Why Do Teens Join Gangs? Community Leaders Weigh In

May. 29, 2014 / By

On May 12 & 13, community stakeholders from across California came together at the LA Gang Violence Prevention & Intervention Conference to focus on addressing the root causes of gang violence, and highlighting solutions that address those root causes. This includes the multiple environmental impacts and social determinants that push young people into gang involvement, such as early childhood trauma, poverty, traumatized communities, addiction/addiction to the lifestyle, parenting, structural racism, abuse – including sexual abuse, substance abuse and mental health, and the culture of violence and gang violence in communities.

VoiceWaves asked participants, “Why do teens join gangs?” Check out the video above to see their responses.

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Adalhi Montes

As a teenager, Adalhi began volunteering at many programs helping our communities become healthier and safer to provide resources to people in need. He was involved with Weed and Seed in Central Long Beach and is a youth mentor for the California Conference for Equality and Justice. Adalhi is also in the process of completing the neighborhood leadership program at the Advanced Organizing Institute and is studying Radio and television broadcasting at LBCC. In the future, he looks forward to joining the Marine Corps and continuing his education.