GATE: “Gangs,” A Therapeutic Education
GATE is a training program designed for anyone working with adolescents and adults who are impacted by the culture of gangs and community violence. The course uses the lived experience of its facilitator along with a community counseling model influenced by post-modern, strength-based ideas to understand the impact of trauma on the lives of those living with violence and the role of gang culture as a means to emotional and physical survival. The most powerful part of the training is an introduction to the contextual realities faced by gang members and those affected by community violence. The politics of dehumanization of entire cultures are included as part of the dialogue as we delineate the efforts of powerful systems to incarcerate, devalue and ultimately exterminate the marginalized. By challenging assumptions and providing language to address matters of oppression and privilege, we expose counselors and other participants to ideas that work in conversations with mandated youth and adults, including self-identified gang youth and other oppressed populations.