAS TO BE AN INTERNAL DOCUMENT FOR OUR PEOPLES EYES ONLY AND NOT SOMETHING WE WERE GOING TO PROFIT FROM. EDGAR AND I ALWAYS THOUGHT OUR PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THEIR HISTORY, THE MEANING OF WHAT THIS ALL WAS ABOUT. UNFORTUNATELY WITH EDGAR’S UNTIMELY DEATH, OUR GOAL WAS NEVER MET, THAT MASSIVE PHOTO COLLECTION WAS PASSED OUT IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS WITH FAMILY MEMBERS AND NEVER PRESERVED THEY WAY IT SHOULD OF BEEN. IT WAS PROBABLY THE MOST COMPELLING DOCUMENTATION OF OUR HISTORY THAT ANY MEMBER OF THE ALKN HAS EVER HAD. IT WAS HIS PHOTO’S AND MY WORDS THAT WERE GOING TO PAINT A VIVID PICTURE AND EVERLASTING MEMORY OF WHERE, HOW & WHY THIS NATION WAS FORMED AND EXISTED. WE WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE WITH DEFUNTO DINO (R.I.P) A 300 PLUS PAGE MANIFESTO OF THE NATION THAT HE WROTE IN THE MID 70’S. HE ACTUALLY PUBLISHED ONLY A HANDFUL OF COPIES AND GAVE THEM TO HIS MOST RIGHTEOUS. TO THIS DAY THAT MANIFESTATION OF THE BEGINNING OF THIS NATION CANNOT BE TRACED TO ANYBODY EXCEPT HIS WIFE WHO DOES NOT WANT TO PART WITH IT FOR SENTIMENTAL REASONS WHICH IS SOMEWHAT UNDERSTANDABLE. AS I READ THIS SO CALLED LETTER FROM EDGAR, I KNOW IT IS NOT HIS WRITING. PROPAGANDA AT ITS FINEST. BELIEVE ME.

    THANKS FOR YOUR INTEREST IN THIS, IT IS AN INTERESTING TOPIC AT LEAST AND YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUTH AND NOT JUST SOME FRAUD THAT’S CIRCULATING AROUND THE WEB.

    Edgar’s Friend,
    Vic

    • Ron says:

      Hi Vic

      Thank you for your note regarding “Eggar’s Letter.” Since posting that letter I have received many notes from people who knew Edgar and wanted t comment on what the letter meant or didn’t mean to say.As a result of those letters I have been able to determine who the actual author was and where the majority of the piece was first published. It was published by a guy named Xavier (see one of the preceding notes under this heading on the website) and I have a photocopy of the first publication. I have also talked with Xavier and and confirmed his authorship. He is actually in the Chicago area too. in any case, Edgar seems to have kept the message, added a few lines at the end, and kept the reedited copy in his files, which is where I found it. Not much else there except some published articles on King history and a few pictures.That sort of matches up with what you were telling me in your note about the desire to write a history of the Kings. I appreciate your comments greatly as they help to fill in some deteails of Edgar’s life for myself, his friends, and for his family, many of whom read this blog.

      All that being true, I’d like to know more about you. When were you out on Spaulding with Edgar? Are you still there? Maybe we culd meet for a cup of coffee sometime and just talk. I’m wondering whether I ever met you, though I suspect you were around much later than when I was close with Edgar which was from 1970-73. if yu were there about 1998. 1999, or 2000, you might have known Shadow, a friend and colleague of Edgar’s? I know Shadow and talk with him rather often. Did you know Wop before he was killed? How about Tiny? I’m in contact with Tiny’s son too. How about Deadeye from Levitt and Schiller. I know him and see him fairly often too. Did you know any of the guys from over on Ashland, Michael Perez, Sonny, Cholo, or Lucky? How about Edgar’s brother Papo. I know Papo’s son. Or Edgar’s sons, Edgar junior and Carlos. I never met Carlos but held Edgar Jr. when he was a baby. I had some good talks with Edgar and Susan about that time and then got to see Edgar Jr, again three years ago in Austin, Texas. How about his son Anthony? Also has a younger son too that I met once.

      In any case, I hope you will stay in touch and that we have time to touch base on some of these things. If you want to talk more personally, you can reach me by e-mail at:
      rlg2@uchicago.edu .

      In His Grip,

      Ron

    • Eric Marrero says:

      Dear Vic first off let me beging by thanking you for all your hard work for a great number of yrs for this beloved cause. Amor! May the Almighty be with your family and you today and for ever.

      We have spoken on a couple of occassions during the initial publication of the book as well as the initial clothing line project. Obviously we lost contact. I would enjoy re establishing contact once more, I am currently working on some projects one being The Free The Mind Campaing 2014 Back To Basics. It is a great resource for the youth and elders. Please find the email below and at your convinience please reach out. It would be my honor to share with you the entire project and potential.

      ericmarrero@live.com

  11. Xavier McElrath-Bey says:

    Thanks Ron. As much as I thought to anounce my authorship of what was labled “Edgar’s Letter” I was still very hesitant because I understood the sentimental value which it had attained through the tragedy of Edgar’s life passing. He seems to be someone who was very beloved and I am happy, and even honored, that our lives connected through the mystery of my writing.

