For over forty years now there has been a bloody war on the streets of California and other western states between the Norteno and Sureno street gangs that has claimed the lives of countless young Chicanos. There are no FBI stats to count the deaths related to this gang war, but one can guess that the numbers total in the thousands in a war that has raged on over the last forty years. This war can be traced back to the California prison system when members of La Nuestra Familia and the Mexican Mafia began a war, as legend has it, over a pair of sneakers. But the rivalry was really born out of a lack of respect by southern Mexican's over northern Mexican's that were viewed by southerners as nothing more than the sons of migrant farm laborers.
As the northern Hispanics gained numbers in the prison system they were constantly met with this label of farmeros (farmers). In time they would form their own gang, La Nuestra Familia, and claim the huelga bird flag of the United Farm Workers as their own and use it to identify themselves with the similar cause and struggle that the farm laborers under Cesar Chavez were engaged in. Today, this war rages as never before and many young Chicanos are dying as a result. In many cases its the innocent that are killed. And with each passing year the victims, whether they are participants or not, are getting younger and younger.
What many young people don't realize when they get involved in gangs is that this is not a video game or a movie. The stakes are real and it can cost you your life whether it's a prison cell or a plot at your local cemetery. If your convicted of a gang-related crime in California the law is very strict and D.A.'s and Judges have no sympathy for gang members. Gang enhancement laws in California were introduced to put gang members away for longer periods of time. If you're involved in a gang-related homicide you'll probably be sentenced to life in prison. Is it worth it? You'll never see the streets again. You'll never attend another family gathering in your life. You'll never be married and you'll never have kids. Your life will consist of razor wire fences, armed guards and four walls. If this sounds appealing to you then you're on the right path, but if it doesn't then change your course of direction today. It's your life.