MARQISE LEE Growing up in Long Beach, California, gang wars, violence, poverty and drugs were an everyday setting for most of us. We lived in a constant battle of good and evil, with evil unfortunately overpowering the good in most cases. As a child, I saw things happening around me that I didn’t completely understand, and as time passed I started to believe that it was just the way of life. I had two older brothers who were members of one of the most prominent gangs in Long Beach and always in and out of trouble. There was a perceived benefit of love, financial opportunity and the sense of belonging that gang life offered, and if at home you lacked any of these, chances are you ended up selling yourself in. There was a time I considered this life and the one thing that stopped me were my brothers who protected me against making the same decisions they had.