Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Causes and Consequences of Gang Violence in South Los Angeles
By William Monroe, Malcolm Jimpson, Caleb King, Elijah Haskin

The authors of Gang violence in South L.A. are proud members of the Celerity Charter School Jr. Wordsmith Workshop. They are 13 years old. The facilitator is Earl Ofari Hutchinson.

In Los Angeles and other urban areas in the United States, the creation of street gangs increased at a shocking pace throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The most well-known gangs of Los Angeles, the Bloods and the Crips, are mostly African American. In addition to the growing number of African American gangs, there are approximately 600 Hispanic gangs in Los Angeles County with a growing Asian gang population numbering around 20,000 members.

From interviews with different people living in gang infested neighborhoods there seems to be three important periods relevant to the development of the present-day black gangs. The first period is when the first major black clubs formed. After the Watts rebellion of 1965, the second period gave way to the civil rights period of Los Angeles where blacks, including those who were former club members. They became politically active for the remainder of the 1960s.

By the early 1970s black street gangs began to reemerge. While black gangs do not make up the largest or most active gang population in Los Angeles today their influence on street gang culture nationally has been profound.

The 18th street gang was formed in the 1960’s. The 18th street gang was the first Hispanic gang to break the racial membership barrier. Some members say, “A gang offered me security when I joined,” when asked why they gang bang. 18th street gang members frequently put tattoos on their body. The most common tattoo is XVIII. Many of these members have access to automatic weapons. 18th street gang is often referred to as the “Children’s Army” due to its recruitment of elementary and middle school age kids.

Racism between Black and Latino gangs has sparked many fights and shootings. For example, it was reported that a Latino gang, Florence, was responsible for the killing of a middle-aged African American man. Another example of this racial tension was when a fight broke out between two students at a high school and exploded into a large scale fight between Blacks and Latinos. Yet another example is that of a Latino man who was reportedly shot and killed by a Black gang.

Competition also adds to the racial conflict between Blacks and Latinos. The struggle between Blacks and Latinos to secure the same jobs, housing, and” turf” is competition that leads to tension and conflict.

There are many reasons why people join gangs. They join gangs for protection and because of friends, family, temptation, and under the influence of drugs. It is really sad that so many young people fall for the language and promises of the gang members. This surprisingly convinces them to join.

Gangs usually start in the form of a smaller form that is called clicks. Clicks are basically a group of people called by a specific name. There are many gangs and clicks in South L.A . Bps, Jungles, 42nd Street and Florence. In talks with some gang associated people 90 percent of them said things such as “It’s all about protecting our turf.”

The other 10 percent of them said they joined for protection. While it is true that public education system alone will not be able to save them all it would certainly be able to help many. Gangs hurt us in many ways. This should stop because it influences children. Some kids are in gangs because they think it’s cool. Like thirteen year old Joel who got by a Latino gang member. A kid gets shot just because he doesn’t correctly answer the question about what set he claims. The poor kid died so early he didn’t even get to live a long life and it’s a sad thing.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s L.A. gang reduction strategy program offers some very hopeful things. But he lacks the most important thing! What we need to do is bring them together and find the good kids in those gangs so they can have a place to come together and find their purpose, and s eek former gang member and mentor them. Teach them that they can do more. Encourage them to hang out with families and their friends later. The message: keep your friends close and our families closer.

Gangs are a terrible thing to have in our community. They should be stopped.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Welcome to the Celerity Charter School Jr. Wordsmiths Site.

The Celerity Jr. Wordsmiths is a weekly innovative writing skills worshop where some of the top writers of tomorrow discuss, learn, and practice the principles and craft of writing. The Celerity Jr. Wordsmiths is a cutting edge writing model for pre-secondary school students to learn and hone their skills in the art, technique, and craft of journalism, non-fiction essays, and stories, and topical news issues. The workshop facilitator is author and noted nationally syndicated columnist Earl Ofari Hutchinson.

Now it's my great pleasure to feature the works of the Celerity Jr. Wordsmiths.

Why I want to be a Graphic Designer
Caleb King

Graphic designing has bettered the world. It has also changed me. One reason why I like graphic designing is because I can express myself creatively, and because I can graphic design prop, charaters, and scenery for my book “Devil’s Rose”. I plan to take graphic designing and share my ideas with the world.

I started trying graphic design when I was 9.It all started after I seen my computer teacher. After that I kind of kept to myself. Since then, I developed my graphic skills. Soon after that, I fell in love with it! That’s when I said that’s what I want to do.

Why I Like To Write
Malcolm Jimpson

Writing has shaped the world for thousands of years. Writers whether they realize it or not, have influenced the minds of millions of people. Writing is also a concrete way to be remembered. It’s also the foundation for source of information, whether it is in a book or on paper.

I was inspired to write when I saw a movie called, “Spawn.” I am currently writing a book called, “Devil’s Rose.” I would like to create stories, characters and skits with writing. I also want to use it to express my view points on certain issues and share my creativeness. Writing also allows me to think deeper about the things I plan on doing, it helps me to relax and focus. My favorite type of writing is fiction. One of the reasons I enjoy fictional writing is because I can create a world to my liking. I also enjoy writing persuasive essays and journalism because it allows me informs others about different events going on in the world. Writing is an amazing tool in my opinion.

Writing is one of my favorite pass times and brings be enjoyment. It can also enlighten and strengthen a person’s beliefs. I think it’s a wonderful form of creativity and the further my writing skills are developed the more information and ideas I can share. Most importantly, I want my writings to be detailed, smooth, and straight to the point. I also think word usage is important because it helps to clearly describe the message the writing is trying to convey. Writers have controlled the written history of the world and shall continue to for many decades to come!

Why I like Football
Haskin, Elijah

Football is a very exciting game. Ever since I could remember I loved the sport of football. I mostly liked the fame, money, reputation and adrenalin rush you get from football.

I love being the center of attention. Playing football allows me to do that. Making plenty of touchdowns or blocking people will get me noticed among all of the football players and teams. Making plenty of good choices on the football field gets me noticed by scouts who will send me to the NFL. Soon I will have plenty of money.

I plan to take my skills to a whole new level, to the point where I became rich. If I play football in the NFL I could get plenty money and fame which will bring me reputation.

The better I get in football the more reputation I gain, I would soon become known as a great football player. I shall become an inspiration to football players young and old all over the world. I would soon be an idol to al and be labeled as a person who always followed his dream and never gave up no matter what. My reputation will get me know all over the world.

I love to do anything that gets the heart pumping. Any sport that involves running or exercise is my favorite activity. Football provides just that rush I need. Football keeps me healthy, fit and strong. Being in shape is very important to me.

I have played plenty of sports and football has stood out the most. Just playing football gets me excited in so many ways. Football is more than a sport to me it is an inspiration to be the best of my ability.