Always Running

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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It has been stated many times once in a gang you are in it for life, the only way out is death. The experiences and choices Luis J. Rodriguez made proved that statement wrong. He shows that you cannot live life trying to run.

By the time Luis Rodriguez was two years old his family left Mexico to live in Los Angeles. Like most people they searched with hope for a better life. They moved around in Watts and East LA, always living in poor conditions. From the start others discriminated and tortured them. Rodriguez had tough times as he himself was involved in gangs but soon he found a way out. He was the winner of the 15th Annual Carl Sandburg Literary Arts Award For Nonfiction.

Rodriguez in hope of fitting in got involved with the wrong people and got himself into trouble. He began to steal by the age of seven.

He began to work at the age of nine to help his family out. He got involved in different gangs the most known was the Lomas. He took drugs and got drunk with his "friends". He witnessed and was sometimes involved in, shootings, killings, rapes, porno, robberies, and police discrimination. He quit school many times. The schools had a separation of levels and Chicanos were only given industrial related courses. He was incarcerated and he even tried to commit suicide. He lost his virginity at the age of fifteen to a girl named Roberta who he did not know was a prostitute. There were constant battles between Lomas and Sangras. He was trapped between defending his "homeboys" and turning his life around.

Community Centers began to be set up to try to stop gang violence. Chente who was part of the centers became a mentor to...