Episode 50 – Jorja Leap

Gang Expert Jorja Leap on Bringing Positive Change to Underserved Communities
By LA Stories Staff Los Angeles
PUBLISHED 1:58 PM ET Jan. 13, 2020 UPDATED 3:18 PM ET Jan. 13, 2020

LA Stories with Giselle Fernandez profiles UCLA anthropologist and nationally recognized gang expert Dr. Jorja Leap.

Known on the streets as “Little Mama,” Dr. Leap spent years studying Los Angeles gang culture in order to get a better understanding of why men and women in underserved communities join gangs.

Using the knowledge she gained firsthand by earning the trust of gang members, Dr. Leap penned Jumped In: What Gangs Taught Me About Violence, Drugs, Love, and Redemption and Project Fatherhood: A Story of Courage and Healing in One of America’s Toughest Communities.

In her writings, Dr. Leap delves deep into gang life in order to prove to the world that these people deserve our help and attention. Her studies inspired her to co-found the Watts Leadership Institute, which provides guidance and resources to community leaders and organizations in order to better help and create positive change in the neighborhood of Watts.

Dr. Leap works tirelessly to bring change, recognition, and hope to these communities. It is her mission to show the world that we are stronger united than we are separate.


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