Hey everyone we are a group of 5 from the Fashion department. We are as followed Eba Weber, Margo Hinshaw Natale Trott, Sara Um, and Megan Hallo and our mentor form Homeboy Industries Louis. Our goal is to make graphics incorpurating our mentor's poetry and printing them on shirts, T-shirt, Hoodies, pants, hats, and shoes. We will be doing this by reading and inturpreting Louis' poetry and thinking of ways to place our graphics in both traditional and non-traditional ways. For example, taking a poem that has to deal with the emotions of the heart and placing the graphic over the heart or on the inside of a shirt against the heart. We were also thinking of placements such as in the lining, inside the hood of a hoodie, along the hem a shirt, or on the inside of a waist band. We also plan to make our graphics based of the images we take on our field trips. We hope to create more so look to our page for updates and new information.
For our project geared towards fashion and the written word we combined two art worlds into one. This project is important to us because we see fashion as more than just something that's shallow and superficial. We created interesting placements on garments for Luis', our homeboy, voice to be heard through his poetry. Placements of graphics on garments are important because they can become the focal point of your garment. Fashion can be used as an expression of your identity. Designing the placements with keeping the poetry in mind, we placed the graphics in a way that was new and inventive, but making sure it was logical, not over powering and distracting.
Throughout time people have worn clothing to be part of a certain society. Fashion creates our identity. During our learning experience at Otis we have taken the Homeboy class to understand a society that most of us don't know or relate to. During this class we listen to the "homeboy" and "homegirl" experiences that they have had in their troublesome past. Through their poetry they express their past experiences and how they try to get over the pain that they have endured. We learn that majority of the "homies" joined the gang life to replace the family that they didn't' have. When they decide to remove themselves from the gang, they feel like they are trying to get away from their family. In this class we meet "homeboys" and "homegirls" to learn about their experiences of gang life expressed through their poetry and what they wear. Fashion is the most popular form of art because we see it everyday all around us, messages are being advertised. These messages are meant to be decoded. In collaborating with the artists of homeboy industries for this project, we hope to combine our art style with theirs to get homeboys message out to the public.
Response Paper to Dr. Barnes' Lectur
My reaction to Doctor Barnes's lecture was how people deal with post-dramaticstress to extreme circumstances. People shared there own experiences in the environment that he created. I also learned that a person has limits and that people need to learn what they are by exploring their possibilities. There no reason why we should break ourselves and must be a say that is good enough and walk away till we can improve whatever we did later in time. Lastly I also learned that a little faith goes a long way. He didn't just bring up having faith in God but to also having faith in ourselves to better ourselves as human beings.
In class Doctor began he lecture with asking the question, "has anyone witnessed a drive by or been in a drive and have lost some one or been shot?" He also asked has anyone lost someone to any other accidents, sicknesses, etc. ?" How did any of this made you feel? " At first people seemed to be afraid to raise their hands. After one person began to share their experience people then felt that they were in a safe environment and seem to be more comfortable to open up. Each person's story was different but all felt that they could of done something different to change the outcome. Also there was those that knew that their choices caused the effect of the outcome. Everyone's story change their lives and made them look at life in a different way. People deal with their pots-stress in different ways and allows them to look at life in a hole other way. Some change for the food and some are affected in a more dramatic way.
My experience is when my father passed away when I was twelve years old. At the time I was transitioning between schools. His death was very sudden and unexpected. I didn't even know he was on a trip. At time when I needed to talk about it I tried but my friend would just dismiss me and I felt very lost and alone. At some times I also felt that I was not a normal child because I only had one parent. I also felt that God didn't think I deserved to have a father and that it was unfair and didn't want to believe in God any more. Also that her took him away from me without letting me say good bye . Once I got to high school I held a lot of anger inside. Once I started high school I had stopped dancing because that was one of my dad's favorite thing to see me do. I found painting to be my therapy that opened my emotions and help me get the anger and despair out and that was the only way someone could understand how I felt inside. At this point I was able to see how this situation had a lesson. It was that life is sort and that I should cherish every moment with no regrets. I was able to find faith in a higher being and be at peace with what happened and that my father was meant for a higher purpose. The final step I took was to spread some of his ashes. I went to India in my senior year and stayed in an Ashram. They mad a small ceremony for me in the Ganges River. There was an overwhelming feeling of release. I was also taught that I was a strong person and that if I could get through this I could get through anything.
Doctor Branes wanted to let us know that no matter the what has happened that there is someone there to help us get through what ever it might be. We have to be willing to reach out and ask for help when needed. We cannot get help if we don't ask or let anyone know what is going on. Being able to talk to someone allows you to re-evaluate you situation because you can have a dialogue with someone else rather than yourself and to get someone else's opinion. A lot of times we blame ourselves and beat ourselves for what happened. There's is no need to do this and being able to step back and re-evaluate what has really happened and life happens and that we have to let it happen and we have to learn to be peace with the outcome.
Second what I got out of this lecture was that people have to learn about personal limits. It is hard to really know how far one can push yourself. Life allows us to learn about ourselves over time. We will continue to push ourselves to the point of breaking and then some. There is no need for this because we can push ourselves into sickness and mental issues. For example, not thinking what we do or who we are not good enough. We all have to learn to be able to know when to stop and say that is enough and to be able to accept what we do is enough. There is always room to improve ourselves but that comes over time and with experience. This is the ability to know when it is good enough. To keep improving ourselves is important because it keeps us innovative and re-inventing ourselves only makes us us stronger and a better person. If we work hard and put love into whatever we do will show and people will be able to see it.
Im my experience for example at school in the Fashion department I constantly find myself going beyond my limits. When I am up to the early hours of the morning I always ask myself why the hell am I doing this to myself? I always feel that no matter how much work I do it is never not enough. I drive to school half asleep endangering myself and others because that amount and the level of work that is required never ends. I am so stressed that I feel even though I do the work there is no point. This is because I am so tired and crazed that I just want to get it done and not really getting anything out of the work. I am in school to learn and better myself and to to just do. Yes in life out of school is just demanding but there is more room to be able to separate yourself from your work and say that's it, you either like it our you don't. If your don't I will try again to make it right . Ever person makes mistakes and that is what makes us human. Just doing the work does nothing for you or others that would benefit from it. Love for what you do should always be part of your drive to get your work done or whatever you do and be apparent in it. Being able to establish limits also applies to other aspects of your life. For example, dealing with my father's death I eventually subconsciously and concisely said I cannot handle how I feel and I need to change and find new ways to become peaceful with what happened. A lot of times it does take being pushed too far and learning form mistakes but that is what really allows to draw limits for the next time.
Third what I learned was that a little faith goes long way. He didn't just talk about having faith in God. This is because faith also has to deal with how you can believe in yourself. This is because without believing in yourself first you can't believe in anything else. People often search out other forms to have faith to help them get through their lives. This also tie back to know where your limits are. Believing in that if you put your hole heart in whatever you do is good enough. The idea of God is also more of a symbol a faith. Their are many forms of belief therefore what one person perceives in a high being allows for each person to define their own faith. In the end it is you and God's relationship and that is what counts. Sometimes people will also need to find faith in others so that they can belong to a group that has also gone through the same things. Also putting faith in others help you create a support system that can help you get through whatever you need them for. There is no need to be alone and not ask for help. There are many ways to find help you just have to believe in them to help you.
