Frontline: Violence, Gangs, & Turfs Conference

Posted Apr 1 2007

Pics from this fourth annual conference to help address youth violence in the Bay Area. Participants got to hear from community workers, youth, and former gang members of varying backgrounds. The conference addressed topics as diverse as ethnicity, immigration, gender, and capitalism. Some heavy hitters were in attendance.

Big names such as Jim Brown, Fred Hampton, Jr., and Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow shared their thoughts, but all of the presenters shared great information, even if they didn't have the celebrity-hood to back them up. Even when people contradicted each other, there was plenty of good food for thought. The point was to come up with workable solutions while examing the root causes of these issues.

Having said that, next year I'm hoping to see more female representation, more interactive workshops, and more representation from cities beyond San Francisco. Hopefully next year our school will be able to get involved. I left the conference, feeling good for the most part, and look forward to building with others at the conference as there was some great work done.

Some other personal highlights included seeing the likes of Fred Hampton, Jr. and director Kevin Epps at the conference as "regular people." What I mean is that I saw Hampton at workshops as an audience member, not just a panelist. I have been to numerous conferences and I rarely recall seeing a "celebrity" in the audience of a workshop, looking to gain some knowledge. I know that would be hard for someone like Michael Jackson, but most "stars" are not elevated to his status could learn a lot by participating on some non-celebrity level. I think seeing someone such as a rapper or actor as a participant would be quite motivating to people. To take this a step further, I didn't really see anyone from the "hip-hop circles" at the conference. There were a few, such as D-Nok, but it seems like when I go to conferences, unless it has the word "Hip Hop" somewhere, most of these hip hop folks are nowhere to be found.

Finally, I gained a whole new respect for the United Playaz organization. I've seen them around, but this was the most interaction I ever had with them and I was impressed, at many levels.

I'm looking forward to next year!


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