Archive for the ‘Latin Kings’ Category

Once known to his Latin King colleagues as “Shadow,” Alex shared a story similar to many gang members in Chicago, drugs, thuggery, and incarceration. Alex was a friend of Edgar Orsini whose searching letter is prominently published under the headings of this blog. Together, they witnessed every dark place the gang lifestyle has to offer. Then, after a falling out, they split. Several years later, however, Alex committed his life to Christ and everything changed. Now he’s going back out to find those he left behind. See his story at:

http://dangerouspotentialministries.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/returning-in-triumph/

Also, visit his ministry website (http://dangerouspotentialministries.wordpress.com) for more about the change that Alex has experienced in his life.

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I was in heading down Buffalo Avenue at 83rd street this afternoon when I received a bit of a jolt. I was taking some kids home from church and as I was driving down the street I noticed a child lying on the sidewalk. I wondered if something was wrong so I slowed down to see if I could help. Then I noticed that there was a second child kneeling next to the first one. In his hands was a piece of chalk and he was drawing the outlined profile of the first child, an outline that depicted the alignment of a body at a death scene. This is gang territory, Latin Kings to be precise. And while I know the neighborhood has faced its challenges, I was shocked and saddened to see the casualness with which death was viewed by these two young children. It’s a shame that death can be taken so lightly, when it’s made to be child’s play. Please pray for this neighborhood, for the people, the children, and the gang members. God never intended child’s play to be displayed in the chalked outline of a death scene. God has better things planned for Buffalo Avenue.

I’m still looking for guys from the early 70s. Does anyone out there know Sonny, Cholo, Albert, or Michael Perez from the Ashland/Bucktown Latin King section? If so, let me know how to reach them or have them contact me.

As many of you know, the first week in march is traditionally known among the Latin Kings as King Week. Its a time of celebrating the power, history, and lore of the ALKQN.  As I was thinking about this and talking to people I know in the Kings, I was reminded that the real author of power,  as well as  of freedom and basic human rights, is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. It’s to him that ALL power is given, that ALL respect is due. That’s because he took “the great violation” for all gangbangers when he was nailed to the Cross. When gangbangers talk about power, that talk contains only a small hint of what real power is all about. Let me give you a description of what real power looks like. In two passages of the Bible we get a description of God handing over power to his Son Jesus Christ, the one who will return to collect his own and to judge the rest of the world.

In the Old Testament we find the Prophet Daniel giving us this description of power being handed to Christ (Daniel 7: 9-10, 13-14):
9″As I looked, thrones were set in place,  and the Ancient of Days took his seat.  His clothing was as white as snow;  the hair of his head was white like wool.  His throne was flaming with fire,  and its wheels were all ablaze.  A river of fire was flowing,  coming out from before him.  Thousands upon thousands attended him;  ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.  The court was seated,  and the books were opened.

13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

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A similar portrayal of Christ is found in the New Testament (I Thessalonians 4: 16-17):

 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.

In both cases, we see Jesus as a coming king, the ruler of all things and the judge of all men. This is all made possible because Jesus was “violated,” not for what he did, but for what you did. Because he was blameless and took that “violation” for you, God has made him the sovereign king of all creation and the final judge of all men.  It doesn’t matter if you are ALKQN, NAACP, WASP, all of us must answer to Christ for the life we lived and ultimately answer the question, “How did you respond to my Son’s invitation to open your heart to My eternal plan of forgiveness?” For those who can respond that they accepted the grace of God, repented of their sins, and followed Christ, there is eternal life with the one who saved us from our sins. If our trust is in the nacion, the country, the President, or some organization, then we will have failed to put our trust in the right place and the cost is eternal separation from God. So, my brothers and sisters in the nacion, please spend some time this week reflection on what the Word of God, the Bible, has to say about God, love, truth, and forgiveness. Kingism is one of many philosophies that try to address the issue of man’s relationship to God, but only the Bible has the full truth of God’s love and of the King of Kings, the one who gave himself to not only set us free from sin and its results, but to give us the abundant life that God always planned for us to enjoy. This is all summed up in four short words, TRUST IN THE CROSS.

