Over the last several decades, I have devoted my career to curbing gang violence and helping young people find alternatives to a rough lifestyle. In 1998, I started Urban Specialists to help with violence prevention, gang intervention, and youth rehabilitation in the Frazier Court area in Texas.
Urban Specialists is comprised of numerous former gang members. I call them, “urban specialists,” not just because they know how to do violence interruption, but because they know how to look at this urban landscape and find what we can’t see in it. They are, by far, the most effective people to invade and change this culture.
In 2000, I negotiated the first ever gang truce in Dallas between the “Crips” and the “Bloods.” As the first official gang interventionist hired by the state of Texas, I dove headfirst into gang culture at its height a few decades ago to quell youth violence. I often tell the young people I work with that there’s nothing like being hopeful that you can make it. To know that somebody’s with me. To say, ‘I’m not in this by myself.’ That gives you the ability to go places you never thought you could go.
I truly believe that every person, regardless of race, gender, or socio-economic status, is entitled to the same opportunities, and I am helping generate these opportunities in communities across Texas.