I just received word that gang intervention leader, radio host, peace maker, and all around heroic, kind and inspiring Los Angeles presence, Bo Taylor, died Monday of cancer. This is terrible news. Having Bo vanish on us so abruptly is a true loss for the city.
A former gang member himself, Bo was the founder and executive director of Unity One. Under this umbrella he worked in some of toughest neighborhoods in South Los Angeles. (Here’s a story I did on his radio show last March. And here’s a 2007 Time Magazine interview with Bo.)
Among his other accomplishments, he was instrumental in getting Pete Carroll, head football coach at USC, to create a nonprofit organization, A Better LA, to grant money to “peace squads” — people raised in targeted urban communities who would mediate community tensions to prevent the cycle of retaliation.
Look: there are all manner of gang intervention people working in LA. Most are well meaning. Some are very effective. Others, not so much.
But Bo was the real deal.
Respected both at City Hall and on the street, he was always my first choice as a go-to guy when I needed to know what was going on in the world of gangs and gang intervention on the south end of town. Plus, I just straight out liked and admired the guy.
We all did.
Here’s what went up a little while ago on Pete Carroll’s site about Bo:
There are superheroes.
And then there’s Bo Taylor.
A man in a class all by himself, Darren “Bo” Taylor lived like he didn’t matter and everyone else did. Like the betterment of the community — your community — meant more to him than anything else. Like the transformation of young people’s lives was all the inspiration you needed to do good work…..
Rest in peace, brother. You are already terribly missed.