I want to give a shout-out to the friends of Edgar Orsini who still might live in the Humboldt Park area. As you know, I was friends with Edgar back in the early 70s when I worked at Teen Challenge. I’d like to talk to any of you who read this note. I know guys like Fro and Popeye are still in the hood, so I’d like to talk with you guys and I ‘d also like to know more about guys like Wop, Tiny, and Lil Joe, etc.  Anyone know anything about Michael Perez, Cholo, and Sonny from the Ashland Kings. I understand Lucky was killed. Shout at me when you get a chance. Answer me here or call me at 773.294.8849.

This article is about girls and gangs in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. It’s a year old but well worth reading:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/21/us/21cnclatina.html?_r=1

The Church in the Hood and the “Great Violation”

 

“Here (in Christ) there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian Scythian, slave or free (and we might add, no Latin Kings or Maniac Latin Disciples, no Vice Lords or Gangster Disciples, no Folks and no People), but Christ is all, and is in all.”

                                                                        ~Colossians 3:11

When God saves us, he does not intend for us to then get all warm and cozy in the confines of a four-walled building. The local church is the “hope of the world,” but not if its people settle themselves behind its walls and forget those left behind in the streets. The church is the people in action and the ”Church in the Hood” is the people of the hood retrieving those left in the streets of the hood. It’s G’s remembering G’s. It’s G’s for Jesus building the G’sus Nation in anticipation of Jesus’ return. We are saved to serve. As Paul the apostle writes in Ephesians 2:8-10:,

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

What does that mean for those who come to Christ in the Hood? In the first place, it means you are brought to salvation for a purpose and that purpose is not a nice fun-filled life of ease and privilege. Ask the early followers of Jesus who were killed by the scores as they went into their hood and proclaimed the salvation of Christ. Can we expect any more than what they experienced?  You are bought with a price and that price is the” Great Violation” of Jesus on the cross.

You all know what a violation is. It’s the beating of an individual to ascertain his/her worthiness, either for getting into, or for getting out of a set.   Jesus had to undergo a violation in order to secure his position as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. It secured, however, not only his position as the ultimate judge of mankind, but opened up the Almighty Heaven Set for you and I. It’s the violation you and I deserved but were spared from because Jesus stepped up and took it for us.  If he had not taken that violation, there would be no way that any of us could have earned our way into the Almighty Heaven Set. We could not be beaten long enough and we could not do nearly enough of anything to get in. We were just not good enough, tough enough, or strong enough to earn a spot in heaven. Jesus changed all that when he took on that violation for everything bad that you and I have done (and we both know that there is a lot of that in our lives).

You know that when someone is violated out of a set, members turn their back on that individual and he is basically dead to them.  When Jesus took on himself all of our wrongdoings, God turned his back on Jesus for a moment while Jesus was tortured and violated for you and me.  Yet, because of his sinless life, God raised him from the dead to become the master of all in recognition of his victory on the cross. This is the story of real power, and that same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to help you change and live a new more meaningful life. So, when you see the picture or the statue of a torn, battered Jesus nailed to a cross, look a little closer and you should see visions of yourself, battered and bruised on that cross. That’s the violation that YOU and I deserved, but Jesus, who had done no wrong and possessed no sin, came from his throne in Heaven to take on that suffering so that we could be brought into His set.  It’s not because of who you are or what you’ve done, but simply because he loves you as his creation. It’s a matter of God’s grace, or his undeserved love, that you have been admitted.

In the second place, this verse means that God saved us from the ultimate violation of eternal suffering and separation from Christ so that we would share the miraculous pathway into the Almighty Heaven Set with others.  He wants us to be out in the Hood, making our presence felt in a positive way, so that others might join us in this set. These are things that God has planned for you to do from before the earth was created, things that only you can do, so get with it.  That action may manifest itself in many different ways, but will ultimately  include taking the message that saved you to others in your hood, as well as those in other hoods, because if you don’t tell them, who will? Nothing fancy about it. You’re just telling them your story and how Jesus made a difference in your life. God’s spirit will do the rest.

