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Homicide perspectives: Kenny Mitchell, founder, Gangsters Anonymous

October 19, 2007 | 11:11 pm

Mitchell_kenny_of_ga_2 "Through gang life, we tried to avoid reality, pain and misery.... We sought relief through retaliation, extortion, and robbery more and more often....

"We reached a point in our lives where we felt like a lost cause.... We were sick and tired of pain and trouble; we were frightened and hid our fear.... When nothing relieved our paranoia and fear, we hit bottom and became ready to ask for help."

--from the unreleased "Gangsters Anonymous: Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions"

Kenny Mitchell, 44, is a longshoreman and the founder of Gangster's Anonymous. He believes the solution to homicide lies in changing the thinking of gang members through a 12-step program. (Photo by Glenn Koenig/LAT)

HR: What is Gangsters Anonymous?

Mitchell: It's a 12-step program, based on Alcoholics Anonymous. We are recovering gangsters who meet to help each other stay crime-free. We believe the gangster mentality is a disease--a mental disorder. We are sick. We suffer from a criminal mentality. But recovery is our responsibility. 

HR: How did Gangsters Anonymous get started?

Mitchell: I grew up in Los Angeles. 54th and Main, then Carson, then Inglewood. My mother was single. She was a drunk. I started hanging out with a gang when I was 7 years old. It was the thing to do--like a legacy, like you had no choice. It was mainly guys hanging out. There was a dress code. I had a khaki suit--it was the early '70s! And I would get my hair pressed and curled.... Everything I did I got in trouble for.... I ended up at Morningside High (in Inglewood). I had been Crippin' but now I was in a Blood gang with my brother. We beat up people. We picked on the tough guys. You could get the girls that way.... I graduated on the honor roll with a 3.3 GPA and lettered in pole vaulting--

HR: That doesn't sound like a gang banger.

Ga_one_day_at_a_time Mitchell: I'm a gangster, not an idiot! You see the low-bottom gang members a lot in the media. But others are well-spoken and doing well in their lives. It wouldn't work otherwise. Who would want to follow the low-bottom guys? A lot of these successful guys also commit robberies.

Anyway, I went to Grambling State. I got stabbed twice there. They said I was "dead on arrival" at the hospital, but somehow I lived.... After that I beat up a guy real bad. Real bad. I got kicked out of Grambling.... I joined the Navy, and three or four months later, I got 70 days in the brig. Then I went AWOL.... When I was 30, I was on my way to jail. I had a fight with an 18-year-old guy, and he beat my ass. I woke up in the hospital....That's when I got involved with AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)....

I got sober, but my disease, my gangster mentality, began to get worse. I needed something more. Something that focused on my criminal behavior. I was having suicidal thoughts. I was having homicidal thoughts. I began to have nightmares. To wake up sweating. Insane thoughts of criminal behavior....

One day, I was doing my fourth step with my sponsor, who was also a gangster. We got to the part about being powerless, and I said to him, "We need this for us! If I'd had someone tell me this long ago, I wouldn't live wanting to control everything around me.' ... Years later, I sat down with the blue book (the handbook of Alcoholics Anonymous) and I almost rewrote every page. Our first meeting was in 2001 at a barbershop on Western. The police came and accosted the gangsters who came!... We saw a need to recover as gangsters, and to show the world we can recover. We have been meeting ever since.

HR: What does it mean to recover from the "gangster mentality" ?

Gabig_blue_book Mitchell: It's about showing people how to live life one day at a time, crime-free--no matter what. It doesn't matter what you call yourself, whether you're a pimp, player, hustler. It's a disease, a mental disorder. For many gangsters, it has to do with post-traumatic stress. For me, it meant my instant solution to all problems was to be aggressive. It's about control. It's about not being a buster. I had to learn to be buster, to be square.

Before, I couldn't stand that! I couldn't stand to see a normal dude with his shirt tucked into his pants. I had to get past feeling weak. I had to stop lifting weights! I have finally started wearing a seatbelt. I never could before, because I always thought, I have to be able to get out of the car quick.

