Oh the summer is at an eye's end.... unfortunately. For me, that means going back to school and of course going back to traveling. For those of you that keep up with me, you know that I travel back and forth every other week to work in Wittenburg, WI at a treatment center for children and adolescents. So here I am getting a head of myself and researching about what I need to prepare myself for when I head back to Wittenburg in the fall. So, what is it? What is one of the biggest things I need to research? Well, that would be gang activity in the Midwest, and Wisconsin in general. Unfortunately, gang activity is on the rise in this state and most of the kids I work with, are facilitating with a gang or are interested in gang activity. Boo! For myself and many people around me, we are unaware and uneducated as to how bad gang activity is in our poor cheese-loving state.
What is a "Gang"? --- some of you are probably thinking... duh, we know what gangs are... well, do you? There are a lot of people that think they do... but you'd be surprised.
-Street gangs can be defined as a group of three or more people that form an allegiance, whether formal or informal, which meets the following criteria:
- Common name or identifiers, (i.e. tattoos, clothing/colors, symbols, hand-signs, etc.) --watch out for this.... the kids I work with are pretty sneaky when it comes to symbols and colors... you'd be surprised if you really paid attention to people every day.
- Has member or associates who, individually or collectively, engage or have
engaged in criminal activity, to further the purpose of the gang.
Two of the major "Nation" gangs that are in Wisconsin are: Folk Nation, and People Nation.
Some of the gangs that are represented as "Folk Nation" are:
Black Gangster Disciples
Maniac Latin Disciples
Spanish Gangster Disciples
Some of the major gangs that area affiliated with "People Nation" gangs are:
The Latin Kings are the oldest and largest Hispanic-led street gang in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Kenosha area.
Now… Why am I writing this blog about gangs? Your answer: To raise awareness about children activity in gangs.
DID YOU KNOW?
According to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center, youth gangs have about 772,000 members nationwide, with half of them being teens under 18. That equates to about 1.6% of 13- to 17-year-olds in the U.S. That is a lot…. And CAN be prevented. The numbers are astonishing and increasing EVERY DAY. What is it about gangs that are so appealing to children? Gangs offer identity which a child may not have felt he or she had before. Gangs also offer belonging, protection, money, sex, and status. The majority of the children who become involved in such groups as gangs usually don't have a sense family or belonging to anyone, are lonely, are looking for friends, or take after their parents gang activity and involvement.
So parents, don’t let your babies grow up to be…. Gang members. :/