“…My childhood- I mean it wasn’t- it wasn’t the best to be honest…”


Emma Barajas

This picture shows my brother Luis at the Miami Marlins stadium.

interview audio

 Luis Fernando Barajas was raised and grew up in South Central. As a kid, Luis saw a lot of gang-related violence in the area that made it hard for him to stay out of trouble.

Luis’s childhood was challenging growing up. His parents were not there most of the time, and when they were there, they were mostly arguing, and his only distraction was school.

Finally, after I was born, our parents split and got a divorce.

Luis is currently going to school at Cal State Long Beach and getting his bachelor degree in Criminal Justice.



Emma Barajas: So um today I will be interviewing my brother Luis, so um tell me about yourself.
Luis Barajas: So my name is Luis Fernando Barajas. I am 22 years old. I was born in Huntington Park California on August 17 1999. Uhhhm I have lived here in South Central for all 22 years of my life. Growing up here in South Central uhm I would always see gang, a lot of gang activity, a lot of- hear a lot of shootings, a lot of bad things, so you know it was pretty difficult trynna stay out of trouble.
EB:  Umm who where- How was your relationship with your parents like?
LB: Uhmm, lets see, Uhmm it was pretty good. Uhmm they were always working, so they were always like busy. Uhmm but I mean we would like go out whenever they had time for me….. I feel like I was a bit spoiled since I was the only child, so I basically, I had anything I want, but again they didn’t really have time for me so I would have all the toys, but I would always be playing by myself, you know?
EB: Uhmm, [laughs] do you have any other siblings?
LB: Uhhh yes, so in total, I believe there is what 6 of us? Uhmm I am the oldest obviously so um and most of you- most of my siblings, there- they’re girls so I have to deal with them having boyfriends- 
EB: [laughs]
LB: When you guys are older, you know?
EB: [Laughs] Uhm, how would you describe yourself as a child? Were you happy?
LB: Uhmm, as a child I guess I was a pretty good- I was a pretty good kid you know? Not to brag or anything, but I was a pretty good kid. Uhmm, my childhood- I mean it wasn’t- it wasn’t the best to be honest, you know, my parents were kind of busy arguing so- and again I was the only child at the time so uh, I felt like when I would go to school, I would be happy just because I would be around other kids my age, you know? But when I would come home it was kinda back to reality, umm yeah, a lot of fighting. That’s the only one- I think that’s like, yeah, that was the worst going up- seeing a lot of fighting here in the house.
EB: So umm what is one of your best memories of your childhood? And you’re worse.
LB: Uhm best mhmm, tryna think best…prolly like Christmas I guess. Getting together with my cousins, uhmm from my dad’s side of the family, just getting together with my other cousins, and just opening gifts, playing games. Uhhhh I think that was prolly- those were the best memories- holidays I guess, getting together with family- with cousins I  guess, and wrose well I guess you know, growing up, a lot of violence- lot of yeah- lot of arguments so-
EB: Did the violence you see- would it affect on you? Like-
LB: Uhhh yes, for sure it would uhmm, I remember almost everyday, just- it started to get like- I stared to get like tired of it, cause you know same thing every single day, uhmm- and I would always tell myself when I would grow up, like I wouldn’t- I would not wanna put my kids through that cause I know how much it sucked, and how much it could affect a child.
EB: Uhmm…..who were your best friends, and what [inaudible] 
LB: Bestfriends, soo, I had a few, growing up, but uhh, to be honest now were not even that close, uhmm I had 2 best friends. One of them- his name was Jimmy, and the other one was Clemente, uhmm, we were- we were together- we went to school together, and the same class since we were what, first grade, second, third, but then I moved schools, so and we kinda lost contact. However I still talk to Clemente, were not as close as before but you know, but we still keep in touch, but I think that’s like- that’s what happens when you’re younger, I mean you’re- you’re close with your friends but as you get older, everybody kinda does there own thing, sooo yeah, I still keep in touch with them- with Clemente at least, so yeah.
EB: Uhm [clears throat] what  did you think your life would be when you were younger- older I mean.
LB: “What did I think my life would be when I was older?” Uhmm I thought it would- Like when I was younger I wanted to be grown so bad, you know I wanted to be cool- like the cool kids, like I had older cousins so like “Ohh I want to be older like them”, but now that I’m older, I wish I was younger to be honest. When you’re older it kinda sucks, uhm more responsibilities, uhm yeah- I mean yeah- I mean I did see myself going to school, which I am, working uhm-
EB: What are you going to school for?
LB: Right now, I am currently going to school, uhm for criminal justice, so I’m tryna join, like tryna do something in law enforcement, uhm, hopefully in two years I graduate and get my bachelors in Criminal Justice, and yeah I hopefully pursue a career in Law Enforcement.
EB: Uhm [clears throat] do you have any favorite stories from your childhood?
LB: “Favorite stories?” mmm prolly just when I was younger, I- I wanted to be a singer I guess that was like a- I used to dress up, and sing like to like Viciente Fernandez, Lupillo Rivera and had like my little cowboy hat, and I would perform in front of my family, and you know, try to collect money, tryna finesse the family for some money. Uhm yeah, I mean, I thought I can sing, and I look back at the videos, and right now I for sure know I can not sing so they were prolly paying me so I won’t sing.
EB: [Laughs] Uhm who was your favorite artist ?
LB: When I was younger?
EB: Yeah.
LB: Or now?
LB: Lupillo Rivera. I used to like a lot of spanish music, uhmm, or like when I was growing up I remember that I wanted to be Chris Brown so bad with the moves, uhm yeah- I mean I could dance, if u wanna have a dance battle, but sing, yeah I can not sing for sure.   
EB: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
LB: Well I wanted to be a singer, but yeah, so- I always wanted to be a singer, but the was like my little side, I wanted to be like a little Justin Beiber, or something, but uhm- I also wanted to be a cop, and that’s what I’m actually pursuing right now, like in that field so, uhm yeah, I wanna help- help others umm and yeah, stop the bad guys, or whatever.
EB: Uhm how would you describe how your life changed when I was born? Like-
LB: Mhhmmm-
EB: Did it affect on you?
LB: Well, uhm, I always wanted a sibling, since I was the only child, and then you were finally born, uhm- I wished you were a boy sometimes, but it’s cool- your I mean- uhm yeah but the only sad thing about when you were born was that- I was happy, but sad at the same time because, our parents- my paren- our parents finally got a divorce, so I felt like our dad was not in the picture when she should have been, I mean he’s there now, but- I mean it would have been better you know? Uhm if we were  both raised in the same household with two parents, instead of one, but uhm yeah, it for sure changed my life in- in a positive way because, I was alone for like what?  Where nine years apart? – nine years so, so having you was like yeah like changed- changed, my- changed my life basically.
EB: How did our parents divorce make you feel?
LB: Uhhh it was hard. Uhh growing up I- I had my- my childho- my friends in school, uhm they- there parents were together so- and I would always tell myself, “oh my parents are never gonna separate or anything,” and then sure enough uhm, they ended up divorcing, it- it was really hard at first- I was like depressed because i didn’t want my parents to divorce- I didn’t really understand the whole divorce situation, I was like just like just, “just apologize, just make it work,” but you know, uhm when were younger we think it’s so easy but uhm being an adult isn’t, so yeah, it took a toll on me, it was hard for sure, yeah.
EB: Well uhm, thank you for your time. 
LB: Of course, no problem.