Belize’s lost generation is the subject of a new book launched in Belize City this morning at the Leo Bradley Library. Called “Insights Into Gang Culture in Belize: Essays on Youth, Crime and Violence,” it is a collection of first-person essays by Nuri Muhammad, who has decades of experience of working to turn around the lives of youth in the Old Capital who were – and in some cases, are – entrenched in the gang lifestyle. Muhammad is a former director of the Conscious Youth Development Program (CYDP) and Youth for the Future (YFF), among many other youth programs. At today’s presentation, several of the featured speakers reflected on their time in the gang life and the work undertaken by Muhammad and others to turn around many lives. Lincoln Kelly, a worker at the Department of Youth Services, speaks of the formation of the first gang in Majestic Alley: No compilation on gang violence and its impact on the Old Capital is complete without the story of George “Junie Balls” McKenzie, the revered leader of Pinks Alley who was ruthlessly murdered in August of 2007. But according to the woman who was his common-law wife and mother of his oldest son, Melissa Major, he too saw the futility of gang life: Stories like McKenzie’s are what inspired Muhammad, he says, to make an appeal for a renewed understanding of the problem and dedication to finding solutions that are not actually reinventing the wheel. The book is on sale for thirty dollars at your nearest retail outlet.