I still can't bring myself to tuck in my shirt. I still suffer from that gangster sh--. I know I cannot get angry. It's like in AA--how you can't have just one drink. If I get angry, I end up committing crimes.

HR: So much of 12-step philosophy has to to with accepting powerlessness. Isn't that especially difficult for people to whom being powerless might mean getting shot?

Ga_live_and_let_live Mitchell: We talk about it all the time in meetings. That idea of weakness. Committing crimes looks like strength to gangsters. I tell them, "A whole lot of days you will feel weak. Put down. If you stop doing your crime of choice--guns, robbery--you will feel weak." It makes them feel they could become victimized. But I tell them, what's wrong with being weak? Should we kill all weaklings? Don't weak people have an opportunity to live in our society?'

And recovery isn't weak. You will feel weak. But you have to get past it. You see, no one has taught us how to do it. How not to be aggressive. I tell these guys, "When a brother is upset with you, say, 'How are you doing? And you shake his hand.' " They have to be taught how to become squares. How to become normal people--to detox. To become approachable, employable. The kind of person who can earn money, or start his own business. Our weakness turns into a brick that becomes the strength to build our future.

It's why it's good the hip-hop culture is waking up and teaching us it is OK to be square. We need to have them teach us how to be Run-DMC rather than a killer rapper. We already know gangster. We don't know square. No one has taught us how to do it. It's not easy.

HR
: You talk about the gangster mentality making men feel powerful. But a lot of gangsters seem so unhappy.

Mitchell:  Yes. There are a lot of slices to the pie. There are people with no emotion, no fear--into their car, their jewelry. But other guys feel the misery and fear. Those guys are the epitome of normal people! That is a normal person's reaction to this. Those are the guys who are trapped--they are normal people trapped among people who have no heart.

Mitchell_kenny_3HR: What about all those women who used to like you better when you fought?

Mitchell
: These woman suffer from the same disease. I was on a date the other night, and you know what she said to me? She said, "I love the gangsters. That's why I love you!" (Shakes head).

I would not date a woman that suffers the same disease that I have. But the ones who don't have it--the square ones--aren't attracted to a guy like me! So I go home alone (laughs). I am just a boring individual now. But I'm free.

See also Homicide Perspectives: Derrick Bell

For meetings and other information about Gangsters Anonymous, e-mail GA.global@yahoo.com.


The comments to this entry are closed.

Comments (35)

this is a good thing going on i wish more brother take heed to this and join. Just like you joined that gang. It's becomes sad when these kid are young and they join a gang then grow up in the gang, they start having kids and want out this is the perfect place. However we have to start this thing in early childhood. Keep up the good work.

This interview is a real eye-opener. It really puts a whole new perspective on the gangster life. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it is a disease, or even the individual's fault, but rather it is society's fault and how the gangster "community" is nothing more than misunderstood. I guess just because someone vandalizes or commits some sort o crime then that does not make them a victim, but in truth it does. People just see a criminal, but we should really just try and question why they did what they did and try to help them not do it again.

i have to commend you i am a black mom from the hood i raised 6 boys and 1 girl my girl is the oldest i stayed in the same neighborhood raising these kids for the simple reason i had this thought that if i kept them from having to be moved around to different areas then they would be familiar with there surroundings and would not get harrassed about where they are from and all that other drama that comes with it my boys were 5 and 6 and 4 and now these young men are 22 and 23 and here comes the sad part due to gang violence my 18 yr old son was murdered on10-2-06 and his 19th birthday was 10-5-06 he was starting his second job that friday on his birthday 10-5 he was not a bad kid yes i went to the schools when he had problems but i went for all the boys including my daughter, so now i have my 23yr old son who was convicted of 10 yrs in prison and he's been their 5 1/2 years and he was involved in the gangs i did not fault myself for his wrongdoings because i knew he was one out of the bunch that was so hardheaded and i would warn him and as sure as i preached to him well he ended up in prison so i thought ok the son who was involved he is where he should be and so on but it came back to haunt my family the gamg members from a rival gang came and killed my son for speaking to a group of men who were congregating across the streets and they could not shoot at these guys so they saw my son and shot him at 6:15 pm and this kid was into church every sunday he was a videographer for the youth ministry and he did not miss but 3 sundays in 3 yrs at the church this is so hurtful i just want them to know that if they truly cared about their own mom why would you want to break another mother's heart. where is the solution? help!!!!