In my experience with loosing my father I really began to question my faith. I wanted to not believe in the image of God that I had at the time. During that time of my life i really felt blank and didn't have even faith in myself. I was very young and at a point of change of life. My world was turned upside down and did not even know who I was. Later on when I found the ability to let out my emotions I was able to open my mind and find new ways to redefine my faith. For example, I began to study other faiths and also study more of the faith that I once believed in. I read books, went to different services, and traveled. From this was able to create my own belief system and redefine my image the symbol of God. By doing this I was able to know better about myself and be able to believe in who I am.
In conclusion I felt that Doctor Barnes' speech was very open ended. This is because I feel that he was there to let us know that are always options to find help and believe in yourself. We were suppose to take what he gave us and make his advice fit in our lives. There is no need to keep emotions of post-dramatic stress bottle inside because in the end it will only harm us more. We know ourselves the best and we can only know where our limits are. Once we learn them we will be able to say that's good enough and be happy with what we do.
Wow, I thought to myself. An alarming number of my peers in this class have been affected by a traumatic experience of being a witness to a violent unexpected death. So often we only think these things exist on TV or in the news. It really hit home for me as Otis school counselor, Dr. Barnes, went around the room listening to the stories of these things actually happening to people I know, my peers, and people like myself.
One thing all of these stories had in common was that each person was greatly effected after their experiences, some more than others, and it changed the way they looked a things forever after. Many of them felt a sense of guilt for being a survivor and felt their was something more they could have done. Some wished it were they instead.
After everyone had a chance to share his or her personal storey to the class Dr.Barnes asked a question that made everyone stop and think for a second. He asked, why did this happen to them and not you? Do to the fact that I didn’t have an experience nearly as important as these; I didn’t feel the right to answer this. I think a lot of people felt similarly in that the answer lead to fate. The reason you missed death by a hair was because God didn’t think your job here was done on earth. I think religion and God is a touchy subject to most people and so everyone hesitated to answer this question honestly.
Sure enough, Dr.Barnes said out loud what everyone was sort of afraid to say. It came across as a sort of harsh answer it wasn’t meant to be you. It wasn’t your time to go. He was implying that God, or the universe, however you want to think of it, has a plan and a purpose for us to be here. When its time for us to go well go and it really doesn’t matter how we are taken out. This statement was hard for us to take because it does matter how people are taken out because it affects their loved ones differently. But Dr.Barnes assured us that he meant when the person who died is dead their not hurting anymore and I doesn’t matter to them how they died. The point is that you can’t bring them back. Life goes on and so will everybody else so you have to accept death. Death is real and it’s a guarantee that it will happen to everyone just a different way and a different time.
How do we deal with death and accept such a horrible reality? As artists, everyone puts these experiences into their work, as a sort of tribute to their deceased loved one. Many people for an example have body art or tattoos and show the memory through the pain they endure on their body.
Dr.Barnes went on to ask how do these traumatic experiences affect your artwork. A friend of mine had shared a violent storey he was a witness to but expressed how it didn’t really have any dramatic effect on him in all honesty. I said to myself wait a minute; my art is affected by my everyday experiences not just the traumatic ones. My art means no less than theirs just because mine was not a result of a traumatic experience, just as my life means no less than theirs. This is where I raised my hand and said, “I don’t think it necessarily has to be a traumatic experience that shows up in your art work. My art is I. Its who I am and so a combination of all my experiences.”
Dr.Barnes agreed that the experience doesn’t have to be traumatic and went on to ask me for an example of how these everyday experiences show up in or affect my art style. On the spot I couldn’t come up with anything, but then I thought about it. My art is my dance, fashion, and illustration. Then I went through each on and how they changed according to my mood. In fashion, the clothes I wear sort of dictate my mood for that day or visa versa. For an example, When I break u with a boyfriend and decide to reject boys for a while I dress really androgynies. I usually wear darker and less revealing clothes that boys wouldn’t be attracted o or would think f as being weird. This is me expressing my lack of interest in boys at the time.
My art of dance is probably the area I excel most in and so the area where I get the most expression out. I love dancing to upbeat music and feeling sexy but when I’m feeling sad about something I like to get my emotions out through modern dance. It’s slower and more foreign and awkward. The style of modern that I gravitate towards in these times Its not so attractive, familiar, or expected and so the reason I think it actually is more interesting to watch. It really helps me get in zone where I leave my life for a second and yet at the same tie address the issue head on. I feel much better after and fee a weird sense of independence and freedom from the problem at hand.
In painting and sculpture art my mood is expressed similarly. It just get more dark and awkward and foreign the more depressed I am at the time It is me separating myself from people around me and trying to win back the feeling of being strong and independent and happy on my own and with myself.
The issue that Dr.Barnes addressed really made me think. In the beginning I thought it didn’t relate to me since I had not shared a traumatic experience like everyone else’s.
Barnes compared life to Gods play, or soap opera. Every character has a purpose and has an entrance and an exit. Eventually there has to be a new cast. God is the creator; the director and we are his puppet or his tools here for a specific reason. I agree with this. Dr.Barnes presentation was very inspiring I wrote down many of his quotes from the speech. If you don’t do what you were set into this world to do it will make you sick. God gave us our talents to effect, help, and inspire others. A persons gifts will make room for them in the world. Barnes went on to say to have a dream team and make sure your on it and make sure God is the CEO. If you have a plan to better the world he will come along side you and make it happen. Along the way there will be ties when you even doubt your dream, but go ahead and believe it anyway. Don’t let anyone tell you who you are. Do everything you can to manage your stress because stress will threaten your dream. People tend to procrastinate because they think their works not good enough so they miss their deadlines and then say, “If I just had more time”. For this reason Dr.Barnes asked us NOT to be perfect but be good enough. Give it the best you can give it and then say, I did my best and now I am handing it in. For artists as professor Flores pointed out it is hard to be done with a piece of work because its not like writing where you can say everything you have to say and be done with it. Language and writing can be a complete thought. Art, on the other hand, is very suggestive and leaves room for each individual to determine and complete on their own. That’s also what I realized is the beauty of art. We can put it our feelings out there and at the same time let everyone else use it to the purpose that best suits their situation. It is important for us to then use our experiences that effect us and put it into our artwork to share with the world.
Reaction To Fred Barnes
I wasn't in class the day that Fred Barnes gave his speech about death. I talked to people about what he did talk about and how other people in the class reacted to death.
I know that the homeboys talked about drive bys and how they've had to watch their friends die in front of them, not just in drive bys either. I luckily have never experienced witnessing a drive by. My friends have seen their homies and neighbors being killed by a drive by. Hearing how a person feels after seeing death like this happen is indescribable. If I had witnessed one I would feel the same. Having someone's life taken from you in a split second powered by some sort of rage from another person that may not even know the victim, is as if that rage is going through you like a bullet.
For me I have had grandparents die. This is the closest I have been to witness death. Some of these deaths were surprising and others were more "waiting." The death that occurred that was so sudden would be the only way that I could ever relate to these drive bys at all.
