Alabama’s Homeboys

Alabama’s Homeboys

Former Los Angeles gang members travel to the South to turn around the lives of impoverished kids whose upbringings are hauntingly familiar. (LAT)

Tucked away in the southwest corner of Alabama, the marginalized town of Prichard is oppressed by poverty, violence and drugs. In Prichard’s Alabama Village neighborhood the situation is even more dire. The kids there call it “Death Valley.”

For the past three years L.A.’s Homeboy Industries, a gang intervention organization, has sent a select few of its members to Prichard to work with impoverished kids there. This Los Angeles Times video documents one of those journeys.

The poverty in Alabama Village is shocking, even to these young Californians accustomed to the tough, urban streets of LA. The young men recognize an environment of violence, drug dealing and abuse at home that they also experienced as children.

The video shows the Homeboys hanging out with neighborhood kids and talking to youth groups at a Christian-based youth center in Prichard. The project includes thoughtful interviews with kids from Prichard and the adults from L.A., many of whom see their own younger lives reflected in the lives of these at-risk children and yearn to help them.

The story was inspired by Trayvon Earl Jeffers, a member of the Homeboys who was to have made the 2009 trip to Prichard but was shot and killed just weeks before the journey, an apparent victim of the gang violence he was trying to escape. An essay by Jeffers is found on the project’s Website, along with a photo gallery and graphs and statistics about Pritchard.

CHANNEL: Los Angeles Times

Length: 13:34

Video by Katy Newton
Produced by Katy Newton, Mary Cooney and Liz Baylen
Photos by Liz Baylen

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