Gang members will say and try many things to get you to join their gangs. Think about what you might say if you are faced with this pressure. Comebacks may not stop all of the pressures you face, but they can help slow things down so that you can get more help if you need it.
HERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN SAY:
"My brother died from gang violence. I promised my mom she wouldn't lose another child."
"I won a scholarship to the local university. I won't give that up."
"I'm not down with getting hurt, or hurting other people."
"My little brother looks up to me. I'm all he's got, I won't let him down."
"I want to keep a clean record so I can get a good job."
"I've seen too many things in my neighborhood. Gang life is not for me."
"I want to be the first in my family to [__fill in the blank___]. I won't mess that up."
"My cousin was shot in a drive by. I don't want to get caught up in that scene."
"I'm busy working on my singing career."
"I have big plans for myself. I can't have an arrest record."
My aunt is in jail for running drugs for a gang. She'll never see her family again. I don't want that life."
1) Practice comebacks with your friends, older sibling, or a trusted adult (parent, caregiver, foster parent, older family member or family friend). You can use some comebacks from this list, or make up your own. Decide what works for you and get their feedback. Always make the comeback about YOU and your choice to avoid disrespecting the specific gang or gang member directly.
2) Have a 'backlash plan." Saying no to a gang member is trickier than dealing with other types of pressures. The gang member who is pressuring you might try to make you feel bad when you don't say "yes". He might make fun of you, or call you weak for not wanting to be part of the gang. There's a chance he could get violent or angry if he feels disrespected by your decision. It's important to talk with your trusted adult to come up with a plan to handle any backlash you might get when use comebacks.