I Was Scared

April 22,2010
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 Plaza Park Boys waited to meet in person with their rivals, the Square Street Gang. We waited for the van at the playground's entrance. They were quiet; quieter than I'd ever seen them before. They must have been thinking. Biggie was probably thinking about sitting across from the Square member who fired bullets into his pelvis only months ago. "Where we going, T?" someone asked. "I don't know," I said. For safety reasons the location was undisclosed. A police community service van arrived. The Plaza Park Boys didn't move. An officer exited the van. He gave instructions, "We will make one stop before we reach our destination." The Plaza Park Boys loaded into the van. After five minutes the van pulled into the parking lot of a flower shop. "Everybody out of the van," the officer ordered. They got out of the van and assumed the position. After everyone was searched we got back into the van. When we arrived, the building was surrounded by police cruisers and unmarked cars. The officers and detectives watched us as we walked into the building. There were more officers inside than there were outside. The space was safe. An officer accompanied us to a room. The room had chairs and two long folding tables facing one another. The boys sat down. Once they were settled I said, "I'll be right back." I went into the other room to talk to the Square Street Gang. "T, what's good? Who's here, who's here?" they asked. I talked with them briefly before an officer came into the room to get me. "The Reverend needs you." The Reverend and I discussed the process with the police officers. We went into the rooms to explain what was going to happen. It was time to bring them into a room together. My body began to perspire. Even with all the police presence, I was scared.