by Luis J. Rodriguez
Seven Stories Press
2014, paperback, 2nd. edition
Hearts and Hands focuses on healing through community building. Empowered by thirty years of experience with gangs in Los Angeles and Chicago, Rodríguez offers a unique book of change. He makes concrete suggestions, shows how we can create nonviolent opportunities for youth today, and redirects kids into productive and satisfying lives. And he warns that we sacrifice community values for material gain when we incarcerate or marginalize people already on the edge of society. His drive to dissolve gang influence on kids is as personal as it is societal; his son, to whom he dedicates Hearts and Hands, served more than a decade in prison for gang-related activity. With anecdotes, interviews, and time-tested guidelines, Hearts and Hands makes a powerful argument for building and supporting community life.
The son of Mexican immigrants, Luis J. Rodriguez began writing in his early teens and has won national recognition as a poet, journalist, fiction writer, children's book writer, and critic. Currently working as a peacemaker among gangs, Rodriguez helped create Tia Chucha's Cafe & Centro Cultural, a multi-arts, multimedia cultural center in the Northeast San Fernando Valley.