From the Knowledge is Power Blog on Power106.com
by: Wendy Carrillo
Alfred Lomas, a former gang member dressed in his Sunday best showed up at Power 106 this weekend for an interview on Knowledge is Power. Lomas, who is the mastermind and spokesperson for the controversial www.lagangtours.com took questions from our listeners and addressed concerns over his project.
I met Alfred earlier this month when I jumped on a big bus with tinted windows and took the tour. We made our way from The Dream Center in Echo Park to the LA River, to the Downtown Jails, to Skid Row, to South LA, to Pico Union and back.
Having lived in East LA and South LA myself, I was curious to see what he would do or say. How would he address the issue? What are the correlations of gangs, prison and youth?
The community of South Los Angeles is no stranger to gang violence he noted. Notorious gangs like Florencia 13, Bloods and Crips, amongst others, have been a staple in the community and have severely impacted the lives of residents.
“It’s a civil war right in our own backyard,” Alfred said.
While the community is plagued with low performing schools, littered with liquor stores, riddled with drugs, alcohol, poverty and prostitution, gang life is no longer something that you’re jumped into, it’s something you’re born into.
Some have said that what Alfred is doing is wrong, that he has created a safari-like tour exploiting low income blacks and Latinos.
From what I noted, Alfred, along with his team of former gang members turned interventionists, are taking the issue into their own hands. Alfred has negotiated a “cease-fire” agreement with the gangs and this tour he hopes, will raise awareness on a real level. There is no photography or video taping allowed on the tour, no one gets off to talk to “locals.” The educational experience is on the bus, as Alfred and his crew explain the social and economical conditions that have historically plagued South LA. and allowed for gangs to flourish.
Per the website:
The mission of LA GANG TOURS is to provide an unforgettable historical experience for our customers with a customized high-end specialty tour. We will provide customers with a true first-hand encounter of the history and origin of high profile gang areas and the top crime scene locations in South Central, Los Angeles. Each tour bus for LA GANG TOURS will have a guide from the South Central areas who has gained hands-on knowledge and experience of the inner city lifestyle.
The objective is to create jobs for the residents of South Central, Los Angeles; to give profits from the tours back to these areas for economic growth and development, provide job/entrepreneur training, micro-financing opportunities and to specialize in educating people from around the world about the Los Angeles inner city lifestyle, gang involvement and solutions. This project will create opportunities to contribute to the economic health of South Central and the tools needed to access the American market.
So what do you think?
Listen to the interview and weigh in!