With the proliferation of gangs and crews in recent years, from the streets of our inner cities to our suburban and rural areas, the amount of reliable information about them has also grown. Gone are the days when gangs were thought about in the quaintly romantic images of West Side Story's Jets and Sharks. And though the story of Nicky Cruz's conversion in David Wilkerson's The Cross and the Switchblade
can still strike a powerful chord in the evangelical heart, most people now realize that the gang issue is much more complex and that conversion is only the start of the healing required in many young people involved in gang banging.
The young people involved in gang activity today face a myriad of problems that were unknown to their parents or often even their older siblings. For those whose identities are tied up in crews, cliques, or posses, death strikes more often and more suddenly than it should in anybody's life. And the peace they need will not come from a single source, but requires the active engagement of all of our society's institutions. Families, schools, churches, law enforcement, and the business community must work together with gang-related youth to create ways out of what these young people call "the madness."
Crews: Gang Members Talk to Maria Hinojosa
is a collection of poignant and often painful interviews begun by National Public Radio correspondent Maria Hinojosa while covering the story of a tourist who was stabbed and killed in New York City by a member of the crew FTS (Flushing's Top Society) for money to go dancing. Her attempts to understand why some urban youth turn to violence for reasons that appear to be so trite developed into a deep and lasting relationship with the young people of the crews.