Author's name withheld
Washington Prep High School
Violence has affected me since the day I was born. I grew up in South Central, and most of my family is involved with gangs. It was so hard for me to survive because I was kidnapped, raped, and abused—anything you can name probably happened to me. Where I’m living now, it’s hard for me to even walk up and down the street because I get scared that somebody is going to try to harm me. All they do is fight, and I can’t even take out my trash without somebody fighting or shooting. It just doesn’t make any sense.
I live near a gang. They are so disrespectful. When we moved into the area, they were already trying to fight us. They tagged their hood on my house, trying to tell us who they were and trying to scare us. And I am scared, because who knows what they are up to? My family was threatened by one of them when a friend came over. They said if our friend came back, they were going to kill all of us. I don’t even feel comfortable walking to the store, because I know it’s not safe. Nowhere is safe with violence.
When I lived in San Bernardino, I experienced a lot, too. We had riots all the time involving whites and blacks, whites and Mexicans, blacks and Mexicans. It got so out of hand that races were turning against each other. I had to go through that almost every day. I got suspended every week because of all the fights that were going on. I was a victim in a crime. Because of what I had on, some man put a gun to my head and told me if I wore those colors again, he would kill me. Do you know how that makes me feel, having to hide in my room, having to cry myself to sleep, having to wake up in the middle of the night to check on my family to see if they are all alive? It hurts to know what this world has turned out to be.
I pray to God every night, hoping that some day the violence will come to an end. I want to make this world a better place for everybody. Then they won’t have to be scared of leaving the house or just walking down the street. It just hurts me so bad to see all the violence that’s happening to me and to you.
© 2008 L.A. Youth, the newspaper by and for Los Angeles Teens, http://www.layouth.com.