“Good and bad things have occurred. But the good- young people changing their lives, the growth of organized urban peace efforts, the expansion of spiritual-based practices and the intensifying debate on how to address the violence in this country- have far outweighed the bad.”
“… Look at the situation, they got me facing, I can't live a normal life, I was raised by the state. So I gotta be down with the 'hood team, Too much television watching, got me chasing dreams. I'm an educated fool with money on my mind Got my ten in my hand and a gleam in my eye. I'm a locked out gangsta, set tripping banger And my homies are down so don't arouse my anger. Fool, death ain't nothing but a heart beat away, I'm living life do or die, what can I say? I'm twenty-three now, will I ever live to see twenty-four, The way things is going I don't know.”
Hi, my name is DJ And I’m addicted to the game A world of evil nature, Hateful thoughts and constant pain. Gangbangin and dope slangin Was the life that I was gave. From the womb of a lonely Mother, To the streets I was made.
A broken home, a shattered heart, No lights ever revealed, The cries of a burning baby, With the flames needing to be shield. The pain in my heart Was slowed down by violence. But then I was alone, Coming down left with silence. The pain was still there, Even stronger than before, So off to the streets I headed In search of a violent war
I really need help Because I’m hurting inside, And with the addictions to this game, Many people have died. I don’t wanna leave this life Searchin for ways to cover the pain Always searchin after the first time Because the high is never the same. Doin anything for the game Losing family and killing the brain Failing to realize the fact That I’m the one implanting the pain.
Like the leaves of a tree, I continue to fall Into a hole darkened by anger With pain that’s barely small. See I want to stand up And be able to stand tall But before a baby can walk, A baby must learn to crawl. With all this said and done, I’m now realizing my pain. By taking the first step to getting help, And admitting I’m addicted to the game.
This book is an autobiography of Piri Thomas, a Latino of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent. He grew up in El Barrio (aka Spanish Harlem), a section of Harlem that has a large Puerto Rican population. In this book, we read how Piri goes through the first few decades of his life; he lives in poverty, joins and fights with street gangs, faces racism, suffers drug addiction, gets involved in crime, and ends up in prison.
I feel that the book will help others get insight on the reality of gang life. In ways such as, how Luis Rodriguez explains the reasons why he had to join a gang and all the obstacles he was faced with. I also feel that this book will change the way people look at and how they think about gang members. This book will allow readers to take a look at one’s life as a gang member.