Having little faith and posttraumatic stress are occurrences or thoughts that occur when death happens to a person. When the death of my grandma occurred I did have little faith, in general, in everything. I feel that at this point in my life that I became less religious and really started to think otherwise about my faiths. I feel like this didn't have everything to do with the death of my grandma, but also growing up in general. My friends that have witnessed the deaths of people being shot in front of them have mixed emotions about faith. I feel that their lack of faith isn't in religion, but rather in people. They have lost faith and trust in other people and society as a whole.
When hearing Louis story on the field trip to Boyle Heights, and his reaction to how he dealt with the death of his homie, was one that I had heard so many times before from my friends. Police had taken over "turf�", to start something that ended in an accidental death. When hearing this story it makes me think that people have lost faith over time because we have all heard, "it was time for him/her to go." With an accidental death or a drive by, these deaths are not taken by God but by another person. Having a person so close to you taken by another person has a totally different reaction and emotion rather than them just dying on their own.
Posttraumatic stress is another point that death brings upon a person. When my grandma died I wouldn't say that I had posttraumatic stress. A lot of other people in my family were stressed. There were things that weren't finished. Her knitting was still lying on the table. She expected to come back that night to finish this scarf for her granddaughter for Christmas that was only days away. Instead Christmas was filled with relatives coming back to make sure "Dad�" was ok and to finish up plans for the funeral. No talks of Christmas or other happy holidays were talked about. The holiday still occurred but the emotions that were surrounding that day were still surrounding the emotions associated with her death. Even having someone that wasn't that close die by the hand of another person will create stress in a way of how one deal with this situation. My friends have a car wash a lot of times to raise money if the family doesn't have enough to pay for all the funeral
expenses. I feel as though this is a large part of their closure. Even though this person is no longer with them they still become part of the community coming together for them. Another form of stress that becomes a part of the community or friends is revenge if the death is occurred by another gang or even by the police.
Death is a large part of our lives and community. Death surrounds our lives in every corner that we are approached. Different communities, generations, cultures deal with death differently, but in the end we all have to deal with it. I find it interesting how everyone has dealt with death. Everyone seems to have a different way to grieve and carry on with their lives themselves. Having a negative outlook on life, trying to understand why it has happened, and dealing with the stress of going on with out this person is all apart of death and life. Creating this paper helped me realize all the ways that society deals with death, and how we live on.
Reaction Paper to Boyle Heights Field Trip
What I got out of the field trip to Boyle Heights was a strong appreciation and love for the community that one grew up in and live in. There was also deep rooted traditions and stories within the community. Over time the community will change its culture and social standing to the time and the needs of its citizen. Belonging to such a community has and will always be a place to call home and a place to find love from a fellow citizen. I also learned that even though it is a cliche that not to judge a book by its cover. There is always something more you just have to keep reading.
Throughout the field trip it was really heart warming to see the passion show though the faces of the Homeboys as they told is all the stories and disruptions of the community. Each homeboy had different experiences to bring forward. It was interesting to see the connection between their experiences with a want and need to belong. You can really see how a person strived to become a respectable citizen to the community. There is always come sub-community to belong to within the community as a hole. For example, the homeboys all sought out a place in a gang for their own reasons. They later obviously became a member of Homeboy industries in search out a new sub-division of the community to belong to. However, what I took out of their stories about their gang life was pride, appreciation, respect, and above all love for their fellow gang members and the surrounding community. Even though I might not agree on some of the politics of the gang banger society but who are we to judge or not recognize that is where a gang banger finds his home. Like animals in the wild we mark or territory with signs, and in their case tagging and murals. It is a part of Boyle Heights' culture, to recognize the existence of the gang banger society they too can help keep up, protect, and love he place they live in. For example, when we were in the projects they talked about a mural and how it was for the people of the projects.
Throughout the trip we were able to observe how there were deep rooted traditions within the community. I really found that some of the murals that we saw.
For example the one on the surrounding walls of Roosevelt High School. It was a mural of the history of the Latino people going back to the Mayans and Aztecs to then showing the changing culture over time. It was really great to see that it was on the walls of the high school because it is a reminder to the new generations to see how their ancestors created the culture that they came from. Also eventually earn about how struggled to give the people of today the society they live in. Also I we saw a lot of murals encompassing religion. It was apparent in them that as a culture it is important to practice faith in God. In times of both good and bad God will always be there.
Over time the community will change and morph to the needs of its people. this is important because people need their surroundings to be capable to feel like home but also keep up with the times. This is because a community is effected the current events. A person needs their surroundings hold whatever they might need whether it be materialistic or not. People will always seek out their place in their community. Sometimes however change is not always good. For example how the projects are closing. This is really unfair to the people that have created a home there. They have not only made a home I also got a sense that the people have also created their own community. The people are there for similar reasons therefore they live with people can support each other in their times of need.
I think however the most important thing I got out of the field trip was to reiterate the cliche to not judge a book by its cover. I always try to do this in my life but it is our nature to make judgment on things we don't know. For example, I didn't know there were so many beautiful murals in Boyle Heights that are actually known pieces of art. They are packed with culture and very meaningful messages that really speak about the people and to the people. You can really realize that once you go exploring you can really open your eyes. Also it is really interesting to have been living my entire life in Los Angeles and still have places to learn about in my surroundings.
Overall I thought the field trip was really interesting. I felt that the homeboys that went with us really added to the experience. Listening to their love and passion for the community was really heartfelt and my favorite thing about the trip. Being able to get out of the classroom was helpful to give a tangible visual to the community that we have been talking about in class.
Expierience at Boyle Heights
As we approached the time that our class would be going on a field trip to Boyle Heights I became more and more excited about what the area would be like. Sure I had been to east LA before, but I had never been to a certain area that was called Boyle Heights. I wanted to see for myself what this area was like. I tried to find it before the field trip, but I had never found the exact location.
When it was the day that we finally made our way over to Boyle Heights, thoughts were bounding around my head about what the area would be like. In Korea town I lived in an area that was populated by people from El Salvador, everyone said that I lived in the area that the gang MS 13 hung out, but I never found anything that dangerous about my old neighborhood. My old neighborhood though was always busy. There were always tons of people just walking around, running errands, doing their laundry, and going to the grocery store that was across the street. I was thinking maybe Boyle Heights would be this busy? Then thoughts about South Central entered my head too. South Central is very busy too. But there is a completely different energy and it’s so much more diverse than Korea town. South Central has Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and sometimes the occasionally White person. Whenever I go to South Central, the people are always busy of course, waiting for the bus in large groups, kids going to school, etc. But there is so much more drama there compared my old neighborhood. Drama between races and drama just between friends and neighbors. This is always exciting to me, which I think is one reason why I like South Central, granted I’ve never had to live there during the peak of the “drama,” like the riots of ’92, so I don’t think I have fully experienced the potential the “drama” has. As, we continue our drive along the 10 freeway, this is what I think. Will there be this much drama around, will people be yelling to each other across the street as they notice an old friend, or are people in this neighborhood keep more to themselves?