The War on Drugs ravages black communities by making the gangs so powerful. Give it up! Starting with the blatantly hypocritical war for alcohol supremacy over far less dangerous marijuana.

Kenny man, you'll never be a buster no matter how square you become. You've got both the courage to confront your inner demons and the leadership qualities to help others do the same.

I'm fourteen years clean, and even knowing the power of 12 step programs, I still can't help but roll my eyes when I hear about some new program for yet another human obsession/compulsion. But everything I read above about GA is such a perfect fit for the 12 steps: gangster mentality *IS* a mental disease. Props to you for the insight and self-awareness to make the connections. The whole key to the gangster mentality is the dilemma of powerlessness.

I would highly recomend anyone suffering from the lifestyle of crime and violence, to get in contact , and involved with this Brother, he has a genuine concern about our community. Keep up the good work comrade!
Taco

With all due respect, it seems that an anonymous program should keep it's members anonymous, including the founder.

Although I'm glad to hear this program exists, I was very disturbed to see the lack of respect for the concept of anonymity demonstrated on the part of The Times and the founder; anonymity is the foundation of all 12-step programs and permits recovering persons the freedom and the safety to heal from their traumas and sickness

Thanks to all with positive responses to the G.A. Fellowship. I will respond to all requests. I apologize to those who may feel that I should not have allowed this article to come out, I truly believe that someone had to let the world know that We Do Recover. Please continue to support the still suffering gangster on his journey to a crime free life. We need all the support we can get. Legislation has just been passed to keep Parole Agents from sending Parolees to any type of Program unless they request it. Crime has been gradually falling for the last Five years, if it continues there will be a major cry out from the Non gangsters. We can not allow recovery to be stunted. Please Everyone do not let them block recovery. It works!!! Newcomers do not have the understanding needed to make such a request they will walk right pass their freedom keys and reopen their doors to crime and all it offers.

Who's at "fault" for the "gangster lifestyle" is irrelevant for those trapped in it.

A solution on how to get out of it for the individual is the only relevant thing.

It's good to see that someone who has actually lived the Gang Bang, is trying to help someone else get their minds right. I see youth everyday believing in the negativity of gang life, losing their freedom and their lives on a daily basis. It's hard for mainstream society to understand because they really don't want to address the surrounding elements that make gang life so appealing to kids It's good that Mr. Mitchell has decided to step up and do his part. All women love strong men, that's not to say they have to be violent. Good women also love men who can stand alone and hold their own-- non violently of course. The best weapon you posses is your mind, it's great to see someone using theirs.....Kudos to you.... MsO

You are so right...Gangster Mentality Is Mental Dis-Ease! It eats into the very soul of anyone young or old who does not know of any way out of the path of it's destruction...And rather that appearing weak, they fall prey to an image of (someone who is engulfed in the Dis-Ease ) self -hatred. This hatred just keeps manifesting generation after generation . Perhaps, this book along with your organization will start to heal the wound from within so that the Dis-Ease can be stopped from its destructive path of total genocide.

I grew up in the same type of neighborhood. I was able to avoid the negative consequences because of my parents. Gang influence was no match to having a strong loving dad in the house. I viewed gang members as individuals with no home training. Sadly enough, the public policies and social engineering (jail ,welfare, demonization and victimhood) undertaken by the larger society have effectively eliminated the strong black male from the family equation. The results are a far cry from the stable black families that were the norm prior to 1980.

