Archive for the ‘School and the Gang Life’ Category

Check out these two Gang Intervention videos with Xavier McElrath-Bey and Steve Wilkos. There’s a lot of wisdom in these two videos and they are really worth viewing, especially if you’re considering the possibility of joining a gang

Gang Intervention 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rd-eEXpGHZA

Gang Intervention 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_WlW2vXALc&feature

Several informative books on Chicago gangs can be found at:

http://www.ngcrc.com/ngcrc/page4.htm

An inspiring article about one family and the intersection of gangs and sports in Compton’s Dominguez HS, Los Angeles. See more at:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1192636/1/index.htm.

Read more about the potential dangers and certain sadness of family life when you’re affiliated:

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/street-gang-articles/life-gang-related-story/

Gangs: This is not a way of life

I came from a very close knit family.I am an only child,so it was always just me, my mom and my dad.My father was an alcoholic or another term a functioning drunk.I grew up in a neighborhood that was low class and was known as gang territory.My grandparents were Pachuco’s, so I grew up knowing about the life.My father was mexican and my mother is white.

In school I gained alot of popularity because I had blond hair and blue eyes,but I’m Latin and speak spanish.I started “just hanging” around gang members when I was 8 years old.I quickly started feeling like a little family,which I was not feeling at home,so that felt real good.By the age of 10 I went to my first party with gang members.I liked how much fun I was having hanging out with my new “family” and in the mean while telling my parents I was with friends from school.

At the age of 11 I got jumped into the gang.I was jumped for 2 minutes by four 16 year old guys from my gang.At the age of 11,I took one hell of a beating.I told my mom that I got in a fight at school.So now I was in the gang.”What does that really mean?” I thought that night.All fun and parties all the time?Feeling accepted and wanted all the time?People not hurting me anymore because I now have new respect?

Boy was I WRONG!At the age of 12 I did my first drive by.Here I am as scared as can be in a car full of gang members (like me)going to do a drive by.That same year I had 5 homeboys die.Thats when my grades in school started going down.My mom would ask what was going on with me.I kept explaining nothing.I was an undercover gang member to my parents.I blinded them with this good girlie act.My mom would say that I was dressing and looking like a “chola.”I kept reassuring her that I was just dressing like one,cause I like the style.My parents didn’t want to admit that there little girl could be in a gang.

When I was 14 years old I was stabbed in the leg by a rival gang.So I thought thats all right because I “took one” for my neighborhood…(yeah right!)I used to kick back in my neighborhood drinking 40′s of beer and smoking weed.Thought that was the life.All my friends were getting pregnant and having kids at 11,12,13 etc…By the time I was 18 years old I had 7 miscarriages.I can’t tell you how many time I heard the words “Oh baby I love you,Its me and you forever.” I swear I thought every guy I was with was the one and it was going to last forever.I learned real quick Guys will tell you ANYTHING to get what they want.I had my closest homegirls sleep with my man behind my back.(Good friends huh?)

By the time I was 18 I had lost 46 friends to gang violence.Thats one hell of alot of funerals to go to and alot of innocent families to look into there eyes and say sorry,when down deep inside they are cussing you out because they feel that you are just some gang member that helped him get in that casket.As the the casket is lowered in the ground all your homies are talking about revenge.When I was 19 I was cruising with my homies.There was six of us in the car.Four guys and two girls.I was sitting in the front in between two guys.We were at a stop light.A rival gang drove up on us and shot at us.The guy that was driving was hit in the head and the bullet came out the other side of his head and ricocheted of my head.His brains were splattered all over me.Knowing that one of my closest friends had just died and I had his brains on me I was rushed to the hospital.Thank GOD I was alright.That was another funeral and another loss.

After that I was shot at about a dozen times more.Then when I was 20 I was arrested for homicide.I had no idea what the police were talking about.I sat in a cell thinking after all these years of doing bad that I was getting busted for something I really had no idea about.By the Grace of God,they found out that they had the wrong person.I was never so scared in my life.I thought being stabbed and shot that was bad.I even thought having all these tatoo’s all over my body was bad or the fact that I could have died,but going to jail for something I didn’t do for the rest of my life.So I prayed and prayed.The Lord heard my prayers.After that I thought I owe this to God that I am alive.I owe it to myself and my loved ones to stay alive.

At 21 I decided that I had enough.So one night I was kicking back in my neighborhood.There was about 50 of us that night.I told them I wanted out.I said if you want to jump me out then thats fine,but I want out.I went and talk to one of the Veteranos (older homeboys).They said “You did yours for the neighborhood and you can just walk out with respect because we have repsect for you.”As I was getting ready to leave and saying bye to everyone,knowing that I was still going to see everyone here and there just not kick it anymore.The police rolled up and I thought “I guess one last time.”So there I was on the floor, on my knees, hands behind my head and an officer behind me with a 12 gauge shot gun to the back of my head.After checking everything out they were letting us all go.

