Growing up in Pacoima

By Sergio Medina  |   From : Pacoima, CA, USA  |   School : Social Justice Humanitas Academy

I grew up in California. The part where people are judged for simply living there. Of course, this being the bad part comes with various obstacles that were forced on me. This all took place in my old house where I was introduced to some of the people that would have the most impactful changes in my life. It wasn’t until a few years that I lived there that I would begin to see the problems lay on my environment. Things such as gangs and violence were something that had become normal to me and I didn’t think much of. It wasn’t always like this, though. With time came to change and that is exactly what had happened to my older cousins Alexis and Huero. As hard as it is to say, these two were the ones that would turn to cause us the most harm. One can say that they were gang members, but to me and my older sister, they were family, people we could trust and have faith in. This never changed, even when we would face complications. For reasons that I can’t say, police would come to our house every other day to check up on them. This, of course, left me not thinking much of this. Police were supposed to be friendly people who protect and serve, so when I would see them tackle and arrest my brothers, it would confuse me. I felt like I was being lied to. I didn’t ask any questions. Fast forward, things were the same and nothing had really changed. Until, one day, my mom, dad, two sisters, aunt, and I were set to face our biggest situation yet. That day would turn to be a day that I wouldn’t forget, but also the day that my parents would finally make the decision to move out and find a better neighborhood to live in. So we went with this, and things did get better. Our safety needs would be met once again. We still heard from my aunt and two cousins, but things did seem to get better with them. I could tell that they wanted to change, and that is something that I won’t forget and will forever respect them for. I knew that I would have to live with these traumatic experiences always haunting me, but I also knew that I wouldn’t let this stop me. I wanted to be better. Growing up in the same place as Alexis and Guero made me realize that there shouldn’t really be something stopping me from becoming like them. However, I knew that wouldn’t happen. The support from my family and friends helped me heal and realize that I can be different. Me taking advantage of my familial wealth would turn to be a decision that I would use to feel better in situations like the ones I went through in the past.

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