Great idea - I wish you all the best in developing this program.

I'm a middle-aged white woman living overseas. I grew up in a small town in California that was mostly Latino and had a serious gang problem, even 30 years ago.

The description of the ganster lifestyle as a disease makes a lot of sense. It's no surprise that kids who get involved in this lifestyle come from difficult circumstances and are in a lot of pain. The sad thing is that living the gang lifestyle doesn't seem to sooth the pain but only makes it worse with constant fear, death, injury, grieving for friends, prison time and no hope for a good future.

The sad thing is that through rap music a lot of middle class kids idealize the gang lifestyle. I can only imagine what would happen if one of these kids actually spent some time on the streets of LA and saw what it was really like.

Dull is good! Bless you and good luck.

God bless you. I have always wondered how the 12-steps could help troubled black America (Racism Anonymous?), but Gangster Anonymous? B-r-i-l-l-i-a-n-t. I hope it catches on and knowing the power of AA, Al-Anon, CODA, etc., I won't be surprised when it does.

Knowing that you are making a difference in your community should be enough to put you mind at ease. Reading your article, hits home to many. If only we could see what a difference this type of program could make, and come together as a community. Things need to be done for these men, women, and children involved in this life style. They see no hope, and no outlet. Change is the only thing that will keep these people out of jail and death. How many more bodies do we have to see cold before we realize how much can be done. If only there could be programs for men in the prison systems to inform them of the possibilities they have when they get out. To stop brown on brown hate crimes, the white man is laughing as we perish in front of their eyes. They like watching us kill ourselves.

I hate to add anything remotely negative to this story but I have to agree with other posters on the anonymity. The story itelf running is perfectly okay, I think. However, Kenny *M.* you are probably aware of Bill W. being asked to appear on the cover of Life (or Time?) and refusing. They said, "How about with your back to the camera--symbolically anonymous"--"Nope."

I am a professional person doing research for a paper. I have always been open minded and never judgemental. I must tell "everyone" (in the program) needs to be commended! It is very hard to "break the cycle" and all involved have! Most of all are trying and attending towards a positive movement.
Mr. K. Mitchell, is a product of his environment but he chose to change. That is a gift he has not only given to "himself" but "each person" he helps (through the program).
I have not lived a "wonderful" life. My childhood was not good at all. Later in my 20's I thought I was in the right place. Now as I look back, I was not. Until I became 39 yrs. of age, I grew into "my true self'. I owe God and myself.
I know this group will guide so many people, who need a chance. I believe that sometimes we are the product of society. There are many factors and variables. The most important is "waking up" and changing!
I will pray for everyone, epecially Mr. K. Mitchell.
Kenneth, if you need feedback please feel free.You are todays "Man of the Year."
God Bless!
K.B.B.


I AM A FORMER GANGMEMBER.....WELL, BY POLICE I WILL ALWAYS BE ONE.....BUT IM JUST ANOTHER GANGMEMBER WHO WAKES UP AT NIGHT...HAVING SERIOUS "DREAMONS"...THATS WHAT I CALL THEM...BUT I THINK THE BEST WAY FOR SOMEONE TO RECOVER FROM THIS TYPE OF RELIGION....IS TO GIVE HIM A GOOD SHOT AT SUCCESS...I DONT MEAN MAKING RICH....JUST GIVE HIM A TRUE OPPORTUNITY TO QUESTION WHETHER HE WILL LET THAT CHANCE GO OR IS HE GONNA PUSH HIS LUCK...IM SURE SOME, IF NOT MOST OF YOU...KNOW MY FRIENDS JUST GOT PICKED UP BY THE F.B.I. IN THE MCARTHUR PARK AREA....I THINK PERSONALLY....JUST GIVE HIM A GOOD JOB....SHUT UP ABOUT HIS BACKGROUND, EXPERIENCE AND RECORD....JUST GIVE HIM THE JOB AND WATCH AND SEE......

