People when they meet me after I tell my story, they tell me, “you are a legend.”
Everything that I went through and I’m still here to talk about it.
That’s why I put legend on me.
My name is Sherry Garcia and I am working at HomeBoy industries.
It’s basically to help you to get ready for a job and to learn how to act on yourself.
You know, if I wouldn’t have come to HomeBoy, who knows what I’d be doing right now.
So, HomeBoy Industries is an 18-month training program for gang members and recently released incarcerated men and women.
I’ve been here five months now and it’s changed me.
I learned how to humble myself. I learned how to look at this person like not an enemy. I love this place.
So, what does it feel like if you are not willing to forgive yourself and how does it hold you back from growing?
It’s hard. I’m barely working on forgiving my mom.
I was getting beat as a little girl. My mom was an alcoholic, on drugs.
She was in an abusive relationship. I just remember he would come home drunk and my mom would tell me “run”.
How do we make the tragic that we’ve been through, how do we turn that into a positive?
We have tours and what they do is, they go throughout the facility and they tell, you know, what we do here,
but they also get to share a part of their story and each time they get in more acceptance and more acceptance of their own story.
So then, at 12 years old, my mom don’t like my attitude.
So, she takes me to the park and there’s a bunch of Cholas there and I’m like she introduced me to everybody and “you’re going to get into the gang” and I was like what do you mean get into the gang.
Then I started pimping and getting high, selling drugs.
To me when I got high, it made me numb, you know, like I’m not going to sit here and cry and think about oh, my mom don’t care about me. You know, I’m just going to get high.
But the next day when you wake up, you still got the same problems, you know, and I believe I overdosed a couple of times you know.
Yeah, I’m actually a part of HomeBoy Industries as well and I’m trying to rehabilitate my life as well.
When she did tell me her story it inspired me to sit down with her, wrote some stuff out about her life.
Yeah, I write my own music. I’m King Nikko.
This park right here is where I used to hang out at and drink all day, and I used to wake up every morning and come over here.
The neighborhood’s is always going to be there.
I would never forget who they are and where I came from. You know, I’ll never forget that.
I did walk in here a couple of times. I said, I can’t do it.
There’s different hoods here. You know, there’s enemies here.
So, I finally made it through the second door and I told father G.
He said how can I help you, kiddo. I said, man, I’m gang banging, I’m doing this, I live in the hood and I need help.
During the process of being here, they also get some skills on of how to work-janitorial, maybe working in the bakery, maybe working in office.
So now, they have a resume that shows that they have current job history and then the goal is to get them employment outside of HomeBoy Industries.
This is called switching. This is really good if you in front of the computer.
We have communal gang anonymous, we have parenting and we also have substance abuse classes.
And so, what the individuals do is they come in and they learn to work on themselves.
Okay, right here is the tattoo removal. It’s laser and also like I said, it’s going to take a couple of treatment.
So your mom, she’s going to go through some discomfort right now.
It’s going to feel like popping grease.
Three, two, one, breath.
Here we go. And you are all done. So, we are done for now.
It hurts, like hot burning oil. Really bad.
She is a strong woman.
Well, people judge me everywhere I go.
People look at me because of the tattoos. You know, it’s even hard to get an apartment.
Do you want one of these for now?
So, how was your day?
I’m just asking because they did a class today now and I don’t even know how to move the mouse and all that.
Well, I know how to move the mouse.
You know how to do it? And I don’t.
I got my girls to think about.
I’m trying to show them a better life than. I’m not saying I’m perfect but, a better life than what my mom showed me,
because I don’t want them to grow up the way I did.