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Denver OG Blood turns Hip-Hop Activist

Gangs....in Denver? I know that many of you don't think of Crips and Bloods when you think of Denver, but actually gangs have been in Denver since the early 80's, and the violence and bloodshed has hit low income communities of color really hard.  For those who wonder why a place like Denver would have a gang problem, look no further than the same reasons why gangs exist in large metro areas: racism, lack of jobs, poor education, no support systems, to name a few. Any place that has poverty has a potential for gangs to form. In the words of ex Denver OG Crip Jay Mason, "when you're a kid trying to eat, you'll do anything to survive." But out of the ashes of the dead has arisen several leaders who refuse to see young black and brown people die on the streets of Denver. Terrance Roberts paid his dues, said good-bye to bangin' after doing nine years, and now has a non-profit organization to empower young people to make better choices about their futures. The Prodigal Son Initiative works because Terrance still gets mad respect on the streets. For us, by us is the name of the game and the young folks listen when an OG speaks, and has the scars to prove he is lucky to be alive. Serving major time in the pen, Jay Mason walked out a free man with 5 paralegal degrees under his belt, and has used his extraordinary self-taught gift of illustration to bring enlightenment and beauty to the world. These two used to be on opposite sides, an OG Blood and an OG Crip; but now, they have joined together to shift the paradigm of opportunity. These are two examples of strong men who went through a gang war, and came up on the other side, determined to manifest their power differently. And we are all the better for it.  Big up to all OG's determined to live righteously, despite the oppressive systems that continue to try and break marginalized communities down. You are my hero's.  Peace, love, and freedom. JLove

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