The experience of interviewing gang members was both an education and an awakening.
One thing that stood out is that some of the young men in the gang subculture really are trying to chart a different course for their lives, but it's not easy.
That's not just a cliche or a cop out. I used to think it was, too. But after my involvement with these young men, I saw for myself that they really, truly are trying. Sometimes trying is not enough.
You see, the difference is when I left the GED classes and mentoring programs they were participating in to try to do better, I went home to comfortable home in a relatively safe community where my neighbors are professionals and where families are two-parent households.
Not so much for people like Curtis, Andrew, Jamod, Anthony and Cosme.
They leave and return to the same elements that sent them down the wrong path.
It takes the inner fortitude of mythical proportions - something most of us don't have - to overcome some of these conditions.
What do you think some of the solutions are?
&8212; Deidre Williams