Luis Ocana, Atlanta, GA: I believe that gangs can really destroy your life. Once you’re in one there is no way getting out. Gangs control who you really are and what is around you. If you’re not in charge of the gang you’re basically a puppet to them. They don’t really care anything about you they just use you to spread the pride out and to do their chores. I was in sixth grade, I was convinced that being in a gang was cool and that I was going to have more respect than others in the school so I joined in. While I was in the guys in the gang that had more respect then me got to make me do whatever they wanted me to do for them. No matter what the order was I had to do because they did not take no for an answer. They would beat you tell you said yes or just kill you that same moment. This changed my personality with everything. My respect for others was just on the gang. In ninth grade I was involved into it and I had more respect then others and the ones that use to boss me around were now listening to me. You get more respect by the things you do for your gang. Being in the gang separated me from my family because once the homeboys invited me some where I had to go so I would sometimes not tell my mom I was going out and just walk out the house. School was basically the same I would sometimes not even go and my grades were terrible. I basically had no respect for my parents because they would talk to me and give me advices but I would just ignore them. Once I was half way through my ninth grade year I started to realize what the gang had done to me so I decided to try to back away from it as much as I can. Now I still hang out with the homeboys but I view the things around me differently than I use to. What I have learn in this years about being in a gang is that if you don’t try to back away from it there is only two places you can live the graveyard and jail.
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