HI, IT'S ME AGAIN.....BUT LIKE I SAID.....IF YOU GUYS TAKE A LOOK AT THIS GUY....NOT THAT IM SAYING ANYTHING BAD.....IM JUST SAYING....OBVIOUSLY HE'S LIVING A HAPPY LIFE.....SEE, SOMEONE GAVE HIM THAT OPPORTUNITY.....WHEN YOU'RE GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY THATS GONNA MAKE YOU WEIGH THE TRUE WEIGHT OF BOTH SIDES....I DONT CARE WHO YOU ARE....YOU RATHER BE LEGIT AND LEGAL.....CAUSE ALOT OF THE REASONS WHY GANGSTERS ONLY TURN TO DRUGS IS BECAUSE FINANCIALLY THEY ARE NOT GONNA DO IT CAUSE LIKE I SAID BEFORE....THEIR RECORD, INEXPERIENCE, OR LIFE.....BUT YOU SEE....SOCIETY NEEDS TO UNDERSTAND THAT ONLY WANTING EDUCATED PEOPLE OR NON-GANGSTERS.....KEEPS THE REAL NEEDY OUT OF POSSIBILITIES AND REASSURES THE G'Z THAT THEY AINT NO HOPE...I TELL FROM FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE....JUST TO BE CLEAR AND TO SHOW THAT I AINT LYING....I COME FROM THE MACARTHUR PARK AREA....."6TH ST AND ALVARADO" TO BE EXACT....I KNOW WHAT LIFE IN A GANG IS....I KNOW WHAT BEING REJECTED FROM CIVILIZATION IS.....I KNOW WHAT IS LIKE TO NOT HAVE MANY OPTIONS TO MAKE MONEY IS....I KNOW WHAT LOSING PEOPLE IS...I KNOW EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF THE GANG LIFE IS WITH SO MUCH DETAIL....YOU JUST WONT BELEIVE HOW A MIND LIKE THAT BECOMES BECAUSE OF SO MUCH LOYALTY AND DEDICATION..IM NOT GONNA SIT HERE AND LIE MY ASS OFF........BUT SOME PEOPLE JUST DONT UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS SOME GANGSTERS WHO JUST WON'T EVER GO THRU THAT PATH BECAUSE OF THEIR ''LOYALTY AND DEDICATION''.....AND THOSE ARE THE G'Z WHO (((MUST))) BE PRESENTED WITH A JOB AND A ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH PEOPLE SHOW THAT THEY WANNA GET HIM A JOB AND JUST PLAIN AND SIMPLE (((HELP))) HIM.....I KNOW THAT IT SOUNDS LIKE JUST A JOB?.....BUT SEE THIS IS THE SECRET.....ONCE YOU JUST HAND HIM A JOB....NOT ANY TYPE OF JOB....DONT THINK YOU'RE GONNA GIVE HIM A BURGER-FLIPPIN JOB AND EXPECT HIM TO THANK LIFE....NAW! HELLNAW!! I KNOW SOME OF YOU ARE THINKING.....HE SHOULD BE THANKFUL HE GOT A JOB. BUT LET ME GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE YOU REALLY SAY THAT....DO YOU REALLY THINK ITS