Friday, September 01, 2006

Daily News: "We Have the Street Credibility"

Philadelphia Daily News profiles 21st & Westmoreland Inc.

Richard Johnson and Lloyd Harris know about youth violence and gang warfare.

Back in the 1960s and '70s, they were affiliated with a neighborhood gang around 21st and Westmoreland streets in North Philadelphia.

Harris even served time for a violent offense in the '70s. But these two "old-heads" also know the power of redemption.

They were able to reform themselves - and transform the name of their gang into 21st & Westmoreland Inc., a grass-roots initiative composed of 10 ex-gang members from that era.

"I think right now, as a people, we are in a crisis," said Johnson, president of 21st & Westmoreland Inc. which was formed in 2003.

"It goes to the 'Willie Lynch' syndrome, self-hatred, and young people's comfort with the use of the word n----."

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