What Good Can Come from Here?

Just nine days before Christmas in 2006, our family moved to a new neighborhood. Well, actually, we moved to a neighborhood that was new to us. You see, the neighborhood where we moved was one of Fresno, California’s oldest neighborhoods. This neighborhood in particular, like many others in Fresno, had been left behind. Due to its high rates of poverty and violent crime, it had eventually become known as “The Devil’s Triangle.”

Christmas was quiet, New Year’s was loud, and before January came to an end, in the silence of night, someone was stabbed to death behind our home. “What have we done?” we asked ourselves. Our daughter was only ten months old and she had already been exposed to murder; the chaos of the neighborhood regularly interrupted her sleep. We wondered: can anything good come out of “The Devil’s Triangle?”

A family of five lived a few doors down from us. Over the coming months we discovered that the family included two boys who were active gang members. On more than one occasion these boys were involved in major fights on our street and alley, and their conduct affected our sense of safety and security. However, over time our relationship with this family deepened, as did our relationship with our neighborhood.