La Raza

Founded Founded in 1980 by Boney, Ruben, and Micobrio in or near Lower West Side: Pilsen
Founding story

Founded in the Pilsen section of Lower West Side neighborhood at 17th and Racine

Affiliations ;
;
Colors White, Red, and Green
Primary ethnicities Latino (Mexican)
Symbols Eagle's Head, Mexican Flag, Cross, and 3 Slashes
Symbol usage

Brown Eagle head from Mexican flag, cross with 3 slashes above it

Status Active

In the year 1980, Mexican migration picked up significantly in the United States as many came to this country to take up labor jobs.  Many Mexican people arriving in the United States were often ridiculed and discriminated against even by their own people that were Americanized, this is something that happened in Pilsen back in these days.  Mexican youths and laborers were often bullied and robbed of the cash they carried by neighborhood gangs after they had labored all day.  Eventually some of these Mexican youths at 17th and and Racine grew tired of being harassed especially by gangs like the Latin Counts, Bishops, Latin Brother, Laflin Lovers, Stone Heads, Party Masters, Damen Boys, Tokers and Latin Kings.  The youths got together under the direction of “Micobrio,” Ruben and “Bones.”  The name “La Raza” was chosen along with the Mexican flag colors because La Raza was showing their pride of the country they came from and were ready to fight for those colors and name to the death.  The rival gangs in the neighborhood were upset with the name and tried to take it from them but were met with fierce resistance from La Raza.

La Raza tried to avoid gang activity in the early 80s and just tried to be a hang out group that protected each other but rivals continued to harass them and La Raza had to fight back.  La Raza youths tried to remain mostly law abiding kids that hung out in Dvorak Park by Cullerton and Racine, but even playing in that park brought them harassment from the gangs fighting over that territory.

In the year 1981, the fights with neighborhood gangs got worse for La Raza and they made the decision to join the Folk alliance alongside their closest allies the Party People.  Just like the Party people La Raza joined the Folk alliance under the sponsorship of the Little Village Two Sixs but La Raza did not adopt the moniker of “Gangster” like the Party People did, instead La Raza adopted “Insane” which was the moniker that the Satan Disciples used but La Raza had no direct ties to the SDs except for being Folks too.

La Raza and Party People were close allies since they both started in the same year of 1980 as party crews.  Both groups also consisted of mainly Mexican youths fresh from Mexico that were struggling with gangs in the neighborhood trying to take advantage of them.  There may have been a friendship with the Brazers too as they were going through the same thing but La Raza was NOT born out of the Brazers as many think.  There were also stories that La Raza was born out of the Party People, this isn’t true either.  Many other stories try to claim La Raza was born out of other various groups but those are not true either.  Many just seem to have a hard time grasping that La Raza started independently and have always been lone wolves that sometimes have allies.  Many seem to want to believe La Raza was once owned by other gangs upon their inception but this isn’t true, La Raza is all original.

In the year 1982, a younger group of La Raza started up called “Tiny Raza” that was situated by 21st and Throop.  This was the slow progression of how La Raza was becoming more and more known in the neighborhood as they were now growing.

Things got real serious in 1982 when the first La Raza named Martin was gunned down, this is when La Raza began to gravitate more into being a gangbanging crew than ever.  After the killings of “Mando” “Snake” then 1984  “Micobrio” in 1984, who was killed by Racine Street Latin Counts it hardened La Raza more into a hard core gangbanging crew as now they were targets by rivals more so than ever.

In the same year of 1984, La Raza expanded into new territory in the Back of the Yards community.  “Beto” was the founder of the 48th Street La Raza branch as he connected with local Mexican youths, mostly ones that had just arrived in this country and who were bullied by Latin Kings.  This section was started at 48th and Laflin.

La Raza was always hard for law enforcement and the general public to identify because of their name and colors.  Anybody who is Mexican can wave the Mexican flag and say they are “La Raza” which means “the race” in Spanish.  If Chicago police were to harass someone based upon them claiming they are “La Raza” and wearing the Mexican flag colors and emblems they could be accused of violating the civil rights of that individual and this is how the La Raza gang blended in until the late 1980s.

