CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 24, 1989 |
The vanity license plates on Gus Frias' 1988 black BMW read EAST LOS--a message to his students from the barrio that they can achieve success. The plates, which identify his beginnings in a violent East Los Angeles neighborhood, are framed by a holder which reads "USC Alumni." It is Frias' message that education is a way out, a message he now preaches in Orange County schools. Frias, 33, who went from the barrio to earn a master's at USC and to study law for 3 years at UC Berkeley, works for the Orange County Department of Education as manager of Operation Safe Schools.
November 22, 1992 |
At age 17, when he lived in East Los Angeles' Maravilla housing project, Gus Frias lost his best friend in a gang ambush. Later, he recalls, an adult handed him a gun and demanded that he avenge the death. " 'If you want peace, you better wake up, because there is no such thing,' " Frias remembers being told. " 'If someone kills one of our own, the laws of the street demand pay-back.' " Many others might have committed the revenge killing, but Frias refused.
December 5, 1990 |
The front cover of Barrio Warriors is the first hint that you won't find light reading in this new community-written magazine. It portrays eight young men, all staring unflinchingly into the camera. Some are carrying rifles, the others schoolbooks, and at the bottom, the words: "Weapons of Wisdom Over Weapons of Death."
September 4, 1990 |
Why do young men and women join groups of apparently aimless, often angry and violent neighborhood youths? Because for many, the penalty for not becoming a "homeboy" or "homegirl" can mean anything from ostracism to death. And it is not an alliance one simply walks away from when one has had enough. The bonds are often blood bonds and such disloyalty is often considered the greatest sin. The consequences of this passion can be tragic.
October 17, 1993 |
My involvement with gang violence began in high school, when my best friend was murdered. It was the culmination of many killings. The majority of my friends were murdered through drugs and gang-related crimes. So I decided to commit my life to preventing young kids from killing each other, and to doing whatever I can--as an individual and as a participant in society--to identify key minds and resources and collectively do whatever we can to make a difference.
December 19, 1991
The City Council recently named five people to the city's Anti-Gang Committee. The members will be Esther Arellano, Gus Frias, Joseph Lopez, Ed Macias and Irma Munoz. The panel will review the gang situation in South El Monte, as well as assess and coordinate anti-gang programs, said Asst. City Manager Steve Henley. Three of the members will serve two-year terms and two will have one-year terms, to be decided by lot. Future members of the committee will be appointed for two-year terms.