Karen Prairie

Addy Prairie, March 17, 2018

Karen Prairie: In Her Own Words

Hi my name is Karen Prairie. I live in Texas now, but a little more than 20 years ago I lived in Los Angeles.

I worked for an energy company called Unocal. Part of my job was to act as a liaison for the facility with people that were in the neighborhood -- and it just so happened it was a neighborhood that had a lot of gangs and gang activity. And the company let me design what I should do to engage with the community. And there were a lot of gangs in that area There were other folks that were living in that area too, and they were very concerned about what was happening with the gangs.

The people in the area seemed to think that it would be good if we could do something to work with the gangs, and it kind of just naturally presented itself – “That’s the thing to do” was to work with some of the gangs.

In the process of meeting people in the community, there was a police officer. His job was kind of like a liaison from the police department with the community as well. He actually knew a lot about the gangs, and he taught me a lot.

One of the most important things that I learned from him was that there were a lot of people that felt like the key thing that you needed to do was to provide kids that were falling into gangs with something else to do -- and he believed that, and I believe that, people are naturally good, and that these kids are good, and that if they could just be pulled into something else, then they wouldn’t fall into gang life.