April 15, 2015
In Blog News
This is my first time writing this way and I want readers to know my words are sincere, and they are solid. I grew up in south central Los Angeles in a public housing project called Imperial Courts.
With great fortune, our concrete apartment was located at the intersection of Grape Street and 114th Street. I went to school in an area where my classmates were from APB (Athens Park Bloods), WSPIRU (WestSide Piru), and B-13 (Mexican gang in our neighborhood).
I lived on the opposite end of the “gang spectrum.”
What makes those young days so cloudy for most men my age who grew up and somehow survived, was the friends we lost.
Imagine, as you grow through elementary school, your class size gets smaller by one or two students due to gang violence resulting in death.
I also remember how the police treated those teens just a little older than us, and we were told they, the police, were the good guys.
I will never forget one Easter, I was around 6 or 7, and my mom was pulled over by the police, and the police made us get out of the car, and made my mom sit on the curb. The police then ordered me to sit on the curb as well.
So this Easter Sunday, I had on a white suit my mom had bought for me, and it was made black in certain areas cause I was ordered to sit on the curb.
This was my first encounter with police officers, so I have always tried to avoid situations where I have to interact with them.
I remember the first time I saw an Uzi, I could feel the comfort it would bring, but I could sense the danger it would attract.
I never joined a gang, never had a tattoo, piercing, or anything like that, cause at the time, it gave the police a reason to stop you.
I had my first gun pulled on me by a cop at the age of 19, during a traffic stop.
Now, I am 36 years old, 6’4”, a Leo, who made it through the worst place, of the worst place that south central had to offer.
I have been pulled over at least 20 times and I have never been given anything but a seat-belt ticket, and a speeding ticket, less than 10 miles over. This is why the energy of the riots regarding Rodney King was so over the top.
Each time I have been pulled over, I was provoked, talked to as if less than human, and even hit in the face by police officers.
It’s just somewhat fortunate that I grew up where I did, cause cops don’t scare me.
Those of us born between 1977 and 1991 are in peril cause in south central L.A., where I grew up in the Watts housing projects, there was a war, Bloods against Crips, cops against Bloods and Crips, and the Crips against the cops.
I used to get my haircut in the alley walkways by hardened gang-bangers and what I call “down-for-whatever” brothers.
So to see all of the police activities recently, and even in the past up until now, to me is history repeating itself, and it seems a bullet from a cop’s gun has taken the place of a rope around the neck.
Men like me need mentors. Like male elephants that misbehave cause there is no wise older elephant to teach the ways of being an elephant. I am one of those young male elephants.