Gangs, Drugs and Denial

root - Posted on 27 May 2008

A ReViewForTheREVolution of Gangs, Drugs and Denial- a recent POOR Press publication.

by Marlon Crump/PNN

"I felt the cop's hard boot hit my neck, I heard the wind pass as he lifted back and swung his foot onto my neck and upper back, I tasted the warm blood drip down my mouth..."This gripping passage from Angel Garcia's recently published memoir, Gangs, Drugs and Denial is just one of many where he shares his life's pain, stories and struggles openly and honestly.

In his powerful, candid memoir Angel confronts his struggles with immigration, disability, drugs and gangs. Angel tells his harrowing life story, one filled with sexual abuse, rejection, trauma, addiction and police brutality- things no human should ever have to experience.

Yet, Garcia has succeeded in defeating these demons by gracefully reconstructing his life story. Angel joined POOR Magazine's Race, Poverty and Media Justice Institute earlier this year in his own pursuit of happiness and peace, as he overcame overwhelming odds, trials, and intense tribulations to write and publish this memoir.

Just reading the first couple of pages of this intense, attention-grabbing autobiography, the reader becomes immediately engulfed in Angel's life story. He begins by describing how at age 14, he gained the courage to flee his native country of Pe'ten, Guatemala to escape the inhumane abuse he suffered at the hands of relatives.

Through the pages of his book, Angel re-lives the pain of losing his mother at a very young age, the abuse he suffered and the brutality he witnessed on the streets in San Francisco's Mission District. He tells how he was schooled by OGs (Original Gangsters) and the veteranos (veterans) about life on the streets.

During the struggle to save his very life and sanity, Angel desperately sought soul salvation, reunion with his mother, and support in his later years, as he overcame drugs, violence, poverty, rejection, system oppression, callous characterization, and police brutality.

Though there are millions worldwide that have lived through similar heartbreaking stories of violence, rape, and trauma, unlike most Angel was able to resist self-destruction and suicide. In the end his strong determination led him on the road to his own recovery and self-healing. And, ultimately made him into a positive role model for others.

Despite being born with Cerebral Palsy and continually told that he would "never be able to succeed in life," Angel’s unseen strength and Catholic faith in the Virgin de Guadalupe of faith, luck and protection- a work of artistry in the fantastic tattoos on his arms and the cover of his book- helped him recover.

Angel's story is truly an inspiration to anyone who’s battled or battles the demons that Angel continues to conquer today.

This autobiography is far more than just a mere title. It's a journey into a life of inspiration, of voice that refused to go unheard, a tortured spirit that refused to remain unseen, and one man who ultimately needed Gangs, Drugs, and Denial to be re-born into the man that today is Angel Garcia.

For more information on Angel Garcia and to order Gangs, Drugs and Denial, please go to, call 415-863-6306 or write to POOR Magazine 1095 Market Street #307 San Francisco, CA 94103

POOR Press is a non-profit publishing project of POOR Magazine that is dedicated to publishing the books, cds and zines of very low income and or houseless youths, adults and elders in the Bay area.


Sign-up for POOR email!