Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Death Of A Crip Turned Peacekeaper.

I only met Darren Taylor once but he was most impressive and his life an example of what we all should strive for.  The impact he has had on men in LA and the community will live on for many years. Taylor died on Monday at the age of 42. May he rest in peace.
Taylor was a consummate mediator, whose years as a Crip gave him credibility and insight into problems that had divided the community and law enforcement into warring camps.

When the Los Angeles County jails were roiled by race riots five years ago, Taylor quickly assembled the gang leaders responsible for the violence and persuaded them to call off the fighting that left dozens injured.

He later led a program in the jails that reached 3,000 inmates with sessions to increase cultural awareness and impart concrete skills for managing anger and resolving conflict nonviolently.

"It was an unprecedented program in county jails," Sheriff Lee Baca said Tuesday, because it relied on the counsel of a man who had once been firmly on the other side of the law.

The classes were demanding, Baca said, but "Bo knew how to change lives for the better. He did it very well."
Gang members listened because he had a "license to operate," earned in his past life on the path they still walked. "Bo would tell his personal story of being a former gang member who would not let gang life trap him into a sense of hopelessness and despair," said Najee Ali, an activist who has worked to reduce crimes between blacks and Latinos. "And he talked about working hard and not making excuses."
Read the entire obituary from the LA Times. May each of us positively impact as many lives as he has.

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