I grew up in South Central LA. It's where my family is, it's where many of my friends are and it's where I learned to play basketball. Having grown up in this area, I know what it's like to be surrounded by gang violence, so when Stacy Peralta approached me to produce his documentary, Crips and Bloods: Made in America, I jumped at the chance to get involved. I had two goals for the film. First, I wanted to show people about why we have gangs in our inner cities, because unless you understand the history you can't address the issue. And second, I wanted to show people what we can do to resolve this.
Until we stop looking at these kids as monsters we will never break the cycle of gang violence. People need to understand that in communities in which family units have broken apart and there are few, if any, economic opportunities, gangs become like surrogate families, identities.
Throwing people in jail is not going to solve this problem. As NFL great and youth advocate Jim Brown says in our film, "If more police or jails were the solution, the problem would have been fixed 30 years ago." If we are going to address this issue in a meaningful way, we need a new approach.
You can read what Baron is advocating by rest of his post here.
I am sure not everyone on BN will agree with solutions Baron is advancing. That is fine. What is really cool to me is to see an athlete like Baron reaching out in so many ways to give back to his community. There is so much more to him than just basketball.
I truly wish we had gotten a chance to see Baron playing under Coach Howland. That would have been some treat. Of course Baron hasn't been shy in speaking out against the poser he had to play under for two years:
"As reported by Bay Area blogger Geoff Lepper of the Contra Costa Times, former UCLA point guard Baron Davis looked into the rafters at Pauley Pavilion last Friday during the Golden State Warriors' morning shoot-around and said, "We should have a banner up there: the only team to make the tournament without a coach." . . .
Somewhere, surely, Steve Lavin's ears were burning."
Yet somehow not all Bruins (or at least the Bruins leading the "UCLA Athletics Club of Orange County") were paying attention during those dark years.
Let's end the killing in our inner cities -- let's work together for a better and more peaceful future.
Here is one Bruin seconding another.