Before I begin – I stole the phrase “From Crips to Christ” from an online source.
My mom can tell you all about gangs. She’s been to the seminars, she’s seen the videos. She knows all about “throwing up” and expressed her disapproval at my doing so one year when I posed for pictures with characters at Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando. But this post isn’t dedicated to gangs, nor is it dedicated to the Crips (though I will give some facts about them). More specifically, it is meant to acquaint you with Angelo “Barefoot Pookie” White, an ex-Cript who found God and is now on a mission that even my mom (and probably your mom, too) would appreciate.
- Barefoot was one of the original members of the Crips.
- The Crips were founded in 1969 by Raymond Washington, who was inspired by the Black Panthers. He named the gang the “Baby Avenues” or “Avenue Cribs” (after the Avenues gang which is based right up the 110N!).
- The name Crips came about because the Los Angeles Sentinel described one of their crimes as being committed by young men who walked with canes, as if they were crippled. (What?) Or perhaps it was a simple spelling error.
- Originally founded as an organization with a social and political agenda, the gang soon focused on defending themselves and threw ideas of community leadership and social revolution out the window.
- Toughs earn respect in bad parts of town. The Crips are now over 30,000 strong (and growing, I’m sure) and lead lives filled with drugs and violence.
- There are numerous sets of the gang in Watts! (Maybe my mom was right to be nervous when we visited Watts Tower! I kept insisting everything was fine and turned my attention instead to a man who may or may not have been homeless. It was then that I revealed to my mom that I was afraid I might one day start dating a homeless guy accidentally.)
- Oh gosh, there’s all this stuff on Wikipedia(.org) about Crips not wanting to use the letter “B” in words because they hate the Bloods so much. It’s too confusing to get into, but there’s that.
- Back to Barefoot: He turned away from gang life and is now a follower of Christ, on a mission from God to eradicate (and I don’t mean that in a violent way) street gangs and stop killings.
- He belongs to various organizations dedicated to safe passage between communities and writes a series of articles for City Pride magazine (“From Crips to Christ”).