Understanding the History of Gang Members

He is an internationally recognized peacemaker and co-founder of Homies Unidos in Los Angeles where he has developed and implemented innovative violence prevention and intervention programs since 1998 and has also lead the organization as Executive Director since 2006. An outspoken community leader, Alex’s commitment to disenfranchised youth and their families in the Latino and largely Central American communities of the Pico Union, Westlake and Koreatown areas of Los Angeles, is rooted in his own personal journey that includes having been a gang-involved youth, target of the INS, LAPD and Salvadoran national police and death squads. Alex’s family migrated to Los Angeles, California at the end of the 1970s, during the height of military repression in El Salvador. After being involved in gangs and serving time in state prison, he was deported in 1994 to El Salvador where he met the founder of Homies Unidos, Magdaleno Rose Avila, and others striving for social change. This turning point marked Alex’s commitment to improve his life and to help other youth do the same. He brought back that message of hope and redemption to California and helped found Homies Unidos in Los Angeles in 1998.