My name is Anthony Washington, I'm 41 and I grew up in North East Portland. I am a former gang member and drug dealer. I want to share my personal experiences with you. My mother was only 16 when I came into this world. She was still a child herself and needed to finish school. Now that I was here, she needed to support me, and that required her to jump into the work force. Since my Mom was busy with work and school, my Grandmother, who I affectionately called Momma raised me. I spent the majority of my time with my Grandmother until I was 11 years old. My Grandmother was an amazing woman who helped develop and mold me during some of my most influential years.
March 15, 1987, Spring Break, I was a student at Fabian Elementary School. I didn't know that this day was going to change me for the rest of my life. I was picked up at the bus stop by my Great Grandfather and my friend Mike. That's when I received the most devastating, life changing news. They told me that my Grandmother (Momma) had been murdered. I took the news really hard. After all she was my MOMMA. I felt responsible for her death. The night my Grandmother was murdered, I was supposed to sleep over, and didn't. This forever haunts me. My grandmother's death changed me FOREVER.
Being a boy only 11 years old and losing one of the most important figures in my life. This trauma had me emotionally terminated. I began running the streets of Portland, to escape the pain I was dealing with inside. This is when I started selling drugs and accepted the Structural Gang Culture. It was a way for me to express my displaced anger and find acceptance with a group of like-minded peers. By the age of 15 I found myself facing a Murder One Case.When I was 15 hanging with acquaintances, and drinking, a conversation/confrontation went all bad. Another young man shot my dog, and I snapped. I had already been in a downward spiral since I was 11, and that was the final straw. Not to mention that alcohol was involved. I snapped and I shot him. I found myself running away to escape the system. It wasn't long before I decided to turn myself in. At age 15 I was fortunate enough, with the Lord watching over me, to escape being tried as an adult for Murder One. Until the age of 21 I spent my time at McLaren School for Boys.\