Street gangs had their origin in the East area of Los Angeles in the 1960’s. There, people from Mexico and Central America lived in deprived neighbourhoods without education, in squalor and unhealthy conditions just to name a few.

They were alienated in the most deprived area of the city. At the beginning of the 1990’s, the American Government deported them back to their countries but the groups went on.

Nowadays, more than 5000 organizations are recorded in the world and more than 150.000 young people belong to one of those brotherhoods (as they name them).

This is the story of a 26 year old woman who belonged to a street gang for five years. When she was a child, her father lost his job and her family broke up: although he took care of the children, he drunk a lot and he continuously ill-treated her mother. To make matter worse, her sisters all got pregnant very young while her mother worked a lot to provide whatever they needed. She had to leave the school when she was twelve because they didn’t have enough money for the tuition.

Our protagonist sauntered round the streets from morning to night and some few years later, her boyfriend introduced her into his street gang. For her, this fact was exciting because there, she found “a family as wonderful as she had dreamed”. To come into the gang she had to kill a girl but it wasn’t the only step; after this, she had to choose between being hit or being raped by several members of the group. Of course, she chose the first option. Even though she was devastated after the beating, she felt really proud of herself. Now she was ready to act in a violent way with the rest of the people. Nevertheless, little did she know that this fact would be the beginning of her dangerous existence.

Some compulsory steps as a member of the street gang were: to steal money, to consume drugs, to extort businesses, to help her partners to rape girls, to kill people and so on and so forth. In other words, she had to prove that she was a good member of the gang on a daily basis.

Five years later, she got pregnant and she started to question herself what kind of world she would give to her baby. Some problems and some beatings ended up with the death of the baby in the sixth pregnancy month. From then on, she decided to quit the street gang but it wasn’t as easy as it seemed. She was shot twice, one in her backbone and another in her lung; she escaped the death by the skin of her teeth.

Now she gives lectures about her experience, about the street gangs and how dangerous they are, about the importance of Education as the only way to fight against this social scourge. The down side is that she has to do it on a wheelchair.

© Plataforma creada por Alfonso Hinojosa - Profesor de Inglés de la E.O.I. de Santander