Growing up in Dallas, I had no father figure in my life. As a teenager, I’d get beaten up walking home from school. So my cousins and I started a gang to protect ourselves.
My life of crime, violence, and drug dealing landed me in prison. Then one day in prison, an older inmate pulled me to the side and said, “Look brother, you’re a leader. If you can lead these dudes to do wrong, you have the power to lead them to do right.” No one had ever said anything like that to me before. It sparked the beginning of my transformation.
I read everything I could in the prison library – from Malcolm X to Plato. I became determined to one day improve the community I had damaged. So when I got out of prison, I joined Urban Specialists.
Today I’m helping to unite hundreds of current and former gang leaders with each other and with law enforcement to end senseless violence in Dallas. Working with Stand Together, for the first time ever we’re expanding to other cities.
We work in 18 schools, mentoring youth so they don’t go down the path so many of us went down. We know the pitfalls. When I see kids choose the library over the gang, it makes the struggle I went through worth it.