Thirdly, sharing in the hood is not an easy thing to do. As I mentioned earlier, becoming a Christian doesn’t buy you a ticket to the cushy land of good life. Rather, it takes you to a life of challenge, sacrifice, and maybe even death.  Being a Christian is not a cushy separatist lifestyle where everything is neat and every experience comes up smelling like a rose. It’s a down to earth get dirty job that someone has to do. If you’re living the cushy “churchstyle” life, you may not be walking the true Christian walk that Jesus described when he said “take up your cross and follow me.” In the streets you talk about a “smile now cry later” kind of life, but as a Christian it should be a “cry now, smile later” life where the “later” is an eternity with Jesus in heaven. Life is not about “feeling good” but about service and sacrifice. The” now” is doing the dirty work, getting down to the nitty-gritty of life and making a difference in the streets where it’s not so nice, not so clean, and not very cushy. That’s where Jesus went and that’s where we should follow. Take the story of your experience with Jesus to other Kings, to other Disciples, to the Stones, to the Lynch Mob, to the Albany Orchestra, and, in fact, to anyone else who has ears. In short, that’s what Jesus asks you to do.

So the next time you read about or are involved in a gang violation, remember Christ and the cross and what that violation means to you. That was the Mother of all Violations and it opened the door to heaven for you and me. It actually opened the doors to the “Church in the Hood.” That church is not in a building or bound be four walls. It’s not a cushy place where people take refuge and hide from the world. Rather, it’s a community of people who understand the significance of what Jesus did for them and take that message to those both near and far, they take it to friends and they take it to those in opposition sets. God’s love is not bound by borders and boundaries, but transcends every hood and every set. The “Church in the Hood” represents the hands and feet of Jesus. It speaks on behalf of the risen Lord and loves with a passion that only God can give. YOU are the “Church in the Hood” and God asks you to go into that hood and be an example of what he can do in a G’s life. He asks you to stalk the streets and alleys of the hood in search of the lost and dying. He asks you to soothe the hurt of those in pain. He asks you to walk across the park to share Christ with the opposition before gang violence keeps him from the Kingdom of God.  You need to remember that in Christ, when you join the “Church in the Hood,” there is no opposition because we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.  We become ONE in Jesus. And because of that oneness, he wants you to follow him, wherever he may lead, even if it’s into opposition turf. You have a message to deliver, the message of God’s grace, the message of hope that you must now share with others who have no hope. Of course, its not easy, but in doing so, you will be building the “Church in the Hood” into the G’sus Nation and you will be preparing the way for Jesus to return and lay claim to all the Gs who have walked out of the hood and into Heaven. That’s a task worthy of eternity.

Music:  Gangstaz Pain by Preachas in the Hood

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9hm84LZkts

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.

Ashland and Cortez Latin Kings ca 1972. Lucky, Cholo, and Sonny

Ashland and Cortez (Bucktown) Latin Kings ca. 1972 no. 2

Ashland & Cortez (Bucktown) Latin Kings ca 1972 (no. 3)

 

Lucky’s demise is related in Chapter 37 (pp. 206 – 208) of  the book My Bloody Life by Reymundo Sanchez (Chicago Review Press, 2000).

An interesting story about a believer who has not left the gang.

http://www.christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=3663

An example of Latin King grafitti in Rodgers Park. The design is pro Latin King as it displays the 5 pointed crown and the use of the number 5 representative of the People Nation.  The P also stands for the People Nation. The grafitti disrespects the Disciples with the 6-pointed star of the Folks Nation “cracked” in half.

http://rogersparkbusiness.wordpress.com/2009/01/30/new-gang-graffiti-in-rogers-park/