Then I have to remind myself that this trip is not necessarily about the people of the area, even though that is way that this neighborhood has evolved, or any neighborhood in general, but rather about the artwork that surrounds this community. The only place in LA, before Boyle Heights that I had ever been that had amazing artwork and ideas, was South Central. The main street that everyone goes and tags on is Slauson, pretty close to the swap meet. Seeing all the artwork, that outsiders may consider gang work, is amazing. Since being at an art school for 4 years now, and seeing how these pieces evolved, the choices that these people made in terms of color and composition is great. Other than the graffiti, the murals that are surrounding this diverse area of Los Angeles is awesome also. Granted I felt after the trip to Boyle Heights that this community kept their murals in much better condition than the community of South Central. I feel like the community in South Central is almost disrespecting themselves, by destroying their own murals. I feel like the murals that most similar to the murals in Boyle Heights are the murals in my neighborhood right now. I currently live in Echo Park, but more in the Rampart District. Much like in Boyle Heights Lady Guadalupe is everywhere in my neighborhood. These murals amaze me every time. The little differences that she has on each mural are so different, yet it’s the same woman. The mural that was at the market that we stopped to eat at the end reminded me of this one in my neighbor hood that I see everyday. It’s as if Christmas never left, tinsel surrounds her, as if it’s an offering by the community. Its been dirtied by the smog of Los Angeles, but yet still looks so beautiful, because the people seem to care so much about their shrine to decorate and offer her everything. Of course in Boyle Heights she surrounds the local liquor and convenient stores. She seems to be in the same spot every time, but composed and drawn in a different style. This is what I love. The community has this same love of this woman, yet has a different idea of what she should look like.
As we pull up to our first mural, it is completely different than what I expect. When I expected to see the murals of Boyle Heights I expected to see sometime that had scribble along the bottom, as if the community didn’t really react to the piece. But, I was wrong. The mural was beautifully intact. It had so many different meanings that Sammy told us about. The green, red and white weaving in and out of the composition of the mural represented the Mexican community that lies within Boyle Heights. I thought this aspect was the most beautiful part of the piece. These colors with the harshness of the black and white, made it so noticeable and so thrilling as we stood.
The next mural that I thought was so amazing and so large also, was the mural by one of the local schools. This mural showed how people had evolved from ancient culture to today. This mural had so many hidden political meanings that they almost stopped sponsoring the artists.
The mural that was my favorite, because of the colors used and the graphic nature of the piece, was the one that painted on the side of a convenient store. This one may have not had that many meaning hidden within it, but it is one of the first murals that I have seen that was painted with such a graphic nature and used so vibrant colors. This mural incorporated more the ancient aspects. Which, I believe, was more of the Aztec culture. It did have the hummingbird incorporated into the central part of the painting. The hummingbird represents more or less life for the people, which are why it is in the central part of the mural, to exaggerate how important it is for the people. Also incorporating corn into the central part is an important part of the mural also. The corn is a part of life and a part of how people eat.
When the class continued on onto the train tracks, I didn’t really know what to expect. We were told that we were going to see graffiti, where it was legal to tag, or if it wasn’t legal people still tagged there anyways. These pieces of artwork were amazing and were probably one of the only things that reminded of South Central during the entire trip. When we all entered the parking lot, it was an area in between two industrial buildings; it was as if a whole different world entered our eyes. The movement and color of each individual piece was so exciting, that it felt like everyone had a new attitude about them.
As we left the graffiti yard, we were told that we were going to go to the projects. Most of my friends have and did live the projects of South Central. I didn’t realize that different projects in Los Angeles were built to provide housing for different jobs that people had. Sammy explained that the area, Boyle Heights, was built for people to not really “live” there. Boyle Heights, he explained, was built for the blue-collar class. On the field trip, I found it interesting that the projects in Boyle Heights were built almost in a circle. In this way, if there were an issue within the projects no one outside the projects would ever notice. The projects in South Central are built among other buildings the combine all classes in a sense. These projects are not built in a circle, so if things do start to happen police or other people in the community take notice. So on the field trip, one of the homeboys started talking about one incident when a dirty cop did come to start stuff with the homeboys. When a fight started between the cop and homeboys they cop accidentally shot of them. This created even more of issue. But, since no one could really see into the situation, no one could really witness what happened. In the projects there is a mural that dedicates this man. Within the projects I didn’t notice anything else that may be out of the norm from other projects.
As we were leaving Boyle Heights, I noticed that it was very hilly compared to other areas of Los Angeles, which made me understand why the first immigrants were European. This area reminded me of what Europe would look like. I really enjoyed that aspect of looking down on downtown. The houses and architecture of the houses of Boyle Heights really excited me also. The small houses that looked like they were pulled from the 1950s were really great too. I knew that when were making our plans for a field trip to Boyle Heights I had no fear of going to this unknown area of Los Angeles. I know that if we went on a trip similar to this and I had just come from Missouri, because that is where I am from originally, I would have a completely different expectation. I can say that it would have probably been the same feelings that I had when I made one of my first trips to South Central. Since I have made friends with people from South Central and other areas of Los Angeles, I realize that every neighborhood has it rumors. Every neighborhood has its negative aspects, but every neighborhood has it positive aspects as well. Drive bys and other terrible crimes that occur don’t happen everyday in Los Angeles. Even during the 90’s when the crime in Los Angeles was at it peak, drive bys didn’t happen everyday. These areas have interesting histories and events that help create cultural and diverse Los Angeles.
Oct. 2. 08
The field trip to Boyle Heights was an eye opening experience. A Boyle height is a neighborhood in East LA, which consists of a diverse population including Jewish, Japanese, Mexican, and Russian. Today, the Mexican American population increasing to 95 percent has shifted the city’s diverse population. The LA River divides the city and is also bordered by the freeways. This neighborhood is known for being a trouble maker because of the many crime caused by gangs, but in this field trip I learned that there are much more valuable things than just crimes.
Our first stop was in front of a mural called "To Heal The World" painted by George Jabez. As you enter the community, this mural can be easily found because it is located on one of the main streets near the famous street called Cesar E. Chavez. The mural contains illustrations of Mary and angels below her, which is a welcoming image mostly to the community of the Roman Catholic. Mary being the dominant figure of the catholic religion connotes the Mexican culture but the colors red, green, and white, painted on the angels’ wings also portray the culture. The mural welcomes the community and it also establishes the mission of the hospital. Across the street stands another mural pieced together by tiles. This mural displays a numerous amount of people with different skin tones standing all
together portraying diversity in the population of Boyle Heights. These two murals amazed me because I have never expected to see such an opening painting that was held in public.
