Addressing Gang Violence in DC

May 20, 2011  |  

(Washington Informer) — Del McFadden knows the benefits a timely intervention can have on a young person’s life.  In his case, he believes, it was the difference between life and death.  As a teenager, he was running with older youth and men in the drug trade.  “A drug dealer is the major reason I’m here,” said the 37-year-old District resident.  “I was 13 and sold drugs for him. I lived in a household of five, and we lived on $660 a month from welfare … I wanted to be part of something, so I waited in the car watching the guns and drugs.”  “These were older guys who used me because I was 13.”  McFadden said drug dealing was a way of surviving and the money he made helped him buy tennis shoes and be a part of a popular group in his neighborhood.  “Things started getting hot with shootings.  The drug dealer [William] turned to the church,” he explained.  “The man had college credits, too. He’s the reason I read books.  “He said we were going to sign up for classes at Southeastern University and we both were on the Dean’s List together.”

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