WORTH SEEING ANOTHER CASUALTY OF URBAN GANG WARFARE BECAUSE WE JUST CANT SEEM TO GIVE SOMEONE A JOB AND JUST HELP WHETHER IT TAKES TIME OR NOT! SOCIETY ITSELF JUST FEELS LIKE THEY JUST DONT HAVE THE TIME TO DO IT...BUT SEE....SOMEBODY NEEDS TO START SOMEWHERE AND EXCEPT THE FACT THAT....ONCE YOU GIVE HIM A JOB WHERE HE CAN'T REFUSE......YOU NEED TO HAVE THE RIGHT TYPE OF COUNSELING FROM REAL GANGSTERS WHO NOT ONLY LIVE THAT LIFE...BUT TRUST ME.....NOT ANYBODY CAN PUT THIS TYPE OF LIFESTYLE IN WORDS.....AS WE ALL KNOW....THIS IS A VERY COMPLICATED DARK UNDERWORLD...IN WHICH ONLY THE ONES THAT LIVE IT......CAN SEE IN THE DARKNESS!!!!....I LAUGH WHEN I SEE WHITE PEOPLE OR SQUARE PEOPLE TOUCHING THE SUBJECT WITHOUT EVER SETTING FOOT ON IT...I KNOW THAT COMMON SENSE AND REASONING CAN HELP THIS ISSUE...BUT ITS US WITH DETAILED MENTALITIES ABOUT THE SUBJECT THAT NEED TO BE THE DRIVING FORCE IN THIS MATTER..IN WHICH OTHER GANGMEMBERS WILL RECOGNIZE FROM THE GET GO....THAT THIS G KNOWS WHATS UP.....I LAUGH WHEN I SEE OTHER GANGMEMBERS....TRYING TO ANSWER THESE TYPES OF SUBJECT AND ONLY END UP SHOWING PEOPLE THAT GANGSTERS JUST ARE ALL PLAIN STUPID....IM NOT CRITICIZING THE EFFORT...I CRITICIZE THE INABILITY TO RESPOND WITH SUCH EMOTION AND FEELING TO THE SUBJECT!!!!!THERE'S WAY MORE TO THIS SUBJECT....BUT TO KEEP IT SIMPLE AND REAL WITH ALL OF YOU....ALL WE NEED IS THAT ONE JOB WE CAN'T REFUSE AND THE RIGHT MOTIVATING ADVISE FROM THE LEGITIMATE GANGSTERS IN WHICH THEY REALLY WANNA MAKE A DIFFERENCE......AND PLEASE, PLEASE, NOT TO BE MEAN OR ANYTHING....STOP SUPPORTING THE PHONEY GANGSTERS WHO STEP UP TO THE PLATE AND TRY TO GIVE ANSWERS....THE REASON I SAY THIS IS BECAUSE I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT ONCE THEY HEAR THE LAME GANGSTERS TALK ABOUT IT AND ACT LIKE THEY KNOW WHATS UP.....THAT IS WHAT MAKES THIS TYPE OF SUBJECT BORING, LAME, AND RIDICULOUS IN THE EYES AND MINDS OF THOSE WHO TRULLY SEEK A VERY THOROUGH AND REAL ANSWER TO SUCH QUESTIONS AND SUBJECT....JUST THOUGHT I SHARE THIS THOUGHT WITH ALL OFYOU AND TOUCH THE SUBJECT SINCE IM ANOTHER GANGSTER WHO HAS EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER....TRUST ME ON THIS ONE!!!!

