Gang Leader Calls for Peace in the Streets

Sonja Elmquist, North Carolina News Network, July 1, 2008

The leader of North Carolina’s Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, a Chicago-based gang, has called on other gang leaders to channel their members’ energy away from violence and into a struggle for justice against racism.

Jorge Cornell, who goes by “King J,” and lives in Greensboro, said he has spoken with members of other gangs, including local groups of Bloods and Crips, as well as the leadership of his gang in Chicago, about his ideas.

At a news conference Monday, seated with Nelson Johnson, pastor of the Beloved Community Center, and Gregory Headen, president of the Pulpit Forum, Cornell called on all gang members to unify to fight against policies such as 287-g agreements, which give local law-enforcement jurisdictions broader authority to deport immigrants charged with crimes.

“Racism is still here and it is serious in the South,” Cornell said. To combat it, its victims—the same poor and minority people who often populate gangs—need to work together, not fight over petty rivalries, Cornell said.

“Our goal is to bring peace to the streets,” Cornell said. “Put your weapons down and come to a table to talk peace.”

Cornell, 31, said he is the “Inca” or leader of all members of his gang in North Carolina and had clearance from national gang leaders in Chicago to “build something beautiful out here.”

Capt. John Wolfe, commander of the Greensboro Police Department’s gang enforcement unit, said Cornell had never been in touch with the gang unit about his goals, but Wolfe supports what Cornell says he is trying to achieve.

“He says his mission is for peace and nonviolence, he wants people to lay down their guns, that’s exactly the same as our mission,” Wolfe said. “If his intention is legitimate, we’re going to support him.”

“He is the state leader as far as I know,” Wolfe said. “If he is, then he certainly is the person who can affect change.”

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The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation is similar, but unrelated, to the Latin Kings, another Chicago-based gang, according to an April report by the U.S. attorney general.

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