Leon Kelly: dean of Denver's gang interventionists

Jul 1, 2013

In the two decades since Denver's "summer of violence," the Rev. Leon Kelly has counseled thousands of youth on track to the jail or death that gang life promises. His "death book" now lists 996 names. He remembers them all.

On First Take with Lando and Chavis, the Rev. Kelly recounts how L.A.'s attempt to solve its game problem made Denver's gang problem worse. He also notes that when, in 1993, gang violence erupted out of minority neighborhoods and bystanders began to fall, then Governor Romer convened a special session of the state legislature to create new laws, punishments and resources. Kelly had lobbied state leaders for years earlier to help him do something about the young men drawn into crime.

A couple of gang related shootings in the past few months have prompted new concerns about another "summer of violence." Meanwhile, Rev. Kelly continues his work with youth, families and authorities, to stem the spread of thug life any further.

The 28th annual golf tournament to benefit Kelly's Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives is July 12 at Fossil Trace Golf Club in Golden. Players and sponsors are welcome.

Details on the tournament and the work of Open Door at www.opendooryouth.org.

I-News Network's Burt Hubbard was with the Denver Post when he and Felisa Cardona filed this 2009 story tracking the lives of gang members over the past 20+ years.   Denver Post article