I think a gang offers alot of things people don't get at home.
It is sad to think that a life of crime and violence seems better in some ways.
I was never in a gang. Just bitter and angry most all my young adult years.
I am almost fifty now. I think back of all the people I hurt. Including my family
and my children. All those years wasted. I was never any help to anyone.
Just negative. My upbringing had something to do with it. But I had choices.
I had people who tried to help me. Give me advice. I would not listen.
All I want to do now is good. No mater what the cost. No mater what it takes.
To live in peace. And try to be a good grandfather if I can do that. I thank God that I am given some time to try again to change. I have already come close to dying more times than I remember. I would not wish my life on anyone. I wish I could warn younger people before they waste their life like I did being angry. I work with Mr. Marshal. We love him.......

I personally know Kenny and i have seen the transformation of this young man. He use to have a very bad temper and now he's very calm. I think we need more young men like Kenny to sit down with our youth to help them see that there is another way and not the way of the gun. Gang banging is a genocide which for some reason has manifested more and more.
Kenny keep your head up and strive to be all that you can be and to have the insight to start a program to de program gangsters i take my hat off to you.

Those of us who do not die from the ill thinking will go on to prison, mental institutions, or complete demoralization as the ill thinking progresses. Gangster life had given us the feeling that we could handle whatever situation might develop. We became aware, however, that a gangster’s mentality was largely responsible for some of our worst predicaments. Some of us may spend the rest of our lives in jail for a crime induced by a gangster thought. We had to reach our bottom before we were willing to stop. We were finally motivated to seek help in the latter stage of our living with a gangster’s reality. Then it was easier for us to see the destruction, disaster, and delusion of a gangster and the thoughts that follow. It was harder to deny our lifestyle when problems were staring us in the face. Some of us first saw the effects of our lifestyle on the people closest to us. Our little brothers and sisters began to mimic our dangerous behavior in some cases, our children. We were very dependent on our family or on our gangster friends to carry us through life. We felt angry, disappointed and hurt when they found other interests, friends, and loved ones. Our lifestyles enslaved us. We were prisoners of our own mind, and were condemned by our own guilt. We gave up the hope that we would ever stop committing crimes or thinking like a gangster. Our attempts to stay straight always failed, causing us pain and misery. As gangsters, we have an incurable illness centered in our thinking. The illness is chronic, progressive and most often fatal. However, it is a treatable illness. We begin to treat our thinking by not using a gangster solution to an everyday life problem. Many of us sought answers but failed to find any workable solution until we found each other. Once we identified ourselves as gangsters, help became possible. We can see a little of ourselves in every gangster and see a little of them in us. This insight lets us help one another. Our future seemed hopeless until we found crime free men and women. The people in the G.A. program told us that they were recovering gangsters who had learned to live without committing crimes and gangster solutions. If they could do it, so could we.

This is another great example of community leaders, such as this former gang member, making a change. These stories happen everyday across America, in every inner city. I'm not surprised to read about this. Praise this brother for his leadership. Support his efforts. There is an army of black men taking the lead in neighborhoods from Boston to Compton. I'm a testament myself. Stay optimistic.

Shame on you for not posting the feelings of everyone who lives in South Central. I know you want this program to succeed, however, it is important for people to know that not everyone in the "hood" subscribes to this continuous cowardly attitude that you have to be weak to be a man.

What scares me more than anything is that many youths will not heed the conversion of change simply because of the "core" beliefe in this program of being "weak". I cannot stress that word enough because it is simply ignorant to teach others that that is what is necessary in order to be a man.

More than the concerns I stated above, is the "selectiveness" you have chosen in posting the comments of people who live in this neighborhood and how they see life where they live. On many of the stories posted on the homicide report people who don't live here always say "why don't you guys stop complaining, and take your communities back?" This question is a very good one, it speaks volumes! I know this is one program of many, however the glorification of being "weak" to change is repulsive! It is also counter productive as to making AA men take responsibility for their actions BEFORE they become murderers, drug sellers and thieves.

Shame on you, shame on you...you have now turned my attention to this program...and it's dismanteling!

KeepItReal!

Kenny Mitchell is a very brave man, and should not be chastised for stepping out as the founder of an "anonymous" program. The basis for the anonymity is to allow a person to get the help they need without having to deal with the repercussions of a less feeling and sensitive society. I've read and re-read the article and he only describes his feelings and experiences with the program. No other participant is named or referred to, and that's the way anonymous programs work. He has not hurt the program by revealing his personal role in it. He has helped it by letting people know that such a thing exists. I was aware of all the (blank)-anonymouses. I was unaware of this one until I saw this article, and I would not hesitate to refer someone to it who could use the assistance.

