February 11, 2016 

By Jennifer Bihm 

Assistant Editor 

 

“There are no color lines when it comes to low riding,” said longtime member and organizer of the Watts Life Car Club Andre Christian.

 

Christian and members of the Watts Life Car Club are inviting the public to their third annual picnic February 28, at Ted Watkins Park in Watts. There, guests will get to see exactly what he means. Everyone gets together, he said, despite differences in race or gang affiliation.

 

Christian joined the low rider car club in 1998 but the organization had been established about 20 years earlier. In 1978 a group of men loosely banded together to represent Watts in the popular street races and hot spots at the time. They officially formed the Individuals Car Club in 1980, consisting of members from other parts of L.A. County, like Compton, South Central and Gardena. Watts Life was soon to follow.

 

Christian said that club members, despite some preconceived notions, always show respect to one another and the communities in which they are involved.

 

“Sometimes, you get a negative vibe because people see low riders and they think this a violent or a thug operation” he said.

 

Nothing could be further from the truth, Christian explained. In fact, the gang interventionist and Watts Life work closely with community advocates and activists to help underserved communities get access to much needed resources. He, himself, joined because of a desire to exit from street life.

 

“I matured and basically got tired of the senseless murders, young guys being over sentenced… I started studying a lot of history,” he recalled.

 

“I started going to different communities to find people who were thinking about the same things.”

 

 When he happened upon a low rider get together on Crenshaw one day, he was sold on the idea of peace in the community.

 

“I saw Crips, Bloods, Blacks and Browns… and it was just unity. It was positive,” Christian recalled.

 

For his part, he works hard to maintain that peace but sometimes it can get challenging, he explained.

 

“Bringing peace to the community is sometimes a fight because everybody doesn’t want peace.”

 

At the picnic, club members will be providing health services, dental screenings, bike rider safety education, free food, fun and activities. Throughout the year, they provide giveaways on some holidays, they hold and Autism Walk and they provide mentoring .

 

Most recently, they’ve been involved with the Safe Communities Initiative, aimed at preventing violent incidences like 100 Days 100 Nights, which was a threat allegedly, by some gang members to inflict massive violence on the community.

 

Ted Watkins Park is located at 1335 E. 103rd Street in Watts.

Category: Community



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