Due to the city's bad reputation, I had envisioned tagging on the streets but they were very professional and well thought out. The media plays the big part in the role of displaying the city to the portraying the city in such a manner. Beverly Hills is known for being a rich city where all the fabulous people live their fancy lives. It is also known for being the safest city because they have a high security quality and there are no gangs. When I hear stories from my friends that live in Beverly Hills about their life in the city, the fabulous life is not what was mentioned. Their neighbors have been robbed, they complain about their neighbors for leaving on the music too loud, and there are also violence at their school and the city’s park. They have told me that all the rich people live in the mansions in the upper part of the city near the mountains, but all the nicer homes and mansion are located near the mountains as well in any other cities. If living in a mansion means that you live in a fabulous life, than you can live in another city and still own that fabulous life. When I was traveling in Europe during the summer, the Europeans and I were jealous of each other. They were jealous of me because I live in Los Angeles and I was jealous of them because they live in Europe. I know that every city has pros and cons but I loved every little bits of the country from their public recycling trashcans to the style of architecture. They loved Los Angeles because of the beach, Hollywood, and the chill life style. I’ve lived in LA all my life but I never visit Hollywood and hardly ever go to the beach, and the life in LA is not chill at all at least for the Otis life. During my time in
Europe, I’ve learned that I would be a little depressed if I were to move there. It was a beautiful place to visit but it’s such a drastic change for me to adapt into, and the people there are not as nice to Asians. When I visited Boyle Heights, I can relate the experience that I felt with my trip in Europe. I’ve noticed that they only try to demonstrate the life in Boyle heights with the gangs and the problems that happen in the projects.
We’ve discovered many beautiful and meaningful murals on the streets but the most exciting mural was discovered in the projects. The homeboys took us on a tour in the projects, where they were raised, and gave us a little background story of the lifestyle in the neighborhood. As we drove around the projects, we were stopped in front of a mural that was dedicated to one of the homeboys nicknamed “Smokey”. There was a picture of the homeboy located at the top of the building with alphabets of poem under him that tells a story about the night of his death. That night, a birthday party took place outside where the mural is located today. There was a group of people hanging out with beer bottles in their hands and the sheriffs stops the car in front of them. The neighborhood has issues with the sheriffs because they do not have the authority to come into the projects and arrest or punish anyone for any reasons. Someone from the group happened to throw a bottle at the car, so the sheriffs step out and walks over, punches their homeboy who had no fault, and shoots him three times while he was picking up their flashlight. A cross is painted in the center of the wall between the poems, and there are three roses inside the cross, which represents his religion and the three bullets that went inside him. The next mural was the biggest one in the field trip and it was a painting of a famous lady in the center and collages
of other illustrations surrounding her. This mural contains many hidden background stories that cannot be known because it would be taken down. On the top, there are two men holding out their fist and one of them wears the LAPD helmet, which connotes the rivalry between the neighborhood and the police. A picture of a homeboy holding a baby in his Lakers jersey tells another hidden story. There had been an issue with the police one night with the homeboy but the police had to leave because they could not find any fault in him, so the next day the police comes back at night and shoots him down.
In high school, I was in charge of replacing murals that were damaged by graffiti and volunteered to paint my own murals for the school student store and library. Back then I would paint because it gave me pleasure and I loved mixing colors. I wanted to paint something that everyone can see and create something that we all can relate to and enjoy together. This trip taught me more about mural arts. I learned that they are more than just a painting because it tells a story, dedication, memory, and it has depth.
Oct. 1, 2008
Homeboys- Professor Flores
Boyle Heights Field Trip
On Saturday our class went with professor Flores to explore the public art of Boyle Heights. Through viewing the art, our mission was to learn more about all the deep-rooted culture that exists in symbols scattered throughout the community. As outsiders to Boyle Heights, without professor Flores and our homeboy locals we may never have decoded these symbols at first glance. The art in Boyle Heights reflects issues of race, cultural, and political identities.
Art is scattered all throughout the community. I noticed that the art we came across were mostly on walls in mural form. I brought this up to my friend Eba and it got us thinking. We proposed that perhaps the artists really wanted to share it with the community. The art was meant for all to really experience. It could be that they are not typically the museum going type so artists with something to say bring the art to the streets, to the people to make it more accessible in a place where they don’t have to go out of their daily routine to view. Artists bring the art to the community by putting it on the walls in colorful paintings.
Some paintings were even painted in all red white and green. Church of St. Lucy a beautiful is mural painted on the wall of the hospital. It depicts Lady Guadalupe and heaven. This is perhaps the most important mural in all of Los Angeles tucked away on the side of this building. It sends a powerful message as it plays with the idea of the role of the goddess. Guadalupe, who is normally seen as being too passive is portrayed here as a woman of strength. Painting this huge mural using predominantly if not solely the colors red white and green was their way of bringing in he flag without saying it. It was also a religious message because religion is a big part of their culture. Through art such as this mural, they are able to express ideas in a symbolic and less threatening way. The colors of the flag are to display the pride the community holds in their roots and also to honor their strong religious beliefs. The touchy subjects of religion and loyalty to the Mexican culture were presented in a symbolic way that only members of the culture may have been able to decode. This mural is a message to the community and proof that their culture lives on strong and never dies.
Next we came to a mural that represented the mixture of all the different races and cultures that were coming to Boyle heights. The Nero Aztec murals incorporated Aztec images. Jewish, Japanese, Blacks and Mexicans all contribute to the history of Boyle Heights, which is now predominantly Mexican. We drove down Caesar Chavez road, which is considered the main artery of Boyle Heights where all the businesses are. Cedars-Sinai hospital and many major Jewish businesses started here.
The biggest Mural of all was the one that extends for miles around the walls of Boyle Heights High School. It is a HUGE historically accurate mural done by only one guy. Everything depicted in it is real he is just documenting it. This huge mural was only cu short when the funds were cut. Mostly we admired the mural from afar due to its size but when I came closer to it I learned some alarming facts. From 1519 to 1580 the Spaniards came and killed approximately 95% of the population in Mexico. Being a documentary style mural, messages in it were pretty straightforward. The mural reflects the history o their people. It speaks to all of racial, cultural and political identities for the people f Boyle Heights.
We walked along some railroad tracks and came to a graffiti park that was amazing and I have he pictures to prove it. The art that was produced here was self taught and really inspiring.
The mural that intrigued me the most were the ones we saw in the Ramona Gardens projects. One mural on the side of the building was dedicated to the late “Smokey” who died from 3 gunshots fired at him by the police. These police aren’t even assigned to patrolling this area but instead come to this neck of the woods to start fights with the locals. One night they were drinking and having a kick back outside their home when the police rolled up and slowed down as they got to them. Someone ended u throwing a beer bottle at the cop car and when the policeman got out to ask who was responsible Smokey refused to tell. The cop punched him in the face and Smokey swung back knocking the officer to the ground. The officer’s reaction was to fire three shots that hit Smoke and he died right there. The mural dedicated to him was a poem of what happened t the beloved member of the community and the unfairness that takes place in the law. There is a portrait of his face at the top and underneath a cross with three roses representing each shot that was fired that night. This mural is not only a dedication to Smokey but also a message from the community to the police expressing their objection to police brutality. Through threats the law pushed them change the mural to a more politically correct version that didn’t portray the law in such a negative, honest light. This mural as both obvious and hidden symbols that are meant to be decoded. Outsiders can only decode the surface of the message for what it says. Only the community knows the deeper messages in it. This event adds to the history f the community and further bonds them to each other and to their racial, cultural and political identities.
