Alex Sanchez is an internationally recognized peacemaker and co-founder of Homies Unidos in Los Angeles where he has developed and implemented innovative violence prevention and intervention programs since 1998 and has also lead the organization as Executive Director since 2006. An outspoken community leader, Alex’s commitment to disenfranchised youth and their families in the Latino and largely Central American communities of the Pico Union, Westlake and Koreatown areas of Los Angeles, is rooted in his own personal journey that includes having been a gang-involved youth, target of the INS, LAPD and Salvadoran national police and death squads. Alex’s family migrated to Los Angeles, California at the end of the 1970s, during the height of military repression in El Salvador. After being involved in gangs and serving time in state prison, he was deported in 1994 to El Salvador where he met the founder of Homies Unidos, Magdaleno Rose Avila, and others striving for social change. This turning point marked Alex’s commitment to improve his life and to help other youth do the same. He brought back that message of hope and redemption to California and helped found Homies Unidos in Los Angeles in 1998.
Alex is a hands-on prevention and intervention professional that has made a positive impact in the lives of thousands of at-risk youth and their families. As a well-respected violence prevention pioneer and expert on gang culture and youth criminalization, Alex has advocated for comprehensive intervention strategies, immigration reform and Black-Brown unity – promoting racial tolerance and cultural understanding as a form of violence prevention. Alex adeptly connects these issues to a deeper analysis of local, national and transnational politics, systems and policies. He has been sought out to consult with academics, journalists, filmmakers, elected officials, non-profit agencies and advocates at local, national and transnational levels to address youth violence prevention and intervention and is the recipient of many awards including the Drum Major Award from the Martin Luther King Legacy Association, the Lottie Wexler Award, the AGAPE Award and others. He is a proud husband and father and symbol of peace, compassion and courage to his family, friends and community.
Alex was notified in January 2013 that all charges were being dropped by the federal government. This video below was days after he was released in 2009, seven months after his arrest.