Biographies

Thomas Smith, a former long-time gang member from South Central Los Angeles, spent time in Corcoran Prison facing three life sentences. Smith is now a husband, father, and a prominent drug and alcohol counselor who shares his experiences of addiction and street violence with at-risk teens.

Fred Gonzales grew up on the streets of South East San Diego as a high-ranking member of a well-known Latino gang. In and out of the California prison system most of his life, Gonzales dealt with the death of his son by a drug dealer. He regularly speaks to law-enforcement agencies and at-risk teens about the consequences of joining gangs.

Raised in a drug-infested home, Tina Smith lost her mother to a drug overdose at an early age. Growing up in the streets, Tina began her drug use at age 12 before going to prison four times. Now drug-free, she is a dedicated mother and wife.

Mike Tagwerker has been an inner-city school teacher for 11 years. A graduate of SDSU film school, Tagwerker has been researching and documenting San Diego gangs since 1990. He currently mentors several at-risk teens.