Faces of Milpas

NT: Why was Felix messing with his homeboys?

RM: He was strung out on dope. He had dope problems. That's all it was. He's a big dude. . . . He was out there punking people left and right. It wasn't that Felix was a leader of those boys. He was far from that. When he got strung out on dope, he was going to do what he wanted to do and that was it.

It ain't like the homeboys were like, I don't think it was so much they were scared of him, but what are you going to do? Your brother is going around acting crazy and taking shit from people. All you can say is, "Hey, be cool homes. Don't do that." He ain't going to listen to that. He's got dope on his mind. "I want my dope. I want my fucking dope and I'm going to get it"

Joe Romero and Myra Rosales with their children (from left) Vanessa Rosales, Joeanna Romero, Evonna Rosales and Benjamin Romero.
Paolo Vescia
Joe Romero and Myra Rosales with their children (from left) Vanessa Rosales, Joeanna Romero, Evonna Rosales and Benjamin Romero.

NT: What does Felix think about Tonatierra's teachings?

RM: This is nothing to him. To be like this, for him, I think he would consider that being weak.

NT: How did you approach Felix?

RM: I got into confrontation with Felix. . . . After that, I think some of the other homeboys thought I was mad at them, too. So we stopped talking all together. It's not that I'm mad at them. It's just very disappointing in the way that they handled Felix. The way that they still kicked back with him and hung out with and the way he was being with certain other homeboys.

It's really hard to go and talk with them. Before, man, we're tight. Everybody was. . . . It was a family. Then this fool goes over there and starts breaking up the family. You start feeling a little resentment towards the people. You feel like they should have helped you step forward and say, "Hey, cut it out." . . . after that happened, I just stayed away because I didn't know who I could trust.

NT: What do you do now as far as reopening communication with your LCM homeboys?

RM: I've got a long road ahead of me. . . . I'll just play it by ear. If it's meant to happen, it's going to happen. I leave it in the hands of the creator, I go by that. . . . One of the main reasons I go to the Sundance is for my barrio. I go out there and suffer for four days for all those guys out there. And I pray, and I pray hard and say, "Man, help me to help them." Also for my family and lots of other reasons. One of the main reasons was to get all this knowledge and teach them about all these things that are helping me change myself as a person.

That's my main thing.

Contact Edward Lebow at his online address: edward.lebow@newtimes.com

Contact John Dougherty at his online address: john.dougherty@newtimes.com

See previous stories in the Hard Core series here.

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