Denver Harbor: Bad and Good by: Albert Carmona
January 2004–Denver Harbor Park is a neighborhood where I’ve lived all my life. Eighteen years of my life. There are so many stories to tell. It’s located on I-10 East off of Lathrop/Kress st. It’s ethic back ground are mostly Hispanic and a little white and black families here and there. Its size is no bigger than U of H. It’s one of them hoods as I like to call them where it’s not so big but the people who live there think they are. Well, what I’m trying to say is that people who live there think their the big shit. That’s why there’s so much gang violence and shooting. My hood used to be real bad where people hate each other.
I would be scared to walk the streets alone at night cause I was scared of getting jump or who can imagine what would happen. My hood has its color and it’s RED. Still today all across America bloods and crips rome the streets, RED signifying bloods and BLUE signifying crips. This blood and crip thing all started in L.A. and every major city has caught on to it. Sometimes it gets so bad about wearing the wrong color in my hood that you might get shot at or stabbed. It sounds so stupid and ignorant but I hang around a lot with homeboys from my hood, and I know their down for whatever. It’s hard to believe that they would fight over a stupid color, but when I was younger and stupid I was one of them. I can really explain how its works but it all has to with pride. Everyone knows Hispanics have a lot of pride.
I have two older brothers, Rudy and Alex. I think the only one who really got deep into the gang activity was Alex. At the age of 14 he began a long life of violence and getting locked up a lot as a juvenile. His reputation was known on the streets of Denver Harbor. He was locked up 3 times in juvenile detention facilities and when he hit adult age. He’s been locked up like four times in Harris County Jail. I think all these bad things happened to him because of where we live. The friends and peer pressure hit you hard and you really cant say no because it makes you lot like a you know. Right know as I speak my brother is locked up in County for two-cases of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He’s had to many changes, but I hope they give him one more. He has a wonderful wife and a beautiful 2-year-old girl and all that might not be anything if he is put away for a long time. On October 8, he goes to court, their going to put him in a line up. They say they got a witness, I hope not. If hes convicted he might do some time.
The crime does not stop there. My family has history of petty crime and incarceration. My father has a long history of jail to prison time. As a youth, my dad was in drugs, violence and gangs. At the age of 18, he was diagnosed with hepatitis B. His life almost past him like that due to drinking. Living in Denver Harbor can effect anyone who there. About three years ago, my father spent two straight years in prison for having a concealed handgun and shooting it while drunk on the fourth of July. He’s changed and now lives a normal life. Through these many experiences my brothers and I have somewhat followed his ways, others more. Because of these things, my father is not able to live with us because my mother would not let him. Looking at all these bad things, I think it has had an effect on all my brothers and little sister.
Another reason why my hood is not so great. Through my years since my elementary years, I have had so many friends go the wrong way. To many had family problems, many did not know how to take it. It let them to a life of crime, theft even murder or being murdered. I can at least recall about five deaths in my hood. Two I knew and the others were young like me. One of my homeboy’s brothers got his life taken away back in March 31, 2003 by a cop. He was running from the law because they say he was tried of spending half of his life in jail. Sometimes I would ask his brother how can you take that shit, he said hey he chose that life. To me that real hard to say, his brother was 30 and he still tried to live the messed up life. The crazy thing about the death is that it happened in my hood right by the sister’s house. Damn its so fucking hard to live this thug life. That is what everyone labels people who come out of broken home or bad neighborhood.
I’ve never had a brother or sister taken away from due to gang violence or anything else. Because of my family never having to go through or having to feel what these families feel. Church has been the number one reason why; if it was not for church, I can honestly say that one my brothers would be dead. Jesus Christ has helped my family so much: financially and spiritually. It has kept us off the streets and off drugs. Its led us to believe that we can do something better for our lives and ourselves.
Another reason, it can be that baseball has always been a tradition in my family. Since we were little children playing with dirt my father, would get all six of us and play baseball with us. We grew up playing and loving the game for ourselves. While my homeboys were on the streets, I was playing a game of baseball. It kept me in school also. Every year in high school, I played for the team. It kept me very busy, but I loved that I had to go to practice everyday. It has been better than being on the streets our being shot at. I also do it for my mother. You know doing well in school staying out of trouble. My brother Alex couldn’t do it so I guess I’ll be the one who brings her the joy of having a son going to college and graduating. She tells me everyday. Please mejo (son) do not acted bad today, do all your work today and come home safely. To me that’s more than enough to do what’s she wants me to do. You see one thing about a Hispanic family is were very prideful. So when my mother tells me something or to do something. I try my very best to get it done.
On the flip side of Denver Harbor, it can be an ok place to live in. There is of course the recreation center where people can play sports and all sorts of fun activities. Denver Harbor Park has three baseball fields. Kids can come and play some baseball games. The ages range from 5 to 15 of age. They have regular season games and then the all-stars come along. The all-stars are the funniest part. You get to go to different parks and play different little leagues. In the end, two teams play for a district championship game and who ever wins, wins a huge trophy and a plaque with everyone name on it. If you were to go to Denver Harbor Park you would see my name four times, my brothers three times and my other brothers name twice
Another fun place is the library, maybe not fun to everyone but to some. They have programs for kids to join, or kids can just come in and read a book in the quiet and cool building. The people who work in the library are very kind and easy to talk to. Almost every employee there I know. Just about any chance I get I go to the library and visit them. They have all sorts of books and of course the Internet. Also, there’s another park in the hood called LiL Red Park. It’s right next to an elementary school. The park has it’s own basketball court, but it’s much smaller than D.H. park. It has a small soccer field for all them soccer people out there. But, the best thing about the park I would say that brings that small park is that it has some sort of fake palm tress that shot out fresh cold water. Everyday during the summer little kids are out there just having a blast. It’s perfect because everyone knows that Houston weather is no joke.
In conclusion, we’ve seen Denver Harbor Park from a good side and a bad side. From the influence my hood can have on a teenager to having a good time in the sun at the park. No matter what neighborhood you live in, it’s how you live your life and what’s around you that determines how great you can become. But thanks to God and baseball I’ve done ok living in this harsh neighborhood. I’ve made it to college and I think everyone in Denver Harbor would say that’s one hell of an accomplishment.