The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, one of New York’s largest street gangs allowed me through the Street Organization Project to interview and conduct field research with their female members during the years of 1997-1999. This paper is a direct result of my research and it examines the processes leading Latinas to join the female branch of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, show the changing nature of gang female participation and the motives for continuing within the gang.
The New York State Latin Queens were founded in 1991 after a manifesto for the Latin Queens was penned by King Blood, the First President of the New York State Latin Kings. Until that time, there had been no organized group for women who wanted to join the Latin Kings. They were called the Naia Tribe. After 1996, the role of the Queens began to expand with the ascension of King Tone to the Inca position (First President) of the New York State. Under King Tone’s leadership, the rules of the Queens were amended. For the first time the Queens began to put forward their own demands, which challenged some of the discriminatory rules and male privileges of the group
The Latin Queens I interviewed were from different areas in New York with a predominantly Puerto Rican and Dominican background. The respondents described their motives for joining either directly or indirectly under a multitude of different themes that spoke to the effects of systematic physical abuse, economic deprivation, health problems, emotional trauma, cultural denial and family disintegration. I will analyze these in greater depth by breaking them down and contrasting the findings to the four themes also identified in the literature as: issues of identity, family pressures, economic survival and family/community networks.
2003. , 38 p.