Social & Economic Justice

A Messenger of Hope

When Edward James Olmos wanted to deliver a strong anti-drug and anti-gang message to kids in the barrios in his film American Me, he went home to East Los Angeles. There he invited young gang members like George Sarabia and Gil Espinoza as extras and crewmembers. He hoped to demystify the glamour of gangs, while giving kids new skills and a way out of the gang world. Before he met Eddie, George had only one goal in life: to come back from prison a hero — having earned his “stripes.” He now shares his life-changing story with other young people, asking them to stop the violence. “We all have a choice. You can do whatever you want to do,” George says. Then he pauses and adds, with quiet intensity, “Think about it. What you could do. What you could be.”
Skills: Hispanic heritage, cultural diversity, positivity, social emotional learning, interracial dialogue and healing, social studies, language arts, community service