Author of Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. and founder of community cultural center and independent press, Tia Chuchas, Luis J. Rodriguez, wrote an opinion piece, Opinion: Arizona Teacher's Letter is Sleepy Lagoon All Over Again, comparing Arizona and the latest political focus on the gang and immigration "problem" to Sleepy Lagoon and the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943. What touched me most was Rodriguez's reminder that those the politicians target are those we should protect: our youth.
"In fact, in my work among the most gang-ridden neighborhoods in this country and elsewhere I’ve found that the majority of youth are not in gangs. And those that are usually join them when they are poor in material matters as well as cultural and spiritual ones...I’m convinced we can solve the economic mess we’re in by drawing on our common hopes, common aims, and common energies—and not at the expense of the most vulnerable or easily targeted among us."
This sentiment made me think of the DREAMers and of Father Boyle, author of Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, and his Homeboys. You can now help Father Boyle and his effort to make "jobs not jails" by heading into your local Ralphs to purchase their chips and salsa.