Another Truce? - FamilyEducation

Another Truce?

April 30,2010
Talia's Blog
Talia Rivera

Talia Rivera is a 33-year-old mother of two. As Executive Director of Villages without Walls, she works with high-risk gang members in Boston. [Read more]

The L Street Gang was the most violent gang in the city of Boston. “Their alleged crimes include 57 shootings, six murders, coke-dealing, and general havoc,” noted a Boston newspaper. This was going to be different. I had a relationship with the Plaza Park and Square Street members prior to the truce. But I didn’t know any members of the Noose Set or The L Street gangs. I had only heard about how they bullied Boston. They had no sense of right and wrong. And were so brazen that their home turf was directly across from a police station. The Reverend and I were selected to get out on the streets and visit the juvenile detention centers and county jails to meet the gangs with a message. Our first visit was with Beats of The L Street gang. Beats agreed to help, “Yeah, I'll help. I'll holla at dem for you." I spent nights driving by their block to see if they were out. One time I parked my car and walked into the local bodega to buy a bag of chips. On my way out one dude was standing at the corner. I said, “What’s up.” He nodded his head but I could tell he didn’t want to be bothered. So I got back into my car. And ate my chips. The Reverend and I reached out to the chief probation officer. Most of the gang members were on probation, and the probation officers could get those who were still on the streets to sit down and talk with us. The Reverend and I sat in a small conference room at the court house waiting for them. Shelves with law books covered the four walls. There was a window. I looked out, wondering what I was going to say and what their response might be. The door opened. A probation officer escorted four of them into the room. Even the juvenile detention center brought one member to the meeting. He was 14, with a big afro and a baby face. His reputation was as big as his physique. The rest of the gang members gave him up dap [handshake]. They hadn’t seen him in a while. Then they all sat down. “What’s up,” I said, “My name is Talia.”