Predator to Peacemaker: Ex-Gang Member to Social Entrepreneur

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LA Gang Tour is a non-profit organization founded by ex-gang member, community/gang interventionist and social entrepreneur ALfred Lomas.

Lomas was 12 years old when he was “jumped in” to the Florencia 13 Gang. He spent over 29 years inside the gang. Along the way he became addicted to crack. But it wasn’t crack, rather meth and a resulting  incarceration that led him from predator to peacemaker; gang member to social activist.

After he was released from prison, four years ago Lomas was penniless with no place to go when volunteers from the Dream Center offered a church dorm room to him. The Dream Center helped Lomas start over. He kicked his habit and found a new purpose; peacemaker, social change agent.

“I had never experienced unconditional love,” he explains. “I always figured
there was a                         catch. And you know what? There wasn’t. That’s what I’m
passionate about now: spreading                     the message that there is another way,
that there are people who do things without an                          agenda.”

Over the past few years Lomas has become a powerful force in South Central L.A. He has worked with the Dream Center to provide community assistance to a region that has roughly 80,000-90,000 gang members and unemployment rates as high as 60%.

Operating a mobile food bank funded by the  Dream Center he and his team deliver over 80 tons of food a month. In his spare time Lomas has taken on the role as gang interventionist and community advocate, developing relationships and brokering communication to build trust, possibilities for change.

The LA Gang Tour is a $65.00 high end, specialty tour focusing on the
geography and history of the LA Gangs. In the first week of the tour, January 16th, over 16 million people visited the website and the tour sold out. Lomas has partnered with community leaders to create a non-profit organization intent on employing good business practices to heal the communities of south L.A. Part of the framework that makes LA GANG TOUR possible is a cease fire  Lomas brokered with three of the main gangs in the area.

Connie Rice famous Civil Rights attorney and founder of the Advancement Project is a proponent for holistic solutions that take into consideration the entire eco-system. In a recent radio interview on Power 106, Rice commented that she believes the vision and strategy of LA GANG TOURS can work. 

“You don’t hand out fly swatters for an epidemic of Malaria. You take
the entire ecosystem that                 the disease is an epidemic in and you say
‘what are the vectors?’ and you create a vector control             area…You look
for everything that empowers that gang and you move that vector.”

Generational poverty, family violence are part of the vector’s within the epidemic of violence and gangs.

As a non-profit organization, LA GANG TOURS is committed to ,

“creating jobs for the residents of South Central, Los
Angeles to give profits from the tours back to         these areas for
economic growth and development, provide job/entrepreneur training,
micro-                financing opportunities and to specialize in educating people from around the world about the Los         Angeles inner city lifestyle, gang
involvement and solutions. This project will create opportunities         to
contribute to the economic health of South Central and the tools needed
to access the American         market.”

Inspiring. Yes?

The question’s Alfred Lomas leadership has me musing over today are:

What can I do to better understand the eco-system that my current opportunities/challenges reside within?

What might I do to better engage all the stakeholders in the eco-systems I am working within to increase the probability of sustainable, real, high impact change?

What epidemic’s in my neighborhood do I want to impact for GOOD?

How can I consciously support GOOD BUSINESSES; that are changing lives and making the world better?

Your thoughts?

And by the way let’s support Alfred hit him up on twitter, tell your friends about his vision and if you are in L.A. take the tour!

Pam Hoelzle

 

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