Conflict Resolution – Positive Models for Change
Film Series Produced By David Gilbert
Streets On Fire
This program is a moving first hand account of Latino youth, (both current and x-gang members from Norteno and Sureno gangs), speaking out about their lives living on the front edge of todayÕs society. In and out of a world of drugs, gangs and violence, they candidly talk about the pain and futility of life in the gangs and the difficulty of breaking out.
Interwoven throughout this production are candid and poignant statements by nationally recognized gang prevention leaders, community activists and youth leaders taking bold steps forward to stop the killing and search for new solutions to end the cycle of violence. These individuals open a window into the possibilities for change and offer deeper insight into the inner workings of these young people, their struggle, and the complex configuration that leads them adrift from their traditional values and culture. Their messages bring forward the spirit of hope and struggle as they move forward in their schools and communities to create change.
The young people interviewed in this program reach back into their ancient past and common cultural heritage through the creation of a mural reflecting the Meso-American culture as it has unfolded over the last 2,500 years.
“Sometimes we can’t change the community we are living in but we can change the environment we reside in within our own selves.” Yerrmo Aranda (Muralist)
“The way I see it: if you are a youth, you’re out there, you’re getting pressured, you don’t know what to do. Stop, think, make sure that whatever you do is the right decision before you get into something that you are going to regret for the rest of your life.” Maggie, Youth Leader, 18 years old
“We get caught in this cycle (in the family), we believe in prison and it makes you callous…. it is not true, if their minds can be made aware that they can change their destiny.. they don’t have to end up in prison. They can change it… they have to make that decision. Now to find a purpose or reason… how do we help them to find that reason to stay out of that cycle… cycle of ending up in prison. Cycle of attacking each other, destroying each other, instead help each other build a community like we used to.”Yerrmo Aranda
“This is a spiritual movement were trying to save a young generation that is being lost out there to drugs and the violence out in the streets. Our neighborhoods are hurting and we need to heal the pain of those young people and the parents that have lost young lives to the madness that is happening out there.” Nane Alejandrez: Barrios Unidos (National Coalition To End Gang Violence)
“I think for us who are from Mexican/Indian, indigenous background we can look in that direction and see a lot of things that give us pride and dignity. We don’t have to involve ourselves in things that are negative and destructive, but maybe begin to lend a hand to others that need a helping hand.. Those within our neighborhoods, in our schools” Yerrmo Aranda
Speaking Out for Change
This program was designed as a tool in which young people, both current and ex- gang members, can speak directly to other youth about the impact gang involvement has had on their lives. Their comments are moving and insightful reflections of the difficulties, pain and hardship they encountered while in gangs.
These youth speak out about:
The impact their involvement with the gang had on their family members
The paranoia and fear of always thinking about their enemy
Their exposure to AIDS from needle sharing
Drugs and violence
Going to juvenile hall and prison
The pressure from older gang members
Breaking out of the gang
Returning to one’s raza and family
These young people have taken an affirmative position to speak out against gang involvement and help other youth at risk by communicating to them about where this path leads.
“You shouldn’t get into a gang, it’s painful, like if they shoot you or stab you your mother will be crying – your gonna be gone. You only have one chance at life – one time.” Boy, 11 years old
The Path to Empowerment
Luis Rodriquez, author of Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.
Luis is an author, poet, journalist and nationally renowned speaker. In this interview Luis candidly discuses his personal life story and the experiences with his own family that lead him on a path to healing and transforming his life. He offers insight into the deeper issues that affect many young people today and the path to re-empowering the youth and channeling the warrior energy into positive creative directions.
In this interview Luis presents a penetrating and insightful look into the roots of anger, the layers of oppression over the last 500 years, borders breaking down, and the struggle to move forward and recreate balance. Louis expresses the positive vision for the future he is moving forward with in his life and work. A future in which there is a renewed since of compassion brought back into our relationships and communities. Where we come together to work in positive ways to help the young people.