THE HISTORY OF UNITY CORPS           (page 1)

"Why?" UC supporter in rubble aftermath of 1992 L.A. Riots
The Preceding Early Years:  A Stressed Community in Need

How does one summarize a history that is still being written? More so, how is the evolution of an organization explained while it is still being born? Even so, in a relatively short period of time, Unity Corps has quickly developed a strong sense for the uniqueness of its identity and the importance of its mission in our society. The history of Unity Corps is that of an organization formed by the tremendous problems of a stressed community, and some of the most troubling events of modern times. Literally, this is an organization that was forged from under fire. The early years of Unity Corps is the story of riots, urban street gangs, senseless terror; and, the real potential for increasing a widespread appreciation throughout our world ~ on the value of all human life.

To understand the development of Unity Corps, an understanding of the community it evolved from must first be taken into account. Before its legal formation, the main sentiments of the organization had been spread for nine years prior in many of the most stressed neighborhoods of Los Angeles, California, beginning in 1989. Initially, the roots of the organization existed in the efforts of a small group of people living in the culturally diverse community

of Venice Beach. It was through this small assembly that the seeds for creating a grassroots movement promoting the concept of human unity was born. During these years before its legal incorporation, Unity Corps had existed as a loose coalition of local residents who were primarily concerned with affecting the quality of life and conditions which prevailed in Venice Beach at the time. However, from the beach communities, the tenets of these early supporters would quickly spread to the main core inner city areas of Los Angeles, additional urban regions of metropolitan Southern CA, the San Francisco Bay Area, and thus then eventually to the rest of the U.S. and our greater world.

As it is with most grassroots efforts of merit, the ranks of Unity Corps have always been filled with both committed individuals and groups of people who have all played a major role in its development. None, however, have more directly influenced its progression and effect in society than the founder of Unity Corps, Mr. Angel Tenez. Prior to the creation of Unity Corps, Mr. Tenez had been pursuing a career in the motion picture industry; when in the early 1990s, he was caught living in the midst of multiple fatal shootings between street gangs of the African-American and Mexican-American communities. Due to his proximity with these local neighborhood killings, Mr. Tenez became intensely involved as a gang counselor in a citywide effort to deal with the gang proliferation issue plaguing the streets of L.A. Eventually, these involvements led to the creation of an organized community effort entitled: G.R.I.P.P. (Gang Reduction, Intervention, and Prevention Program) which later became an early staple program for Unity Corps. Still prior to the legal incorporation of Unity Corps, these early commitments of Mr. Tenez to discover and redress the root causes for L.A.'s extreme criminal gangs problem created a keen awareness to many of the other issues which also affected the well-being of Los Angeles as a whole. Problems such as: prolific ethnic prejudice; poverty; a poor public school system; police brutality; irresponsibility in news reportage and popular entertainment; in addition to accepted standards of ethnocentric behavior in many cultural groups laid a setting for what would become the need and workings of Unity Corps. Thus ultimately, the main impetus for the establishment of this mission would then come about with the L.A. Riots of 1992.

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