This powerful book details the history of Norteno & Sureno gangs and how their split came about. It serves as an empowering historical tool for young people caught up in gangs. Includes sections on the Brown Berets, Young Lords and many freedom fighters.
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By Rob Wessman
Mar 6, 2013
Cesar Cruz writes this book as a primer on the history of Norte/Sur "gangs." His audience is the youth who choose to affiliate with these groups, but rather than telling them why "banging" is wrong, Cruz nudges these youth toward unity against injustice. The historical section comes from Cruz's UC Berkeley thesis, and provides an intelligently drawn narrative of the conflict between these two groups, but then steps away from the conflict and broadens to a larger discussion of unsung latino/a heroes. He argues that many of these heroes have been left entirely out of the discourse and as a result young people have been deprived of a necessary element of their education. Perhaps that's the thing that resonates the most with me, an educator who works with gang-affiliated youth. Cruz is able to empathize and guide youth away from violence and toward a more equitable world. That kind of voice ought to enter the dialogue more often.
This book gives a simple yet riveting details on the historical front of the rise and challenge of Latino gangs. This is an important work that all youth and educators should have, especially, at for risk population and the need to read and start developing a conversation is crucial to stopping the hemorrhage of our young people's life. This book may change the outlook of some of these youngster's lives, who may be influenced or attracted to joining a gang, and maybe have them think twice about the brown on brown or black on brown victimization of a whole generation. This book can start asking the questions, why?, and hopefully find some kind of alternative paths that can unify rather than disseminate a whole generation. Cesars, first hand knowledge of the La Razas split is very insightful and can be a tool of inspiration and empowerment.
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