The second mural of the projects that caught my eye was entitled A la Malincene. This mural featured Cortez’s mistress. Previously, the indigenous woman who was used for sex was looked down upon as betraying her people. Not until recently are they re evaluating her role as an indigenous woman because she wasn’t actually one of them she was an Aztec. Now some take sympathy on her as a woman who was mistreated and subjected to unfair treatment. They reconsidered her role as a woman who was objectified and raped. In addition to this meaning homeboy, Hector, further informed us on the inside scoop hidden in the rest of the mural. On the top right there was a warrior figure in a helmet, armed with a big gun. This we found out represented the Police in the area that they referred to as the gangsters in uniform. They named them this because of the unprofessional behavior the police display. Rather than doing their jobs and following the law; the police commit crimes themselves and get away with it. Abusing their position of power is common for these officers. This is an all too familiar problem in the community. Also pictured in the mural is a man who went by the name “Swoops”. One night the cop’s hand cuffed him and beat him. Some elder women came out and saw this and begged the police to stop. The police went on to take him to a place where no one could see and beat him till he died. The Mural shows the fury between the LAPD and the neighborhood. They got together and had their mourning fundraiser for the family of the deceased. Car washes are offered and food is soled. The cops showed up to put an end to Swoops fundraiser. Their goal was to get the boys into a corner where they could go unseen and beat them. Thankfully, Hector predicted this and had a media camera in place to capture it in the event that the police came to cause more trouble. Even more powerful than that, the community was there to show their support. Every one, children included, stood in a line like a wall blocking the police. The message was to get to them you have to get through all of us. A miracle happened that day and the police backed away. But the gang in uniform wouldn’t let up. The next night they came back to get even. The lights went out and they hid behind a wall and shot a homey walking by. His adrenaline carried him all they way around to building number twelve where he died. The mural shows him in front of the building holding his baby. This mural holds a lot of meaning in the community. Some of its hidden symbols are intended to be decoded by outsiders and some remain a secret only to be shared by the community. It is a reminder to them of what happened in the history of their community and how they feel. These types of events that take place in the community’s history effects their outlook on things. Traumatic events although unfortunate, also help build their cultural identity because how the community feels based on their experiences is essentially how they define their members.
In Boyle Heights, art has symbols. These symbols speak. They have an agenda, a text, a metatext for all f us to read. It is important t be careful what you project because you want to make sure its read accurately. When we viewed the Art of Bole Heights we were careful to be conscious of the metatext, the symbols and what the intended to communicate. Even colors and shapes are meant to be decoded at times. I learned so much more about Bole Heights in decoding its messages. The messages in the murals express the community’s perceptions of racial, cultural, and political identities. Not only does the art show their history and outlook, but also its presence further reminds them of how they feel and helps them be more certain and continue to grow stronger in their identities.
Reaction to Homeboy Industries
Going to Homeboy Industries was really fun. It was good to get out of the classroom and into the homeboys environment. I felt that the homeboys were more comfortable to be themselves there rather than at Otis. Also, being able to see the actually be at the site to really understand what the class is about.
Well to be honest I got lost on the way there so this trip was really an adventure for me. When I finally got there I was surprised to see how busy it was. I was expecting to walk in a be quiet and more office like. At first I was hit with the hustle and bustle of people walking in and out. They did look at me like I was a little lost but when I got to the reception desk they were warm and helpful. Once I got upstairs we went on a tour of the facilities. My favorite part of the tour was to walk down the upstairs hallway. The walls were covered with photos, letters and other such things. I found it really moving to see all the people that have been helped by Homeboy Industries.
Walking around the grounds I saw that the homeboys were much more comfortable to be around us rather than at Otis. They seemed to be much more warm as well because of this fact. Out of this visit I got that each of the homeboys could really show us how this industry had and continue to help them. I even saw this in the other people that were there that aren't part of our class. It was really great to be in a place with such a good vibe a change. In general it really seemed that the people that worked there really cared for the people that they were helping. They were not jut there to for a job they were genuine and real. This is also because there were also people there that have also gone through the same things that the people they were trying to help.
Being there was really helpful to see the place that the class is about. We could really see how things work there. It was really interesting to be in there because we wouldn't have gotten the vibe of the place. I really feel that it was best for us to be there so that we can really understand the facilities they have to offer.
Once I finally go there from being lost I was rally happy to be there. I think our projects are going to benefit from being there. we will be able to get to know where the homeboys are coming from. Overall it was a good trip and I am excited for the next one.
Guest Speaker Dr. Fred L. Barnes
Last week in class we were visited by our first guest speaker. Dr. Fred L. Barnes is the director of the Student Counseling Services. I know him because I have utilized the services that this department offers. He has been a great mentor to me in the past few years. I am fond of his wisdom and trust his opinion.
He opened the session with a discussion with the class. Students and Homeboys shared their experiences of friends and relatives who had been affected by violence such as drive by shootings, either resulting in a death or injury of the friend or loved one. I heard several stories that were absolutely scintillating. I did not have an experience like that to tell. The only death I had experienced was my mother’s passing about a year ago from liver cancer. Although I had not experienced a drive by shooting or a school stabbing, I was able to empathize with them. I found I had similarities in some of their expressions when talking about death. Such as how they felt when they saw the dead body. I was holding my mother’s hand as she breathed her last breathes. As the stories unfolded I was visited with intense memories of the time surrounding my mother’s death. I felt as though cancer had been the violent killer and that it had murdered my mother in that short week from when I found out she was terminal to the night she died. How quickly her body was unable to function as the cancer became suddenly aggressive and devoured her liver. I was very close to my mother and her passing was very sudden and traumatic for me.
Once all of the stories were shared, Dr. Barnes began his discussion of post-traumatic stress disorder. I was familiar with the points he shared as I have recently been going through these motions. Experiencing the anger one felt towards a random killer. Although I was angry at a disease and not a person, we were all dealing with the same symptoms of losing a loved one. How your habits, body, and mind are affected. I stayed in school and turned to my schoolwork to help me deal with the loss. I was a workaholic, avoided socializing, and escaped my intense depression by enveloping myself in my design work. I ate less and slept more. All of these symptoms Dr. Barnes listed. When Dr. Barnes turned the discussion of these feelings to those who had shared their personal experiences, the reactions were mixed. It seemed to depend on how close to the victim they were. If it was a stranger or an acquaintance at school, they did not seem to have these symptoms. Perhaps they weren’t felt as intensely as those who had experienced their dear friends’ passing.
The discussion was then turned to the audience, asking us we had ever wondered, “Why them and not me? Why am I still here and alive today?” The existential related question seemed difficult for those who had shared their experiences. Having to answer “Why?” questions can be difficult. It requires a lot of soul searching, and I feel some of them were put on the spot. Perhaps they had not asked themselves that question. Having purpose in the things you do is important. And I feel that was what Dr. Barnes was trying to point out. You need to work towards goals and create your own meaning to life. I saw it as feeling lucky that one was still alive and had by chance missed the shot that had unfortunately come in contact with their bystander. And with that luck, I better do something with my incredibly capable body and mind. Also Dr. Barnes discussed having faith. Faith in what you do and who you are. I am still grasping the concept and trying to understand what I have faith in. And how faith can help me.
