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Book cover of Transcending Gangs

Publisher: Hampton Press

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October, 2012
Book "Transcending Gangs"
Excerpts


Picture of Book - Transcending Gangs

Gracia, on Colors and Names - Dying for the
color red was not worth anything...

Eréndira, on
Tattoos — Actually,
right before I
went in, I got my
first tattoo...

Olga, on La Vida Loca —
I think at this point I was like,
I was just lost. I was just lost [begins crying]...

Margie, on Time
Served — I got locked up; I’ve been twelve times total in Juvenile Hall...

Florencia, on Mother’-
hood —I started getting
into drugs, and I got one
of my friends...

Lupe, on Betrayal—
I got hit... I got hit really hard... in... in my right... chest, so, I lost...




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Excerpts from the Book "Transcending Gangs"

Gracia, on Colors and Names — Dying for the color red was not worth anything, anything for no one, and that’s when I said, “Am I willing to lose one of my kids over this color? Red is not going to get me food on my table, food in my stomach, my children’s stomach, clothes on their backs, diapers.” Red wasn’t going to pay my rent, you know, the color red wasn’t going to get me a job and get me, you know, living the right life, and I kept thinking about, “All because I want to gang bang and claim the color red. Look at me now, look at the situation I’m in now.” And so, that’s where I really made up my mind. “Was it really worth it? Was being in gangs really worth it?” I wasn’t, you know, getting any younger, I was getting older, I had two children, is this the kind of life I really wanted to live? (p. 115)

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Eréndira, on Tattoos — Actually, right before I went in, I got my first tattoo. It was a “13” on my hand; those were the ones I just got covered . I got it because I said, “If I’m going to be Sureña, I want everybody to know.” I want them to know that I’m down and I’m going to do it. I got a one here [points to right wrist] and a three here [on the wrist]. Where else does it show most, if not on the hands? (p. 96)

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Olga, on La Vida Loca — I think at this point I was like, I was just lost. I was just lost [begins crying], I was sixteen and felt like it was the end of the world, you know. That I didn’t belong nowhere and all the people that were close to me had let me down somehow, or were taken away from me. I had a lot of anger, hurt, pain, a lot of things. […] So, I was in and out of my house, running away, staying here, staying there. If I had nowhere to stay, I’d stay at the airport, the San José airport, until they would kick us out. And then we had to take off walking, go by Zanker, go by Roswells, where the houses were, so we just kept on walking, until day came and then, “Let’s go to homeboy’s house, let’s go to homegirl’s house.” You know, that’s pretty much how I grew up.

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Margie, on Time Served — I got locked up; I’ve been twelve times total in Juvenile Hall. Fighting, drugs, stolen cars, robberies, assaults, different gang stuff. Right now the reason I don’t have a legit job is because I’m wanted in [another] county and have detectives from [another town] looking for me. I want to turn myself in, because I think it would be better that way, but at the moment, that’s not in my plan, to turn myself in yet. I’m not worried about what the sentence would be. I’ve been in institutions too long. Juvenile is like day care compared to prison. I still don’t like it. I don’t want to be locked up, but I know I’m going to have to be sometime, before I get cleared. (p. 150)

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Florencia, on Mother’hood — I started getting into drugs, and I got one of my friends, another girl, she was a really good friend of mine. . . . She introduced me to this guy who had just got out of prison, and he was twenty-five and I was thirteen. So that . . . I ended up being with him, he was my boyfriend, and everybody knew he was my boyfriend. That was like a big “theeng” when you’re a young girl like that, being with an older guy like that, all tattooed down, done prison time, he was from the neighborhood; that was like a big deal for a girl. You were looked at with more respect. Then I got pregnant. I had my first baby when I was fourteen, and she was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. He went back to prison and stayed in prison. Getting pregnant changed something inside me. I wanted to love my baby and be a mom to her and take care of her. And I thought that was going to change everything, but it actually got worse. I stayed clean my whole pregnancy. I didn’t do a whole lot of drugs before I got pregnant, but after I had my baby, I got really badly into drugs. But I’d take care of her, in my own way. (p. 158)

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Lupe, on Betrayal— I got hit . . . I got hit really hard . . . in . . . in my right . . . chest, so, I lost consciousness and I remember when I came clear of what was going on, regained consciousness, I was in the ambulance and I had been . . . I just remember that in the bathroom before I passed on, I was like holding myself and I could feel the gushing coming out like a warm sensation, but I really didn’t know that I had been stabbed. So when I was in the ambulance, all connected to all of the equipment, I was just wondering “What happened?” . . . and the guy that was stabbed along with me, he was also on the other side of the gurney, and he said, “We got stabbed.” He had been stabbed twelve times; I had been stabbed once in my right lung, it had punctured my lung. And that was kind of like a turning point in my life, when I realized that . . . I mean, being in emergency and ICU and wondering, “What happened?” and my parents were at my bedside, but they didn’t know, they had no idea. I mean, they knew we were involved but they didn’t know how serious this gang lifestyle was. (p. 190)

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