    Nevertheless, I can say that there were some sentences that he changed (as well as the ending, which he added) to convey a more personal message for someone he wanted to help change–perhaps one of his children, a friend or other family member. These are his words:

    “This isn’t going to change until we unite and let it be known that joining a gang will get you nowhere, I know this for a fact! I’ve served half of my life in and out of gangs.
    We need to talk.
    Yes, I want to talk to you! I want you to know I care about you and love you very much, you are my life. And I do not want to see you make the same mistake I did, or maybe one worse.
    Please don’t take your life for granted.”

    The rest of my writing, which he stopped where his words began, continued as follows:

    “Consider me as one of those lucky brothers that was able to cling to something before I was going to hit the surface (destruction). Even though I am still holding on and it will take a while before I reach the top of the cliff again, I am very lucky.

    But now I have made another vow that I would ever reak. That vow is to let everyone that is about to jump know that destruction lies ahead. And if they dont listen and jump anyways, I will try my hardest to convince them before they hit the bottom; so that maybe they can prevent their own destruction. And if I see a brother that needs help and he is a little far out away from the cliff I will reach out as far as I can to stop his fall.

    I want you to be a part of this struggle also. Youare still at the top of the cliff; you can still stop, and with a lot of effort you could help stop them.

    You see it’s kind of hard for me because I’m down here and not everyone can hear my words clearly. Also dont forget us that are still hanging on and fighting to overcome this dreadful destiny. If we all work together to perform one harmonious struggle we could beat this vicious cycle. Also, I want you to focus on your life and how you could be a successful person. Remember, the majority of the people up there (who are about to jump) are blind; dont let it rub off on you while you are trying to help them.”

    I wrote this piece (which I referred to as an allegory) in 1994 when I was locked up in Pontiac Correctional Center. It was published by a small, but powerful, magazine which sought to spread the hope of “peace in the hood”. Today they are still known as Bajito Onda, which is based in Texas…still standing for and empowering our people through art and writings

    At the time I was serving a 25 year sentence for a first degree murder case I caught in 1989. Just like Edgar I was a Latin King, but from the 51st Ada chapter on the southside. At the time I was 18 years old and in the process of liberating my mind from the struggle of wanting to remain a Latin King. Months earlier I had requested and was granted by the Nation the priviledge of moving on and no longer being an active member–in my heart I was, and still am till this very day, a true believer and follower of the “righteous teachings” of the ALKN, but I felt that my involvement with the Nation was going to destroy me. My next step would of been death row no doubt.

    I couldnt bare the prospect of hurting my love ones any further. Plus I had felt a spiritual calling, simular to what I could sense in the tone of Edgar’s words: to awaken my brothers to a more righteous path. I loved my Nation and was further inspired by our history and teachings, but the reality of it was that we were not living up to those ideals. We were destroying our community–especially in the 80s and 90s–through violence towards our own people, blinded by the need for recognition and respect. After 13 years of incarceration, and though I am completely unworthy, I can actually say that God has blessed me with a normal life. I continue to reach out to my brothers, and I still get the same love and respect as before. All of us oldschools are fortunate; now it’s time to help the shorties do something better.

    Although I do not know or remember Edgar personally, I am honored that he chose to express his love through the writing. I like to think it was like a favorate song that he felt in his heart and wanted to dedicate to someone he loved. Some can say that it was just some strange twist of fate that his life and my life made this connection; but I believe that it was God that made it possible.

    Thank you Ron for your care, honesty and integrity. I pry that God continues to fill you with the hope of positive change. You are a blessing.

    “Almighty Father….May Edgar rest in your care, and may he have found the peace and the freedom that he had sought”

    God Bless all of you.

    Xavier McElrath-Bey

  12. Eric Marrero says:

    It is now summer 2013. I have shared this letter in our Free The Mind Campaing 2014- ALKQN Back To Basics pg. The message left behind is clear, accurate and written to be understood by all ages and all races. Ron thanks for all your work and God bless the families of those that have fallen victims to oppression. Please teach one to teach one… Amor De Rey. God is King!

    Sincerly King Eric M. Global ALKQN.

  13. Tiffany says:

    Hey I’m Tiffany, Edgar’s granddaughter from his daughter Lisa. His letter is still so inspiring to me like it is words from beyond the grave. Whether he actually wrote them or not, I know that is exactly what he would want his family to know. I remember him as a very intellectual man and he loved to write (even though he would have me type his emails for him when he visited New York lol)

    He passed away when I was 13 so I did have some time to get to know the man he was and how he wanted his family to take different paths in life than he did. I am now 25, I have a bachelors degree and I’m trying to be successful. I hope I’m making you proud grandpa!!!

    Thanks to Ron and everyone supporting this website and spreading the good words. Much love and god bless you all! Rest in peace grandpa. We love you.

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