Art is the heart's explosion on the world. Music. Dance. Poetry. Art on cars, on walls, on our skins. There is probably no more powerful force for change in this uncertain and crisis-ridden world than young people and their art. It is the consciousness of the world breaking away from the strangle grip of an archaic social order.

— Luis J. Rodriguez

The most joyful Luis J. Rodriguez quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening

Gangs have always existed - they are primarily a community a young men trying to find intensity, meaning, a path to the outer world (outside of home) that most tribal groupings addressed with rituals, rites of passage, initiation ceremonies. We’ve lost this knowledge as a culture.


If young people had love, hope, true education, the arts, full and meaningful lives they won’t join gangs. My life since living the gang and drugs has been directed to making positive what it means to be Chicano, human, man, woman, and on how to draw out the imagination and creativity that all people have.


Nobody supported me; my family thought I had gone crazy. They thought, you crazy gangster, you crazy drug addict, now you want to be a writer? That's it! They totally gave up on me after that.


Nobody had books at home. My dad was a very educated person, so he would have books at home. All Spanish books. That helped. Most of my homies had no books at home.


I had to find meaning in it. So I go through this, I see all these homies die; I see all this terrible devastation, people sitting in prison. I've been saved from prison, from death, and from heroine addiction. What am I going to do with that?


We need more leaders among our gente - more teachers, politicians, businesspeople, organizers, and such. Turn the energy that many young people are putting into "war" and "death" and put it into life and true justice.


The more you know, the more you owe.


I'm not really anti-gang - I was a gang member and so was my son.

I'm pro-youth, pro-community, pro-family, pro-arts, and pro-peace.


We [people] all need each other. Gangs do try to fill that void - but they can't do what healthy, balanced, and coherent families and communities can do. Let's strengthen our core relationships from the start - and all the way through a young person's life. This is the best way to avoid the growth of deadly and crime-involved gangs.


Men need to be strong, but not bullies.

They need to know how to not get emotionally lost in situations, but not be cold and emotionless. They need to know the full variety of emotions as well as thinking and acting. Not just the most limited ways of doing things.


I moved into the garage at my mom's house, she wouldn't let me into the house, and the garage didn't have any running water. It did have electricity though, but it didn't have any running water, no bathroom. But, you know, it was great for me because I had my books there.


I was arrested and put in murder's row.

They were trying to get me for some murders I didn't do. They had me in a cell next to Charles Manson; he was going to trial at the time. And it was all a row of black and brown guys and one white guy: Charles Manson.


About Luis J. Rodriguez

Quotes 25 sayings
Profession Poet
Birthday 1954

To go against gangs or drugs is meaningless unless this is mostly done by filling in the empties, the vacuums, and stop the neglect and harm we do as detached, mean, irresponsible adults and communities. The answer is in our hands.


Eventually I went back to high school.

I went to a coaching center in my neighborhood. I had to leave the homeless situation because it was so bad and I knew that I was falling deeper and deeper.


There are choices you have to make not just once


I've always been prepared to write about the hard things.

Only for healing, teaching, and enlightening purposes not to hurt or disparage anyone.


I worked in a steel mill, I worked in a foundry, I worked in a paper mill, I worked in a chemical refinery, construction, I did all that. It was great work, it was good. I learned welding, mechanic, carpentry, but it saved me from going back to prison because that's helpful. It's really sad because those jobs are gone.


The judge gave me a break. He was like: wow, we've never heard of this. So he gave me time served in the county jail, I didn't even get a felony. I have yet to get a felony, which is so crazy. I think Lindsey Lohan has more felonies than me.


I'm not against knowing the history of white people in the U.

S. - that's not the point. The point is that there's so much greater history. We don't know about Native Americans. Very basically, we don't know that much about African American history, except that they were enslaved. You only get bits and pieces.


I was kind of a weird homie; I was a weird kid. Nobody in my family loved books. I'm the only one.


In order to stay out of trouble I worked in industry.

You can't even do that nowadays; there were all those factories.


When you win, we win; but when you go down, you go down alone.


Gangs exist when there are lots of empties in a person, in family, in community.

It points out how we need to do more to bring real art, passions, teachings, caring, and resources into the emptiness of young peoples' lives.


One summer I was homeless in L.A., when I was about fifteen, and I used to go to the library to get books. I would have books in abandoned cars, in the seats, cubby holes on the L.A. River, just to have books wherever I could keep them, I just loved to have books. And that really helped me. I didn't realize it was going to be my destiny; I didn't know I was going to be a writer.