One of the handouts Dr. Barnes handed out in class had the header “As A Student You Will Experience Stress.” This hand out is incredibly helpful. Dr. Barnes shared the tips listed on this sheet. Many of these tips have helped me manage my stress here in the fashion department. One of my recent adjustments has been very helpful to the poor shape my body gets in when under a lot of stress. The aches and pains, the likeliness to get sick more, all of these have decreased since I’ve started eating healthy, keeping my diet high in vitamins and nutrients. I quit smoking cigarettes and found that it was not the cigarette that helped me with my stress, but the physical act of taking a break from your work was what helped me. But my favorite point that Dr. Barnes had shared with me in the past year and was telling the class was on the point of being perfect. I found that a stressed a lot over being perfect, getting good grades to be exact. When Dr, Barnes had shared this with me several months ago my life became a lot easier and less stressful. Telling myself that I had done good enough, not perfect. Doing the best I can is still very important to me, but I do not pound down on myself as I used to. I have realized there is only so much that is humanly possible in a 24 hour time period, or what I can achieve in a week. And that is okay!
The homeboy integrated learning class took a field trip to the homeboy industries in downtown Los Angeles. Homeboy industries, founded by father Greg, help retired gang members to find jobs and provide them with the services they need. The program began in 1988 with a small bakery shop, which no longer exists today because it was burned down. It is organized to help the homeboys off the streets from drugs, gangs, and violence.
In Boyle Heights, Gather Greg found gangs who were young teenagers. He began doing the funerals for these young men and wondered why so many of them were dying. He approached the gang members and started interacting with them to find out the reason for joining a gang. After learning that they end up in the streets because they cannot find a job due to their background and appearance, Father Greg wanted to hire them. He bought out a bakery shop and a tortilla stand, and hung his own business sign panel that said Homeboy bakery and Homeboy tortilla. Then he began employing the homeboys so they can start making money by working and not by selling drugs or stealing from other people. Father Greg’s employment prevented these retired gang members from going to jail, “jobs not jail”. Homeboy bakery was a great success but was burned down later during the LA riot. The business didn’t stop there it just got better.
The city helped build a new bakery in downtown LA where Homeboy industry is located today. It is a 2-story building; Homegirl Café located downstairs with offices and a reception desk at the entrance, and financial offices and classrooms on the second floor. In the year of 2001, Homeboy Industry became a non-profit organization with a budget of $3 million and today $6 million. Starting with a bakery, the building provides a various amount of services such as: education for GED, job training, tattoo removal, counseling, yoga, parenting, etc. If an individual cannot be hired because of his tattoo, then they can get it removed from the homeboy tattoo removal service. Any type of service possible is provided at Homeboy industry so that they won’t have to go anywhere else.
Homeboy industry gives hope to the retired gang members and helps them accomplish their goals. Through the services and the counseling, they are able to realize that they can actually have a life without being involved in a gang. There is no pressure in going through the program because no one is forced to do anything. Once an individual is ready to change their life, the doors are always open for anyone to walk in any time.
Father Mark began his talk to us about how Father Greg started Homeboy Industries. Father Greg wanted to help the community come together in a more positive way. In LA, in general, people were starting to get more and more involved in gang life. Some of these people wanted to change. These people wanted to get a job and start over, but didn’t know how to get away from these people that now called family that were part of their gang life.
Father Greg asked them a simple question. How can he help? They wanted to get jobs, but couldn’t because a lot of people had facial tattoos reminding them of their past lives. They were still addicted to things that made impossible to get and keep a job. So Father Greg started this program that actually created jobs for the community. He started business that created jobs. The first business was a bakery. This bakery was actually started by a family in the community; they wanted to help Father Greg so it soon became Homeboy Bakery. I thought it was amazing that the community wanted to also help these ex-gang members.
Father Greg began thinking of ways to help people to get jobs not only with Homeboy industries. If someone had an excuse he made a program for it. If they couldn’t get a job because of tattoos, they made a tattoo removal program. If they had substance abuse they would go into therapy. So they created this program for people that wanted to actually get out of gang life and start new and better, it’s not a program for people to just take advantage of.
Aaron Clark's Speech
His speech was nice and informative. It was interesting to learn how gangs have changed throughout the years. It is sad that our society has changed in such ways that discriminate create unrealistic stereotypes. It just seems that we start with good intentions and end up with something drastically different. I also though it was good that the presentation got the class involved and got us to speak up about other issues at hand that in some way were connected to the topic.
The reason why I found the speech informative was because there were really clear and well presented. For example I did not know that the gang injunctions were actually some kind of rules. I know that does sound kind of stupid, but what I thought was it was more like just "regulations" that were put in place amongst law enforcement agencies. Or for example how the U.S. was given an unlimited supply of cocaine from the trafficking of drugs across state lines. From the trafficking some impoverished communities that go their hands on some of the cocaine which would provide sustainable income. The U.S. then took their profits and funded the Nicaraguan Democratic Force and guerrilla warfare. However, the U.S. could not control all drug trafficking and gang created their own corporations from the profit they made in the communities. As apposed to the New York the Los Angeles law enforcement agencies did not know how to deal with the growing scale of gangs. With good intentions law enforcement started to create a nationwide data base based on gang markings such as tagging and gang tattoos and also colors that would help them keep track of gang activities by affiliations. As gang migrations became more an issue the LAPD started to work with other states and also inner state departments to find better solutions to the rising problems.
Government officials began to see gangs as mafias and sought harsher regulations against gangs. As a solution gang injunctions were put in place to put restrictions on groups. These injunctions were civil suits requires court orders that declares a gangs public behavior is a nuisance. The court orders allowed rules and regulations to be placed against gang activities. They were ideally put in place to deal with a neighborhood's gang problem before the gang would get to the level of a felony crime. Injunctions did some positive effects by keeping peace and reducing and in some cases permanently removed from small neighborhoods. In larger cites and neighborhoods small tasks forces were put in place to up hold the injunctions.
However, the good intentions were turned sour. The American Civil Liberties and other groups created an opposing force against the injunctions. This was because the injunctions would violate civil rights and in some cases become problems with mistaken identities. Racial profiling then increased within the community and law enforcement. Because of this it caused some innocent Black and Latino men to wrongly accused. They also caused longer jail time for minor offenses. Also as a result to try and fix the problem of injunctions a temporary suspension were placed in certain communities. In these communities that the in junctions did help crime came back and the programs that were used to help lower the delinquency among at risk kids were taken away. Other problems that the injunctions caused later down the line were when gang member were trying to change their lives around. Because there injunctions placed upon them they could not get away from their despite the efforts put by them and attorneys. They also caused gangs to migrated began because they were trying to get away from the injunctions and the spread of crime began in the country.
I found that the lecture was a good point to start a dialogue within the class. The homeboys were able to share their own experiences with the gang injunctions and racial profiling. We also started to talk about some political issues like the Iraq War. This was brought up because of how America profits off war. Also how it is not a war on moral issues but now has become more a racial issue and that America sees most of the Middle East as a terrorist threat. This was an important issue to bring up because we all could understand what we were talking about because not all of has been victims of such regulations in the sense of what we were talking about.
