A third generation gang member, Janice Garcia seemed destined to continue her legacy of drugs and crime. Then at 16, a sympathetic counselor diverted her out of the criminal justice system and into job training.
Trained as a medical assistant, she began to see herself in a new light. Now she was someone skilled and entitled to a good education. She remembered how one special person helped her change her life for the better. As a gang prevention specialist, Janice herself is often that sole person who makes a difference in a misdirected girl's life.
Janice takes her powerful personal message to young women who belong to gangs or are being pressured to join gangs, showing them the other options available. From firsthand experience, she shows them how to find a new lease on life.
I hadn’t decided how I was going to take the first shot until I heard her interview, then it came to me. Initially, it was recommended to me that I place her in front of a wall with graffiti. "How cliché" I remarked, how many latinos are we supposed be paraded in front of a wall with graffiti. When Janice finally made the decision to leave the gang life, she also decided that she wanted to lead a middle class life. To her, this meant a family, a house, and a car. The photograph captures those things that she was able to attain because of the departure from her previous life. The cyclone fence is typical of every other in the barrio, the neighborhood that she chose for herself to live in.