A Los Angeles Times article
about the sad and tragic story of the Barajas family living in South L.A., who
have been victims of gang violence in the area on multiple occasions, resonated
with me because it is a story I have heard far too many times. I taught in Gardena, a school at the
very edge of South L.A., equally plagued with this kind of gang violence. I have had several students who lost
parents and siblings because of gang violence.
Every year, the school had to offer grief counseling because
either one of our own students had been shot and killed, or the victim was
someone who was known by a majority of our students. Sometimes victims were gang members; often they were in the
way of a stray bullet. One of my
own students, who in this case was a gang member, was also shot and
killed. Ironically, this happened
the weekend after I kept him after class to talk to him about life choices; how
his choices pointed to death or jail.
The people in this area live with a deep fear and yet an inability to