A student of mine, who came to this school just last week, just said something as she was walking out the door. I just had her and another student in my class so we'd been talking about everything from clothes to pregnancy (one girl just found out she wasn't, phew).

The girl said, "I ain't gonna lie, my whole family is in gangs."

"Are you?" I asked?

"I'm not about to get killed over a color."

I'm so proud of her for that simple comment. She said some people in her family got mad at her when she said that to them. I congratulated her on using her brain as she left for another class. Two of my favorite students are pretty hardcore gang members. One of them told actually told me about how he was involved in a shooting. Some rival gang members were at his cousins house, so he and 5 other guys went and showed them what was up. When I asked if anyone got hurt he said "No." There was a pause, "Well none of us." He's a good, very bright young man, but he's caught up in a gang. My other one, I'll never forget him for my whole life. He watches National Geographic and the History Chanel, and he irons his pants. His mom moved him to a different part of the city so he wouldn't be in the thick of the gang. Just because he moved doesn't mean he gets to be out. He still has to wear the colors and be a part. Not doing so could get his family hurt. He's the man of the house, which is probably how he got involved in the first place. So many of my students are in or have family members who are in gangs. It's a life I don't understand, well, I get the actuality of it, but I don't get the mentality of it. It's a lot bigger than I thought it was, but it's still rather insignificant - unless you're in the middle of it.

My girl who left summed up the mentality of it...when it comes down to it, it's about what color you're wearing.

1 comment:

  1. It's so sad to me that kids turn to gangs- if only they knew how much harder it makes their life! In Las Vegas there were so many gangs- it made me so sad, so many do it for protection for themselves and family members- but in the end it makes it worse. Hopefully the kids you know will make a change, sounds like they are really great kids who just need a little direction.



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