New Gang Czar: History Key to Improving Black-Brown Relations

Frank Stoltze, KPCC (Pasadena Public Radio), September 9, 2009

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Tuesday named a new director of youth development and gang reduction. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze reports.

Frank Stoltze: The mayor introduced Guillermo Cespedes in the ornate Tom Bradley Room that sits atop City Hall on the 27th floor. The room provides a view of the some of the tough neighborhoods to the south and east where Cespedes will do his work leading the city’s gang prevention and intervention programs.

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Cespedes: The work that intervention workers do in the community differs radically from African-American neighborhoods and Latino neighborhoods. Ya know, sometimes, I think we get a little bit cautious about looking at ethnic differences.

Stoltze: Cespedes says it’s important to respect those differences, and to recognize the history Latinos and African-Americans share. He’s taught on the subject at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Cespedes: The collaboration between Latinos and Africa’s children throughout Latin America has been historic. Africa’s children fought in every war of independence in every Latin American country. There were injunctions against collaboration between indigenous and Africa’s children, there were many of Africa’s children that cross the border into Mexico.

Stoltze: Cespedes says schools should teach that history as a method of reducing gang and youth violence.

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Stoltze: Cespedes is a native of Cuba. He grew up in New York City and holds a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University. {snip}

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