By the mid-1980s, everyone was starting to hear about La Raza as they became more violent in their gangbanging as now members were beginning to shoot their rivals dead.  Since many of these older members didn’t have too many ties to the United States they could just pack up and leave for Mexico after committing a murder.

In the year 1988 La Raza went to war with Ambrose along 18th Street.   In March of that year some Ambrose jumped a member of La Raza and according to the court case of People vs. Quiroz, La Raza gang members Martin Quiroz and Jose Anaya shot and killed Ambrose gang member Jesus Sanchez (referefnce: People vs. Quiroz).  In that same year of 1988 La Raza and the Satan Disciples went to war mainly because La Raza was still allied to the Two Sixs and Two Sixs had just launched into full scale war with Satan Disciples.    At Cullerton and Loomis, Laraza was always in very close proximity to allies the Two Two Boys, and now that Two Six and Two Two Boys were at war and La Raza was still allied with Two Six, a war erupted with the Two Two Boys.

In the late 1980s, La Raza aggressive measures grew as they continued to be implicated in more and more shootings.  La Raza would often deal with their enemies quickly without any hesitation giving them the reputation as one of the more violent street gangs in the Pilsen area and perhaps on the top list for the city.  This gained them much notoriety and brought them more expansion in Pilsen and now they progressed to growing into other neighborhoods especially the Back of the Yard neighborhood between 47th and 49th Street from Ashland down to Racine (48th Side).  La Raza also grew into a large area in Pilsen between 19th Street and 21st Street and Loomis to Racine. At this point they likely close 17th Street to focus more on the 19th Street zone.

At some point in time La Raza also opened up 50th and Hoyne and 42rd and Mozart in Kelly Park in the Brighton Park neighborhood.  La Raza also spread into the Marquette Park neighborhood at 61st and Fairfield and 76th and Ridgeway in the Ashburn neighborhood.  La Raza even wondered into the north side and opened territory at Clark and Estes “North pole” in the Rodgers Park neighborhood.  La Raza also made their way into the Hermosa neighborhood on Chicago’s northwest side at Harding and Wabansia “DK Town” which became a flourishing section that spread to Courtland and Kedvale.  In the earlier 1990s La Raza would pioneer the suburbs of Streamwood, Rockford, Carpentersville and Cicero at 14th and 49th in the Grant Works section.

By 1990 or sooner the war with Ambrose died out and would not resume until the mid-1990s.

In Cicero by the early 1990s Two Two Boys originally were on the corner of 14th and 49th since 1980 and now over a decade later La Raza was settling there, this kicked off a major gang war as these two gangs were just too close to each other.  La Raza also began to be at odds with the Satan Disciples and all-out war began in 1988 as well.

Throughout the 1990s La Raza fought several vicious and bloody gang wars yet they continued to multiply in size and seemed to become increasingly violent.  La Raza remained close allies with Two Six until a territorial dispute happened in 1998 over 42nd and Mozart which was in Two Six territory and La Raza was taking from their drug business, La Raza did not want to give up the territory so they both went to war for about 1 year, then a truce was called because both gangs were having issues with the Saints, and La Raza left that territory and put more soldiers on 48th Street for investment reasons and to keep relations with Two Six.  Two Six eventually left 61st and Fairfield closing down their Marquette Park operations for reasons I did not know.

Cortland and Kedvale was eventually left behind for more investment at Harding and Wabansia.  La Raza has not lost much territory over the years and only lost one suburban investment in Carpentersville because of the police.  The organization has ran strong since 1972 and is known for being one of the more vicious, aggressive and violent organizations.

Please send in old school pics.   1970s pics will be especially appreciated!

Questions:

  1. Did the Brazers assist La Raza with setting up the Clark and Estes turf?
  2. What year did Clark and Estes form?
  3. What year did Harding and Wabansia turf start?
  4. What year did La Raza come to Marquette Park?  What year did they leave and why?
  5. What year did La Raza come to Cicero?
  6. What is the time line of leaders after Boney?  Only up to the year 2000 please
  7. What year did war start with SDs in the 90s? What started it?
  8. What year did war start with Party People?  What started it?
  9. What year did war start again with Ambrose in the 90s? What started it?