Luis Rodriguez

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Award-winning Chicano author Luis Rodriguez turned away from an early life of crime as a LA gang-member to become a youth activist. His memoir, Always Running: La Vida Loca - Gang Days in LA--a cautionary tale for his son Ramiro who had joined a Chicago gang--became an international best-seller with more than 250,000 copies sold. He co-founded Youth Struggling for Survival, a Chicago based community non-profit which works with street gangs and vulnerable youth. In 2000 he opened Tia Chucha Cafe, a bookstore, art gallery, and performance space in Sylmar, California. In addition, Luis co-founded a non-profit cultural center, Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural, which houses Tia Chucha Press which has published forty poetry books. Luis Rodríguez has spent more than twenty-five years committed to community work throughout the country. He has conducted workshops, readings, and talks within prisons, juvenile facilities, homeless shelters, migrant camps, universities, schools, and Native American reservations. In this conversation with Maria Hinojosa, Luis talks about his life as a former gang member, his commitment to youth and his return to his indigenous roots.

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