Friday, March 11, 2011

TEDxManitoba - Terry MacLeod - Finding a Life Beyond the Gang

Important TEDx Talk from Terry MacLeod - Winnipeg (Manitoba) is a center for gang activity, and they have the highest homicide rate for gang-related murders in Canada. He is joined onstage by three gang members who have left that life - they share their experience.

These young men talk about partying (drinking and drugs) - but they also talk about "building a rep." They come from families who were involved with gangs, so they had little option for their lives. They all had to "prove themselves" worthy of membership by performing initiatory acts (burning down a house for one of them).

Here are some basic stats on the young men (and women) involved in US gang activity:

Gang membership in the United States was conservatively estimated at 1 million members as of September 2008, based on analysis of federal, state, and local law enforcement reporting--an increase from an estimated 800,000 members in 2005. Current estimates include approximately 900,000 gang members residing within local communities across the country and more than 147,000 documented gang members incarcerated in federal, state, and local correctional facilities, according to state and federal corrections data. Increased gang membership is most likely the result of gang recruitment efforts and the release of incarcerated gang members; however, more comprehensive law enforcement reporting and improved gang awareness may also have contributed to an increase in the number of gang members identified by some law enforcement agencies.

Regionally, gang membership varies significantly. States in the Pacific, Southwest, and Central Regions rank highest in the percentage of the population identified as gang members. (See Appendix A, Map 1.) In addition, these same regions have the highest ratio of gang members per law enforcement officer. (See Appendix A, Map 2.)

According to their maps, gang activity in the SW US is growing each year while the rest of the nation seems to have leveled off or be declining. I think that speaks to the economic situation here and to the expulsion of young Hispanic men from the workforce through anti-immigrant sentiments.

Anyway, it's great to see that these young men (two of whom are young fathers) have been able to leave that life and move forward.
Terry MacLeod - Finding a Life Beyond the Gang

As one of the most accomplished radio journalists in Manitoba, Terry MacLeod recently celebrated his 25th year with CBC. Since 1993 he hosts CBC's Information Radio in Winnipeg, a program that in 2005 was named "The Best Local CBC Radio Program in Canada", and in 2011 received the Manitoba Psychological Society's first-ever "Communications Community Award". Terry has contributed work to CBC-TV News Winnipeg, BBC Radio Scotland, The Winnipeg Free Press, The Ottawa Citizen and The Victoria Times Colonist. Prior to the CBC, Terry worked in native language radio for The WaWaTa Communications Society in Ontario and Taqramiut Nipingat, a radio network in the Nunavik region of Quebec. He coordinated an artist-run experimental television centre and was a social worker in Port Arthur, Ontario. Terry is an active volunteer with numerous organizations and serves on the volunteer faculty of The Canadian Muslim Leadership Institute. Terry holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

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