Local Gang Hangs It Up
By Brian W. CarterSentinel Staff Writer
We constantly hear about gangs shooting up our neighborhoods or shooting up each other in the news. We've passed by in our cars, rubber-necking as we see gang members against the wall or being read their rights. We've seen all these images time and time again... but we rarely, if ever see a gang member publicly announce a change.
Deaundre Mclaine armed with a group of local supporters came to the Sentinel to announce that change. Mclaine, a member of the Southside Compton Crips, has decided that enough is enough. He's stated that the gang is ready to "throw in their rags." Mclaine is calling for a cease-fire among the gangs within the Compton community.
Avery Deon Cody Sr., CEO of the Avery Cody Jr. foundation, is a youth advocate and supporter. Cody took it upon himself to support Mclaine and his cause. "It started a few months ago with my son," said Cody, "my son had got killed by the Sheriffs." Mclaine and his support group hope to reclaim the community from the violence and unrest that continues to plague our communities.
"I started going out, talking in different neighborhoods," said Cody. In effort to galvanize the community, Cody caught Mclaine's attention. "You start putting a seed in and the soil starts grabbing," said Cody, "once he (Mclaine) grabbed it...it just started sprinkling everywhere." Mclaine is making it clear that this is something that needs to happen and it has started with the Southside Compton Crips. Cody has been in contact with other organizations such as the NAACP and community activists in efforts to make this change happen.
"We're going to focus on us first," said Mclaine, "and we hope what we're doing spreads out to other neighborhoods." The effort is something that has been called for by the community of the 4th district of Compton. The change will definitely be a welcomed and positive change for everyone involved.
Community programs within the church are also getting involved. Chayil Smith, part of Mclaine's support group, represented the Lynwood Methodist Church and Pastor Tanya Harris. "I've been doing gang prevention," said Smith, "and speak outs and...you name it, I've done it with Pastor Harris." Smith expressed her support for Mclaine and the Southside Crips in their effort to stop the violence. "It's time for a change," Said Smith, "10 years from now, I'd like to see Compton look like a better place."
Another supporter of Mclaine, Ronnie Bolton, called for a new relationship between the police department and the community. Bolton addressed police profiling and the need for the police to take a deeper look with how they conduct procedure. He effectively stated that change also has to happen within the law and how it addresses the youth of the community.
"I'm planning to throw a ceremony," said Mclaine, "to where each gang member is going to come out, and step up to face the people in the community." Mclaine hopes to have members publicly resign from their respective gangs. He hopes to have "apology" ceremonies and clean up graffiti within the neighborhoods. The group also stated they would like for a cease to the "labeling" of youth as gang members.
All in all the day is becoming brighter over the Compton community. The efforts of the youth and gangs are making a change within to make one on the outside. As Mclaine and other members of the Southside Crips move forward to change, let us do our best to support and encourage them.