My family moved from Mexico to LA when I was only 2 years old. We came to the US illegally. My parents had that dream that once we would live in the US our lives would be perfect.
My mom and dad just wanted to leave their old identities behind them, and start over with a new Identity in the US. We were dreaming the American dream, but soon that dream turned into an American nightmare. My mom and dad had no work permits, so they only could work in places where they were hiring illegal immigrants. Salary was very low for working 70 or 80 hours a week. It was around 50% less than minimum salary.
Growing up, was very difficult for me, because I stayed alone most of the time when I was baby. All I could do was watching TV, my parents had no money to pay for video games or a computer. I had not friends as well. It was a very difficult time for me.
Once I started going to school, I started to hang out with some other Mexican kids. They started to introduce me to Gang life.
First l felt like the first time in my life there were people who cared about me. I felt secure when I was walking around; I knew there were people protecting me.
When I was 12 years old I sold the first time drugs. In the beginning I only sold them, I never smoked any crack. Once I turned 13 I just could not resist, and tried some drugs the first time. Most of my friends were taking drugs, so it seemed to be very natural.
At that time I already stopped going to school. I had no contact with my parents anymore. My life now was centered around, crime, gang life and drugs.
It saw friends shot, because they got in trouble with some rival gangs. When I turned 15, I started to realize if I continue that life, I will die at a very early age, overdose on some drugs or get shot by someone.
I saw friends trying to leave our gang behind get killed. The basic message from our gang leader was you with us or you against us. Leaving the gang was virtually impossible. Once you part of that group you know too much.
Even going to the police is dangerous some people in the police force are corrupt so you might get even into more trouble.
The only realistic way I saw for myself to leave gang live behind was to change my identity and start over.
I successfully took on a new identity. I live now Hawaii. Since I left gang life behind my life got so much better. Not being surrounded by criminals made my life a lot easier.
I just wish I could help more people to start over with a new identity. To part of gang is just waste of your life. It’s like prison, even you can walk around free.