These cops who ran the gang unit knew be by name.That night I told them that I was out of the scene.They congratulated and even gave me hugs.Then asked if I needed a ride home.That was the first time I was in a police car without hand cuffs on.My father died that year.I have since became close with my mother and told her all about my undercover life that her and my father only feared but didn’t know about.I think of all the sleepless nights I kept my mother awake wondering if I was dead or alive.I think of all the years I probably took off my mothers life stressing over me.I think HOW could I have done this to her.My mother,my real family.

I saw alot of friends die for my neighborhood,but what does a neighborhood do for you?

You claim a street or hood that you will NEVER own.You pay rent for a neighborhood that will NEVER be yours.I think now about all the funerals where everyone said they would die for there homie,but you know I never seen anyone jump on the casket and go in the ditch with them.When you take a life or have one taken from you,it affects more then just you.There are people that love and will miss and grieve too.Its affects EVERYONE around you.What people don’t understand is that once a life is gone…thats it! NO second chance! Life is only one time.

If you are a gang member PLEASE take it from me there is a REAL life out there.You just have to be strong enough to take a chance and walk away before it is too late.Life is too short anyways…then to let be even shortened by doing time in prison or being dead.If you live a real Gangsters life that is the only two ways out, prison or death.There are so many other things out there in life for you.

If you don’t care enough about yourselves to get out STOP being SELFISH and think about all the loved ones you will leave behind.How will they handle life without a husband, wife, brother, sister, daughter, son, mother, father. Pictures, memories and a cemetary is all they will have left. PLEASE think about it!!!

You can find this article and more at:

http://www.streetgangstyle.com/street_gangs/street-gang-articles/gangs-life/

Gang Outreach Education Strategies and Training.

Joseph “Pepe” Montenegro
M.S., Founder

Pepe came from a life of adolescent drug use, gang membership and eventually dropped out of high school. When a terrible turn of events took place he entered a drug rehabilitation program and after 9 months graduated from the program. While in the program he heard the message of hope in Jesus Christ. Upon accepting Christ, he left the gang and drug lifestyle and dropped back in to high school. He graduated from high school and went on to earn his Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from Vanguard University of Southern California. He is an at-risk youth counselor, parent educator and mentor program coordinator for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District as well as a volunteer for both the Orange County Juvenile Hall and the California Youth Authority in Chino. Find more at:

http://www.goest.org/Home.html

Dismanling Racism by Joseph Barndt, Author.  Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Books, 1991.Here is a book about racism in America, written “for white people and about white people . . . by a white person.”Joseph Barndt, defining racism as “prejudice plus power,” asserts that efforts against racism have often been incorrectly focused on minority populations rather than the majority. “The cause of racism is in the white society. The effects are felt in the communities of color,” he writes. Rather than attempting to soften the effects, we need to attack the cause.

The book examines individual, institutional, and cultural racism, and includes a section on racism and the church—with particular attention to the European American traditions inherited by white congregations, which Barndt refers to provocatively as a contemporary “circumcision crowd.” The author asks congregations to incorporate multicultural aspects in its worship before the congregation becomes multicultural and to work to achieve a pluralistic, not racist, witness to the world.

and consider that…

 “At the center of the Christian faith is the reminder that the time is
always right to do the right thing,” Turner said. “The church can and must
provide moral leadership that helps move the world’s nations into people of
transformation. The church has the capacity to transform itself to be an
agent of change, but this only happens when the church is engaged in the
struggle for justice.”

                                                                                                            -Rev. Otis Turner, 1996

 

Findings From the Evaluation of OJJDP’s Gang Reduction Program can be found at:

http://www.ojjdp.gov/publications/PubAbstract.asp?pubi=252138

  Gangs 101: Understanding the Culture of Youth Violence

by Henry Pachero

This is a new publication designed to help the service provider gain a better understanding of the gang culture they are facing and suggests ways of being more effectual in their outreach to those who make up the gang culture. Written by a long-time gang specialist, this publications is both insightful and readable.  Henry Pachero provides us who are on the front lines with an eminently useful resource. Download the publication at:

http://gangs.umd.edu/Downloads/Prevention/Gangs%20101%20-%20Understanding%20the%20Culture%20of%20Youth%20Violence.pdf

Gang Prevention: An Overview of Research and Programs

 http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/231116.pdf

The Open Table provides an interesting model for helping to restore individuals and communities and could have specific applications for turning around the lives of gang members in those communities. Find their site at:

http://theopentable.org/

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.”

Reymondo Sanchez
former Latin King gang member
Pp. 285-286 in Once a King Always a King
Sanchez is also author of My Bloody Life.

A useful tool:

http://www.sanantonio.gov/sapd/pdf/awareness.pdf

See who the guys in the hood are representing:

http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local-beat/Sports-Colors-Say-More-Than-You-Think-99297664.html

Esperanza initiated Communities United to Empower Youth (CUEY), a program that serves over 30 percent of all Latino youth in Philadelphia. The program’s priorities are the prevention of gang activity, reducing youth violence, child abuse, and neglect.

http://www.esperanza.us/site/c.inKOIPNhEiG/b.5510123/apps/s/content.asp?ct=7555305