Interview by Rebecca Crocker
Thursday, May 18, 2000
"I'm 17 years old and I've been in here four times. First it was because of residential burglary when I was 13 or 14, and after that just violating probation. Next they're sending me to Youth Authority.
"I live with my grandma on the east side. I'm a sophomore at Alvarez. I like school, the girls, the friends, being around people. Classes are frustrating, but I like PE and reading. I'm reading the Old Testament, it's really interesting how it used to be compared to how it is now.
"My grandma was upset when I got in here because she expected more from me. I guess I let her down or something. I wasn't all that upset, it hurts me more that people out there are hurting because of me. I started hanging around with the gang when I was 13 or 14. I've been surrounded by them all my life, that's all I saw.
"I tried changing, doing sports, regular things, but it's kinda hard. When you're used to being this way, when you try a different way it's weird. I enjoyed the other stuff. The young kids coming up need to be given something to do. When you have older friends, they just start inviting you to parties and you build a closer relationship with them.
"I want to retire from gang life. I think you have to start by making new friends. It's gonna be kinda difficult when I get out because they're just sending me back to the same environment. I can get a high school diploma, but a diploma ain't shit.
"In the future, I'd like to be a gang counselor or work here in the hall. I'd like to give kids advice about it, because there's a lot of people that supposedly know about gangs but they really never been through it.
"I think I'll get out because I like everything about myself, I have a real good head on my shoulders."