La Raza

Founded Founded in 1980 by Boney in or near Lower West Side: Pilsen
Founding story

Founded in the Pilsen section of Lower West Side neighborhood near Cullerton and Loomis

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

I now backup what is written in the Jinx book about La Raza history.  I was right that La Raza hung out with Party People in the beginning and both groups developed as party crews in the Pilsen area around 17th and Carpenter.  Three groups all hung out, La Raza, Party People and the Brazers (Los Braceros) at 17th and Carpenter right around 1980 while La Raza had their first turf at 19th and Carpenter.  All three groups were having the same struggles, all were among freshly arrived Mexican immigrants that often moved here without family ties to Chicago in their younger years and all three groups were bullied by Mexican American groups such as Ambrose and Latin Counts.

The Braseros are the oldest group among the three and hung out at 17th and Carpenter in the late 1970s before the Party People existed.  In the year 1980, many of the Braseros moved to the Uptown neighborhood and left the rest in Pilsen.  The Braseros of Pilsen changed their group name to “La Raza” under the guidance of founder “Boney” or “Bones” who was a co-founder of the Party People just before starting La Raza. Other notable founders were Shadow, Cobra, Diego, Cougar, Capone, and Hector.  La Raza also kept the Brasero colors of the Mexican flag but wanted their own identity since the founder of the Braseros left the area and became the “Brazers” in Uptown.  The groups kept their ties and eventually a branch of La Raza would open in the Rogers Park neighborhood at Clark and Estes in the 1990s bringing them back together again as allies.

People in the neighborhood were upset with this group taking on this name because they did not have to usual goals of groups that use the term “La Raza” as far as advancement of the Mexican people, but to this group now located at 17th and Racine it meant they were a group of outcasts that needed to band together because of how they were picked on because they were directly from Mexico and didn’t speak English well at first.  The “La Raza” meaning for them could have stemmed from that they felt more Mexican than others as they were recently from Mexico.

The “La Raza” name was one that caused a lot of attention to be drawn on these youths and several groups of youths challenged them to fights because they wanted this group to drop their name, this meant these kids had to fight tooth and tail to keep the name.  At first they tried to be a quiet group of rather law abiding kids often hanging out in Dvorak Park and by Cullerton and Racine down to 19th and Racine.

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 main enemies were Latin Counts, Bishops, Laflin Lovers, Tokers, Latin Kings, Damen Boys, Stone Heads and Party Masters.

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  “Microbio” 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 beginng 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.  What year was Los Braseros founded, who was the first leader?
  2. Did the Brazers assist La Raza with setting up the Clark and Estes turf?
  3. What year did Clark and Estes form?
  4. What year did Harding and Wabansia turf start?
  5. What year did La Raza come to Back of The Yards (48th)?
  6. What year did La Raza come to Marquette Park?  What year did they leave and why?
  7. What year did La Raza come to Cicero?
  8. What is the time line of leaders after Boney?  Only up to the year 2000 please
  9. What year did war start with SDs in the 90s? What started it?
  10. What year did war start with Party People?  What started it?
  11. What year did war start again with Ambrose in the 90s? What started it?