In closing, the lecture really got all of us thinking. I believe that everyone could get there useful information from it. It was good to get be able to have everyone really involved in the lecture.
October 22, 2008
Homeboys- Professor Flores
Last week guest speaker, Erin, came to speak with us about the domestic migration of the Los Angeles gang culture. It began in the 1980’s with the drug trade and a man by the name of “Freeway Ricky Ross”. The expansion of crack cocaine sales was aided across state lines by way of buses also referred to as “mules”. The sale of crack cocaine provided sustainable income for impoverished communities. They were granted the unlimited supply of cocaine courtesy of the U.S. government. The cash from these sales funded the Nicaraguan Democratic Force and guerilla warfare.
Ricky Ross first introduced the recipe to the Crips this gang has always been the largest gang and still remain bigger till this day because the Bloods are basically just an offspring of the Crips. With the money from crack they were able to buy weapons so gangs grew. Their only competition really were other drug businesses. Money got them funded by the government.
The first migration took pace in he 1980’s to he late 1990’s. With the large influx of drug money, gangs were able to operate as small corporations and business was booming.
It wasn’t until recently that law enforcement has taken a nation wide initiative. Starting in 2000 and continuing till this day Law enforcement created a nation wide database in order to keep track of the migration. The FBI got involved with the police so everyone could communicate. Even though gangs were in no way set up like the mafia, Mayor Braton considered this gang migration similar to that of the mafia so that the penalties inflicted on them for these activities became much harsher.
An injunction is basically a restraining order against a group of people. One by one injunctions began being paced on these gangs. First the Playboy Gangster Crips then The Gang of Panama City. It got to the point were these kids couldn’t go anywhere. It became jut a way of locking up more black and Mexican kids. The concern was the never-ending idea that there is no way to police the police.
Along with these injunctions came more problems for these impoverished communities. Racial profiling increased and lead to more arrests of black and Latino males. They got a lot more jail time and penalties were drastically harsher. The law made it to where the only way you could get the gang off this injunction list was to put your name on a long waiting list. In addition to this you had to get a lawyer costing at least $1,500, which most of these kids couldn’t afford. Getting off this injunction list was pretty impossible at this time.
Eventually there was a revival in gang migration so gangs left to escape the injunction list. The gangs migrated to new cities where the injunctions couldn’t affect them and so these areas filled up fast with an abundance of gangs. The LAPD wasn’t expecting this crossing of state lines. Originally the control was meant for the containment of gangs and gang activity but the plan backfired and it spread. From Phoenix, to Chicago, to New Orleans gangs started popping up and the unexpecting police of these neighborhoods looked to the LAPD for how to deal with the gangs.
Next we see the spread of gang activity on college campuses. Historically Black colleges lowered GPA requirements, which brought in more people. They networked from different cities and like frats; they can form little gangbanger groups. Recently on these college campuses they are seeing the transformation of new atmospheres that are more violent than anything else they have ever seen.
Asian gangs are the new gangs that are emerging from the cracks. The difference is that they are more on the DL because they don’t hang out on street corners. They also are smarter with their money and they invest it. A lot of Hollywood money come from this illegal gang money it just remains very hidden.
This growing Gang culture seems like a never-ending cycle. Here we had the US government supporting handing the drugs to these gangs and then using them as scapegoats almost when they punished them for the activity afterwards. The injunctions they imposed don’t stop gang activity they just keep it more quiet. In fact, gangs are multiplying like cell as other chapters pop up in other locations.
The government, society, institutions change because that’s the nature of the game. It is important to adapt to the new environment because if you don’t you’re pretty much screwed. What these gangsters need is a way out. They need to adapt before it is too late. Father Greg provided them with a way out. He wanted to stop the cycle. In a world where police stopped responding to gang violence and wrote it off as NHI (non human involvement), father Greg saw hope. He viewed them as humans and saw their potential. He took them under his wing and thought of them as his own children and they in turn, viewed him as their father. They came to him for advice and guidance and he helped them clean up their acts and get jobs all because he believed in them.
The law and government would prefer that these gangs kill each other off. They used them when it was convienent and now they want to rid themselves of the problem they helped to create. There is no way to police the police. If they really cared to fix the problem they would go about it differently. What these gangsters need is guidance, a role model and belief in themselves. Homeboy industries does just this. It provides former gangsters with encouragement and shows them what they are truly capable of.
Aaron Clarks Presentation
Aaron began his presentation by talking about how crack cocaine is the soul supply of money that gang members use to survive. Crack is sold in neighborhoods that are of lower class. We notice how in areas of Los Angeles that of lower class, like South Central, Boyle Heights etc. have a history of gangs. This crack is sold at unlimited supplies courtesy of the government, Nicaraguan Democratic Force and guerrilla warfare. Gang members may not live in these areas anymore since they have made more money selling drugs, but they always go back to their blood relatives house, like mothers or grandmothers. They go back to these houses because they will always feel safe under the protection of their true family.
Large gangs were based in larger cities, because these cities have ports that the drugs can come in. Gangs soon started migrating to smaller more rural areas of the country to begin selling drugs, since they were making so much in the cities. Law enforcements in these small towns weren’t used to have to enforce these gangs, which made the cities crime to become worse. Soon law enforcement had to think of some idea to categorize the gang members using tattoos, neighborhoods and the colors that they would wear. Today in Los Angeles County we are accustomed to the colors of blue and red being associated with gangs. And the neighborhoods that we think of that gangs tend to be large in are more of the lower class areas of Los Angeles, mostly the South and East areas. As gangs members continue to move to areas of the United States that are more rural areas law enforcement budgets become smaller and smaller and are able to enforce.
Aaron continued his presentation with the information about injunctions. These injunctions are used to "restrain order against a group." These injunctions can even be addressed just to a single neighborhood. Society began noticing how these injunctions are presented in black and Latino neighborhoods. When informed in these neighborhoods the blacks and Latinos are forced into jail time for minor offences. Since so many people were in jail at this time "Time" Magazine reported that gang-related killings decreased 27% in 2007. During this time gang members fled the big cities because of the jail time they could receive. They returned to families in the south, specifically historical black colleges. These colleges lack funding from the government and have to lower their GPA standards to allow more people to be accepted. This means that more gang members that had a lower GPA in high school can still be accepted to colleges, which results in more gang life.
Aaron ended his presentation by talking about how the fastest growing gang in Los Angeles, is more of the Asian gangs, because they don't stand on street corners wearing certain colors, and basically asking for trouble. But, black gangs still make up the largest percentage of gangs in Los Angeles today.
I thought Aaron's presentation was informative. I feel like I have a better understanding of what Los Angeles crime was like during the 1990s when the riots were active. I know that I don't have a clear understanding of what gang life is really like right now. I think a large part of why the presentation was positive was the reactions from the homeboys, if their input wasn't there I think that the presentation would have been dry. Along with the homeboys input, but also the input of the class itself was a good part of the presentation and lecture. I think hearing other peoples thoughts are always good, and learning together about different societies that we may or may not know about it is a really positive learning experience.
I just put the images that I used for the long sleeve shirt up. It was alot of fun making this happen. I want to credit Teen Angel for the art work that was used.