Carlos Vargas, the painter.


May 4, 2005 the " On the Frontlines: Violence, Gangs, Turfs " conference and workshops was held at the Civic Center Bill Graham Auditorium in San Francisco.

The event brings together many youth and this is the focus of the event. It then exposes them to solutions and gives them an opportunity to vent their feelings. The youth and others many adults that have been incarcerated before understand this unique love of sharing. The conference has had an impact and this is the 3rd anniversary.

I did not see Mayor Gavin Newsom and his cronies. The Mayor talks the talk but cannot walk the walk. The youth should remember this - the lip service that is paid to youth by politicians and City Officials who really should fess up and work for the youth.

I was impress with one gang member who now is in a wheel chair and does a lot of outreach. He was on the panel among other youth. He is a painter and paints with his mouth because of the paralysis as a consequence of his gun wound. 3 shots in the stomach and one in his neck that led to his infirmity. His name is Carlos Vargas.

Following the opening session I went to hear and support the Asian Pacific Islander Workshop. The topic Code of Silence: API Gangs.

The workshop began with the Polynesian Youth performing a dance ritual considered Sacred by the Maori from New Zealand. It is the Haka dance. This introduction brought to the fore two pertinent points:

1. It showed everyone the discipline and love the youth have for their Polynesian culture.

2. The role youth can play when they are motivated with something noble and hence keep them on track. Away from drugs and killing.

I heard the gang members all adults many had spent years in jail talk about their experience from the heart. There was nothing fake in their testimony. The consensus was that former gang members should be permitted and encouraged to share their love with the youth in the various institutions where youth are jailed. The ex-gang members are ready to work - but is the City and County of San Francisco ready to hire them?

Jails and Youth Guidance Centers do not encourage former Gang Members to work as a routine. The time has come to open the doors and bring them in. These former gang members have a unique function to perform and the youth are ready for them.

It may sound like a paradox to permit former reformed Gang Members to help incarcerated youth. The method has been tried in other States and it works. San Francisco does not have the support of the District Attorney and others mostly city corrupt politicians because they do not really care for our youth.

The Mayor Office of Criminal Justice is a joke in San Francisco. The Director of MOCJ and the District Attorney talk the talk but cannot walk the walk. I know this I have seen them in action.

Thousands of dollars are given to Community Based Organizations that do not have a track record. The same he-thugs and she-thugs get the money every year. This nonsense must stop.

The Asian Pacific Islander Youth have not been treated right. Hundreds of Cambodian, Vietnamese, Laotians, Samoans - Polynesians in general have NOT been given the support. Often times because of lack of Community and Family Support - many linger in jail for years. This nonsense must stop. MOCJ is aware of this corrupt practice but is doing nothing.

It was nice to hear Sam and Cedro talk. Others too the gang bangers of yester years. I would say the Asian Pacific Islander Gang Workshop was the best thing going during the conference this year.

Enjoy the photographs and work to love our youth. God Bless.

Panelists and Facilitator.

Panelists with John Nauer Center.

Andrew in the center with his warriors.

Peter and his warriors.

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