L.A. Gang Tour ~ Empowerment through story

“We started these problems and it’s going to take us to fix them.” Alfred Lomas of L.A. Gang Tours

Due to some technical difficulties with technology, I’m writing this post through my iPhone, so be patient of minor flaws. More than usual anyway. Thanks to Wendy Carrillo, I was able to attend the L.A. Gang Tour media presentation today to get a better feel for it, which is starting next week. For most of the day I’ve been chewing on the fat of the tour over all and what I want to write and say about it and what is being questioned back and forth. Is this ok? Is it poor people watching? Does the tour suck? Etc.

Before I get into any of that, I wanna share where I’m coming from. I’m an adoptive son of Boyle Heights, but like a promiscuous lover, I’ve been around. A lot of the spots that are in the tour, I spent time there as a kid. Looking out the window crossing Alameda into South Central and Compton took me back to days of future past when I saw those same sights in the back seat of my parents car. I was back in the hood after being gone for so long.

All those memories came back in a rush and I was all smiles. I know what’s up here. I know the tour guide knows his stuff and he’s not selling any bullshit to sensationalize it. This allowed me the opportunity to really listen to what he’s saying. What he wants to accomplish with the tour, what the future may bring and how this is the first step in more monumental actions. Everyone is hung up with the safari/fish bowl aspect of the tour and not listening to his hopes, ideals, vision and most importantly his motivation, which he does through Jesus and the Dream Center. If you want details about how this happened, read DJ’s post or the Times article.

“It’s never about strategies or building funds. It’s always about the people. It’s always about the lives that are being touched. It’s about the individuals who are willing to stand up in these communities.” Lomas

The way I see it, this tour is no different than this very blog that is a tool, a device that allows us to tell our own stories the way we see fit from our individual perspectives. To empower ourselves through our stories, using them and sharing them with others. Fostering ideas and dialogue amongst ourselves, rather than letting others tell our stories in ways that don’t even come close to how it really is. This is what I see this tour doing. They’re former bangers and they know how fucked up the system is, but not only that, they decided to take action.

They want to create sustainability within their own city, not relying on outside help. Creating jobs for kids and most importantly a path to end the cycles that keep snatching others into the La Vida Loca. This is the conclusion I made half way through the tour when we stopped at a church to hear a pastor describe the challenges presented to our communities. The changes in people and him personally learning Spanish and adapting his parish to help folks from the Latino/a community. To bring them in rather than exclude them.

If you wanna know what the tour is about, go and find out for yourself. Because I was part of the media preview, some of the things I saw and heard were catered for media. The tour will be unique to itself. You can call it fucked up and a safari all you want, but that’s not what this tour is about. And if you’re nesio, then fuck off. This tour is about people sharing their stories, history and personal narrative to create positive change in their communities because it takes our own to fix our own.

3 thoughts on “L.A. Gang Tour ~ Empowerment through story

  1. Don’t know if I understand Lomas’s premise, that “we” are responsible for this problem. Does he mean everyone, or just poor minorities who live in communities where most gang members are? If we’re going to blame poor minorities who’ve never gang banged in their lives for the existence of gangs, then we have to blame external sources such as the economy, government, police corruption, racism, and things like that, too. Either we blame the gang member himself and hold him accountable for his own actions, and maybe his parents too, or we blame everyone, all Americans, rich and poor, white and black. We’re all somehow responsible. Can’t have it both ways.

  2. Ha-ha safari that is a good one. Well that is dope you got to see the tour and for FREE. That is dope to hear that the guy running it knew whats up as well. I would not mind going still, but for me I really wanted to walk around and take photos and I guess you can’t do that and have to stay on the bus. I look forward to reading about someone who is going on the regular tour starting next week please let us know. If I was running a tour like this we would:

    1) Walk around the area with someone telling us history but also including alleys/empty lots/burned down buildings, County Jail, LA River,etc basically all the places they mentioned.

    2)Panel discussion with O.G and Veteranos all races.

    3)Be able to take photos of structures.

    4)Carne asada/BBQ at the end.

    That is all i could think of but def just not staying on a bus.

  3. I can’t speak for him but I will say that it’s about him taking responsibility on his part. That road to perdition in making things right from his point of view.

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