Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=143019
Story Retrieval Date: 12/13/2013 4:58:23 AM CST
Facing an increasing number of Latino gang members, one community is taking a new approach to educating parents about the threat.In Will County the state’s attorney this week released a Spanish-language gang-prevention book to help parents understand and deal with the threat. James Glasgow’s book, “Gangs: Awareness, Prevention, Intervention,” is a translation of a book he issued in 2007. The book, developed and written by Glasgow and his colleagues in the state’s attorney office, aims to educate parents on the structure, iconography and behavior of local gangs and their members.
“We’ve got to get information out to the parents to alert them to these things, and educate them about the violence in the media culture and the gang intrusion that’s taking over kids’ lives,” Glasgow said.
Glasgow unveiled the book at a town-hall style meeting in Joliet, conducted in both Spanish and English. The book, funded by drug forfeiture money, is available free of charge.
Reaction to the state’s attorney’s initiative was mixed. Although many attendees praised Glasgow for recognizing the city’s gang threat, others said that the book did not so much address as diagnose the problem.
Morales said student uniforms and conflict-management courses are more concrete ways to diffuse gang-fueled tensions in the schools. She also said law enforcement officials should take diversity training to understand the issues that affect Latinos.
“Many things get lost in translation, so we want to make sure we paint a clear picture,” he said.
Victor Hugo Andrave is a seminarian who runs a youth ministry at St. Agnes of Bohemia church. While he says the ministry reaches out to many young people in the neighborhood involved in Latino gangs, he does not favor an ethnic-centric approach to gang prevention.
Diana Rivera, an outreach worker supervisor with the Little Village grassroots group Enlace Chicago agrees with Andrave that effective anti-violence strategies, such as counseling, conflict mediation and domestic abuse awareness, transcend racial lines. Her concern is not that there are insufficient programs for Latino youth, but that there is not enough money for them.
“It’s the parents’ responsibility to keep the kids educated, to keep the kids out of gangs,” Morales said.