Neighbors: At age 18, Esteven "Esto" Juarez was transformed. Before, back in the early 2000s, Juarez founded the Edison neighborhood gang the Washington Street Boys. Throughout his teen years, he committed acts of felonious assault, he was smoking crack, and it was a guarantee that his life would end in addiction, murder, prison, or, as Juarez says he contemplated, suicide.
Now at 31, he's a family man, a pastor, and the program director of urban outreach for Urban Alliance. Before his transformation, Juarez lived a doomed existence. Society saw him as a problem that needed to be sent to prison ASAP. "That was the narrative, and it was the conditioning of my environment that put that narrative in place," Juarez says. "Transformation can't happen unless the renewing of your mind happens, and you actually apply that.” We asked Esto to tell his story of the Edison neighborhood because over the past 120 days we have found many people whose minds have been renewed and who are bringing about transformation in the neighborhood.
Southwest Michigan's Second Wave thanks Nick Turske of Elemental Media LLC for his work on this project.
Director/ DP / Editor: Nick Turske
Camera OP / Editor: Steven Aldrich
Producer: Esther Tuttle