Gangs on the Inside (Pt.3) by Felicia Sullivan

I have never been in a gang, but I have dated men that were. The lifestyle I have lived and continue to live has always been and will always be to give 100% in being a better person than I was yesterday. Up until a few years ago I never defined myself as a gangster, but then my ex boyfriend sent me two paragraphs that define what a gangster is and completely changed my perception. This is what he said to me:

“So I want to break something down to you, and educate you on what it means to be a gangster, and what men and women stand for in a gang:

(1) Knowledge (2) Wisdom (3) Understanding (4) Love (5) Life (6) Loyalty. Hints the meaning of a 6 point star.

Then the other side of the star means:

(1) Economic (2) Education (3) Social development (4) Unity (5) Politics (6) Organization

“So all in all if you exhibit these same characteristics then your morals all line up with a Gangster Disciples by laws/beliefs.

“Think about it. I’m a gangster through and through. Not afraid to put work in to get the results I want. I know you do the same.

“So if you see things how I see things that makes you a gangster, too. Do you understand now? Anyone can hold a gun, but not everyone can be political. Anyone can get money, but not everyone believes in loyalty. Anyone can love, it’s what they love that matters… Honor, respect, integrity it all comes from knowledge, wisdom, understanding not only of love, life, economics and social development… All these labels come full circle through education…It makes all things possible. But it’s more than that, you’re a gangster because your lifestyle deemed it that way.”

As an inmate at Ohio Reformatory for Women (ORW), I can say that there are zero gang problems or rivalries, recruiting, etc. I’ve been here 4 years. There was a time early on when two sisters were promoting some random city gang that they were from. Within a week, I noticed that they were gone. ORW has a zero tolerance policy with regard to gangs. We house an estimated 2,400+ women. If they were to turn their cheek to it once it could spread like wildfire. And if there is, it’s very low key to the point where I’ve never heard nor noticed the behavior.

I have been around the gang lifestyle, but it was during my teenage yeas at home. One of my mom’s boyfriends had done some time in prison and is a pin blood. There was always a lot of men in and out of our home. A constant “red bandana” included with his outfit. Gang signs being thrown with his hands, a dance that he would do with his friends. The occasional drama with the people I am assuming he was rivaling with. Which included our car windows, house windows and even my grandmother’s house at one point. With my past, I can say I am not blind to gang activity or the lifestyle. I just chose not to walk that path.

Felicia (ORW) (OH)

Lettersfromchristopher is an advocacy effort. The narrative of incarceration should not remain in the shadows, and each voice on this blog is a pin point of light in that darkness. Please share these posts with others.

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3 thoughts on “Gangs on the Inside (Pt.3) by Felicia Sullivan

  1. christopherm001

    This series was difficult to pull together because of the reluctance of individuals being interviewed or asked to tell their story.

    Felicia did an amazing job making this 3 part effort come together with three different perspectives. Frankly, I don’t know how she accomplished it. But she did. The whole issue of gang life in the joint is much broader than a three part series, but this series gives everyone a glimpse into that world.

    Messages left for the authors of posts on this blog are forwarded to the writers.

    *Posted by admin on behalf of Christopher

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