Not wishing to stray too far from the topic, I noticed a poster go on about how a man will do much better if he's given a "good job" - not one flipping burgers. I have lived in South Los Angeles all of my life. I went to school with many, many kids who did not go to class. I went to class with kids who sat around, clowned around and did little or none of the work. I am curious to know what has become of them post high school. I, however, had to fill out job applications, go to interviews, and if, then EARNING the job, had to do the work that they asked me...even if it was flip that burger, move that desk, or go deliver this mail. I don't do any of those things now, because I've worked hard and learned what I needed to do to be promoted away from those things that I don't want to do. Even as I move through the ranks, I see people who barely do their jobs or do nothing to make themselves promotable. Now, as I work with youth, it saddens me to listen to them complain about not being able to get a job when they are 20+ years old and did not finish high school, or complain about the quality of their job or pay when they refused to educate themselves further. Unless you were born into some position of priviledge, you won't be (and still may not be) given any job. You will have to do some work to get it. I am in a good position because I chose to be. I can't say it's the best position I could be in, but I refused to make choices that involved bettering myself through criminal acts and/or hurting people.

Thanks KM for continuing to allow the 12 step program work in your life because without it....G/A would not be where it is today. I remember when
we first met (House Of Uhuru) back in 1995 on Thursdays at noon. When a
ex-hustler meets an ex-gangster....there's always an immediate eye of respect for one another and I'm grateful that you have looked beyond your
personal wants & sought out to give back what our community desparately needs. Keep doing what you're doing my Brotha! To those who find it necessary to analyze & criticize the annonimity of HIS program.....LET ME SAY THIS.....'' It's A B....CH trying to work 24 steps! Just focus on your program!

I am a member of a 12 step fellowship in the UK (Cocaine Anonymous) and the program has completely changed my life around - from a hopless mess who ruined the lives of anyone that got near me i am now a productive member of society. The 12 step program can help many people as long as it has its own primary purpose - in this case to help other gangsters recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.

Whilst i understand peoples concern about the lack of anonymity with the founder of Gangsters Anonymous i find it ironic that Kenny has been slated for this as Bill W and Dr Bob were hardly anonymous, practically everyone knows the story of how AA was founded and many books and even movies have been made depicting the early days of AA, Bill W had a serious ego problem (as do all people suffering from a mental and spiritual dis-ease) and Dr Bob was often the one holding Bill W back!

It sounds like Kenny is doing his VERY best with the 12 step philosophy of 'Trust God, clean house and help others'

Well done Kenny and good luck with your step 12 and tradition 5! May many more find the peace and serenity that 12 step fellowships have to offer.

God bless xXx

Add Christ and you will be "set" for life.

Yes! - this does sound like the spark which may begin a change. Post Truamatic Stress Syndrom and its aftermath seem a probable hypothesis. This would seem the direction in which the UC system should address studies so they may be presented to the state representatives for funding at the prisons and for programs within the neighborhoods.

I find the shaping ability of woman partricularly interesting 'We beat up people. We picked on the tough guys. You could get the girls that way.... " Its interesting how nature plays a role as well. But at its core is this choice, do I sleep with man that is dysfunctional to our community or do I sleep with a man that functions within the community? The mind chooses dysfunctionality as a grasp at what you theorize to be most important - the illusion of control and power as a narcotic affect.

This sounds like an answer.

contact me if you got info on the program, i am curious to who is claiming the origination of this program

myspace url

http://www.myspace.com/officialgreyjay

does anyone know where are meetings are held here in Los Angeles, Ca area please if you know can you email me any information that you mite have.

Thank you

Nancy

I'm 44 yrs old and I've been active in crime sense my youth, I've always been a part of the problem now I'd like to became a part of the solution. I currently have 22 charges pending and the realty of going back to prison hit me like a ton of bicks. I have 8 children a wonderful wife and I need to be here for my family, I've truly repent to God, I feel bad about the accual crime and not going to jail and about leaving my family before it never acurd to me to feel anything, the bottom line is I'd like to start a chapter here where I live in Detroit, if theirs anyone that could I'm open to the suggestions.

THANKS IN ADVANCE
DARRYL HARRIS

It's most likely the gangsta rappers fault and drugs, weed etc.... well not the rapper himself, What they're rapping about and showing off jewellery and stuff, most people want to be like them but not all are like that. Their would be less crime in the world if their was no hard gangsta rap & all the drugs



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