Street Wars
By: Tom Hayden


The genre of this story is non-fictional, politics, urban, government, and historical on the culture of gangs.

Tom Hayden

His real name is Thomas Emmet Hayden, but he is well-known as Tom Hayden and is a political and human rights activist and community organizer since the '60s. Hayden is the founder and director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center in Culver City, California. He was born on December 11, 1939 and was raised in Detroit, Michigan by his parents who were of Irish ancestry. He's also the author of Irish on the Inside, The Zapatista, and Rebel.


The story is worldwide because each city across America has gang violence like members of the Bloods, Mara Slavatrucha, 18th Street, Crips, Latin Kings, Blackstone Rangers, and Gangster Disciples.


There isn't really a main character in the story because it doesn't evolve around just a group of people, it is a topic that is globally known and is a worldwide conflict, but if there has to be a main character, the main character would be the narrator which is the author, Tom Hayden.


The conflict is the gang violence that is going on in today's society and how it was caused by historical events. That kids are influenced by gang violence because they can't walk down the end of the street without experiencing or witnessing some type of violence or gang related activity in general because of the neighborhoods they live in. The government tries to prevent the violence but goes at it the wrong way by assuming that anyone who lives in the slums are considered violent. Also, the conflict is that even though it was never officially acknowledged, over 25,000 young people have died in America's gang wars since 1980.


The gang violence, and the gangs in general that are also known as tribes, nations, cliques, and sets are what make up. The influence that gang violence have on children who live in an urban setting is the plot and the problem and the government tried to create different ways to prevent gang violence and to make the rules more strict by creating laws like the STEP Act ( Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention.) But someway and somehow, the people who live in the "hood" always find a way to get their money with or without the permission of the law.


The theme is obviously gangs and street violence, how the urban youth is affected by it, the history of street violence, and the loss of the "Black Panther Party" affecting and influencing gang violence in a way also.  

Why Did I Like It?

I liked it because it told me how many people joined gangs and how race riots, lynching and history are linked to the cause of gangs today. It also tells what will possibly happen to the future youth if nobody helps out with gang violence. It tells us how the nation's war against poverty was diminished and erased by the war in Vietnam.


I would recommend this book to people who are interested in the history of gangs worldwide and to people who are interested in learning the truth about "bad neighborhoods.' aka the hood, ghetto, slums, or etc. Also to people who are interested in learning about the police and their involvement in gang violence.

Why Should The Viewer Want To Get This Book?

This book answers many questions that people may have like: Why and how are street gangs form? What is the point of a gang? Did slavery influence gang violence is some type of way? Does music influence children in such a way for them to go out and want to try to join a gang?  Or any other questions that you may have about it. The viewer should want this because gang violence is linked back into the 1920's and how gang violence will affect our future youth. If you are concerned about cities, violence and urban youth, this is the story that you should read.

Quote Poster

I added a collage poster full of Tupac quotes because I felt as if his parts in the story really influenced me in a good way because in the story he stated that, "Shakur? Don't you know that all the Shakurs are in jail, dead, or in exile? Does that young man know he's at risk? Is someone protecting him? ... I am hopeless." When he said that I knew that he felt as if in someway he would travel down the same road as the rest of his family being either in jail, dead, or in exile.


Statistics say that there were 1,500,000 gangs in 2014, 750,000 gangs in 2000 (which means that the number of gangs in 2000 doubled in at least 14 years.), There were approximately 24,250 gangs in the United States, 40% of gang members are under 18 years old, 8% of gangs are female, 90% of boys or men in a correction facility is or was involved in gang affiliation, 86% of the cities in the United States with over 100,000 in population reported gang activity, 7% are Asian gang members, 13% are white or Caucasian gang members, 31% are Black or African-American gang members, and 47% are Hispanic gang members.

My Connections

I can connect this towards my life because when me and my sister take a walk down Beatties Ford, we see gang activity, but me and my sister walk past them. My sister fears walking down the street because the group of men would always walk back and forth across the street so we have to speed walk.

Memorable Quotes

Roses In Concrete

Did u hear about the rose that grew from a crack

In the concrete

Proving that nature's laws wrong it learned 2 walk

Without having feet

Funny it seems but by keeping its dreams

It learned 2 breathe fresh air

Long live the rose that grew from the concrete

When no one else cared!

-Tupac Shakur

Thoughts of a Prisoner

The days, I feel them so long

what my heart feels, and what my eyes see

I am not the same one

my sun no longer shines

the sky is gray

everything vanishes away, and yet

my face does not know how to smile

I wish not to wake up in the morning

I wish to sleep for ever

fleeing from the reality of pain



and the memory of love.

Locked-in with my feelings, and man's pride

and I look to life for encouragement

to escape and find the sun

to nourish the existence of a lifeless flower

loneliness that lives within so many of us

and takes over, it builds a fortress of emotions

that hurts

and fear prevents us from talking to others

caused by anything

sometimes it directs us to tragedy

at times to sorrow and

all of us fear and accept our loneliness

we lose little by little

and become apart from what helps us

many times everything is sorrow

and the fear that is being born brings only problems to humanity

loneliness is something that will always exist

it does not matter what you have

a moment will come when it will own you

and you will never know when or how it will happen.

-Boobee (Amilcar Rodriguez), Homies Unidos, 1994

Tupac-Keep Ya Head Up

Play 1:48

"And suddenly tha ghetto didn't seem so tough
And though we had it rough, we always had enough
I huffed and puffed about my curfew and broke the rules
Ran with the local crew, and had a smoke or two"

"I'm tryin' to make a dollar out of fifteen cents
It's hard to be legit and still pay tha rent
And in the end it seems I'm headin' for tha pen
I try and find my friends, but they're blowin in the wind
Last night my buddy lost his whole family
It's gonna take the man in me to conquer this insanity
It seems tha rain'll never let up
I try to keep my head up, and still keep from gettin wet up
You know it's funny when it rains it pours
They got money for wars, but can't feed the poor
Say there ain't no hope for the youth and the truth is
It ain't no hope for tha future
And then they wonder why we crazy
I blame my mother, for turning my brother into a crack baby
We ain't meant to survive, cause it's a setup
And even though you're fed up
Huh, ya got to keep your head up"

It represents the struggle that people that receive lower income and that becomes involved in gang affiliated activity because of the type of neighborhoods they were raised in, it's something normal to them that would be unusual to someone else but this song shows that no matter what, if you have faith, things will lighten up for you in time with patience.