Kids In South Central LA


Living in South Central LA can bring many things to kids. In my personal experience it brought fear and danger. But what South Central has brought to many kids is gang life. Having to see friends and family grow in that life is hard. This is what I have to say about kids growing up in gang life.

Living in South Central LA can at times be a danger. Seeing kids involved in gangs and drugs is hard. But why is this all happening? South LA has a reputation of having Blacks and Hispanics join gangs. Why would they be pressured? Just because they live out here. Many things drive them to join. What drives them more than anything is living in South Central LA. Living around all the negativity, violence and bad influences. Knowing that gangs are an easy solution for all the problems they have. Not having the parents teach them right from wrong. But no one can really tell the pain and hatred these kids are going through. What gets people upset is that there are only kids of color in this type of life.

A normal night for many in South Central LA is hearing gunshots and seeing fights. But normally these are all kids doing this. Normally kids are in this life because of affiliation. It could be an uncle, dad, aunt, or any type of family or friend. Kids have that type of example and think that it’s okay because they lived this life their whole life. But it’s really not. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “Surveys of urban youth samples indicate that from 14% to 30% of adolescents join gangs at some point.” At this point, that’s a high number. They start of as young as 14 or even younger. “In 2019, 9% of U.S. students ages 12-18 reported a gang presence at their school.” It’s hard having to live in that danger.  Schools have to do something to stop this.

People think that because kids are affiliated it’s over, but it’s not. But many dangers still occur with kids in gangs. Having such young minds in the game is bad. Some kids may even die or go to prison over gang involvement. But in reality these are kids that can’t find their true self. Many never do. People see that as a danger and some people see it as regular old kids. But because of gang involvement our whole generation may die.

But schools can do a lot to help stop gang involvement spread through kids. Many schools have after-school programs kids can attend if they have nothing to do. Or even have sports so kids’ minds would be off of the streets and gangs. As many see, young kids like to tag. What school can do is add art programs so kids can show the artist in them.

Green Dot schools can do a lot to help. The support Green Dot schools give is great, including the motivation teachers and staff give to these kids. The kids who are affiliated can write on how they feel about being affiliated. Having creativity can help a kid get everything off their mind.

Even myself seeing all the different “taggings” affects me. It makes me think, “Wow kids my age are doing this type of thing.” But us as a community can do a lot to help. People may say go to rehab. That doesn’t work for a lot of people. But we the people, staff, teachers and  students can help. Just having a simple talk with them might even work. Some kids just need a rough speech.

Seeing gang affiliated kids as so called “criminals” is like sending people back to the 1980’s and 1990’s, when people thought think kids belonged in prison or jail. But what jail time will do is just aggravate them more. Put more hatred in their heart. So they can really become “criminals.” But I think the community should change by giving these kids more help. They need time to find themselves. They could use counseling as an escape from this life. I believe we should help them instead of aggravating them.

Street life is not going to help or work. Kids who are affiliated are now just killing each other off. Raza against Raza is bad to the community of Blacks and Hispanics. It’s just proving the expectations people are setting for us. We want to prove that we are better than that. People just don’t see that. But this essay proves we can do a lot to help kids change. This is what I have to say about kids in South Central LA.