Krump has a space at Chuco’s Justice Center

Listen to a story by Annenberg Radio News

imageKruti Parekh’s words may shock you.

“Los Angeles locks up more young people than anywhere else in the world,” she says.
Parekh should know. She is a Coordinator at Chuco’s Justice Center, named after a community leader who was gunned down in 2005. It is located on the border of South Central and Inglewood. The center was created as a safe space for young people to play and social justice workers to organize.
Parekh explains that before raising money to have a permanent location, space was one of Chuco’s main concerns.
image“We had made a committment that we would have the center open to other folks and organizations that were interested in doing good work, helping young people, helping the community” she says.

Since October 2010, Shofu the Beatdown and a circle of krumpers have benefitted from Chuco’s mission. Shofu is part of Xtreme Movement, a well-known crew. Krump is a street dance characterized by chest pops and foot stomps that originated in South Central in 2002.

The krump circle takes place every Monday from five to nine p.m. Shofu appreciates the reliability and safety of the space. Sometimes the center provides free food and drinks. Mostly though, young people can practice and perform a street dance they love.

Shofu has been krumping for six years. He will always remember the exact date he started.

image“Somewhere in June. I think it was June 20,” he says. “I remember the day because I want to remember that day for as long as I live. I saw the krump video and it was a piece of me that I felt I didn’t have or didn’t even know I was missing.”

Meanwhile, Parekh is keeping her eyes on the bigger picture: redirecting dollars marked for suppressing crime to positive opportunities for young people like Shofu.

“If we took just one percent of suppression dollars for L.A. County, that would be 100 million dollars and that could actually provide 50 youth centers around the county, open from 3 to midnight, 365 days a year, plus 500 community intervention workers that can maintain safety within communities, plus 25,000 summer jobs for young people,” she ays.

With that kind of financial help, Chuco’s imagines a world with more krumpers and less criminals.

Visit Chuco’s Justice Center’s website for more information.