Leap on Gang Intervention Workers’ Commitment to Communities

Adjunct Professor of Social Welfare Jorja Leap was featured in the Los Angeles Times discussing gang intervention workers’ continued commitment to the communities they serve during the COVID pandemic. While much of Los Angeles is shuttered during this time, many gang intervention workers are continuing to interact with vulnerable populations, providing food and toiletries, mediating conflict and educating people about the importance of social distancing. Los Angeles has designated intervention workers as essential during the pandemic. “These are not just those guys who know how to negotiate peace treaties; they are a community asset,” Leap explained. Many of the intervention workers are themselves former gang members and are able to use their street credibility to dispel misinformation and educate people about the coronavirus. “Historically and presently, where authorities are not trusted, these men and women … are the go-between, the objects of trust.”

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