EL CENTRO, Calif. - MAG celebrates January proclaimed as Anti-Gang Awareness Month statewide.
Mothers and Men Against Gang Violence celebrated on Friday what they thought at one time to be impossible. State legislators proclaimed January as the month to observe activities and efforts to combat gang violence statewide. Local and state officials attended the event. It also served to raise funds to help MAG continue with their efforts and collaboration with schools to raise awareness regarding gang violence everywhere.
MAG was founded in 2013. It began with the tragic loss of 17-year-old Martin Alberto Garza from an unprovoked attack by a local gang member on January 2013 in El Centro. The Garza family responded to the tragedy by championing anti-gang awareness activities in the hope of preventing other young people becoming victims of gang violence. Their message reached the state’s capitol. On Thursday, state legislators unanimously voted to proclaim January as Anti-Gang Awareness Month. The Garza family was recognized by thunderous applause, according to a press release by a state official.
Yulil Alonso-Garza, mother of Martin Alberto Garza, said, “It was definitely a blessing that happened. We had presented Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia with a resolution that would declare California Gang Awareness Month during the month of January. And we were able to travel there and meet all the representatives and be present with this historic moment in California where we, all together, realized that we can work towards a better future for our youth.”
She said this proclamation will have an important impact on youth statewide.
“Our efforts are with the community in telling our son’s story and creating events and programs that will guide students towards a better path than a risky behavior that they’re on. And show them that they have a future,” Alonso-Garza said.