Thursday, March 27, 2008

Living in South Central

Living in South Central L.A., I am reminded everyday about gangs and violence that harbors around my area. I’m disheartened every time I hear about a child being shot down or someone dying due to some silly gang initiation. Why does this continue to be an issue in South Central or anywhere? What is happening in these homes where killing and stealing are options? I live in South Central, I see different sides to this place on a regular basis. In one side, I see USC, the university I work in. I see the neighborhoods surrounding the campus, and then I see the children and to be honest, it’s hard. I’m not sure if the kids know the way out, or if they are encouraged to get out of strife. I don’t know if the schools are giving them enough to face the world, or enough face the everyday hustle. They don’t always see the possible opportunities that are in front of them. If anything, they see the gangs fighting the community, broken homes, people dying, runaway fathers (or mothers), and their relatives in jail.

If the gangs were smart, they would do more to uplift the community. They could pull together and make better opportunities for the future. They could also take care of the community. Help rebuild homes, and advocate for their neighbors’ rights, educate the children…there’s so much they can do. I never understood why anyone join gangs, or what they really got out of it. But I do understand that in a good way, they can be a great influence to the kids of the community. I wish gangs would stop fighting and start building, supporting, and connecting. Use that energy to build something that will live on effectively and not end as a splash of beer on the ground.

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Viktor is a small town southern boy living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Twitter, writing about pop culture, politics, and comics. He’s the creator of the graphic novel StrangeLore and currently getting back into screenwriting.