The United Playaz Organization

 Words & Photography Paulino Love
Tupac died before he was able to manifest his T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E. movement in which he dreamt to create an organization to rehabilitate ex-cons, create alternative programs to get youth off the streets, provide job opportunities, and provide housing for the impoverished. “If Tupac were here, he’d be a United Playa” explains United Playaz Executive Director, Rudy Corpuz. Although, Tupac is gone, organizations like United Playaz are able to bring a similar vision to reality.

The United Playaz organization was co-founded by ex-felon Rudy Corpuz in 1994 to diffuse gang violence between Filipino and Black students at Balboa High School in San Francisco. During its 14 years U.P.’s success has helped it grow into 10 different chapters at various San Francisco elementary to high schools and a chapter in The Bronx in 2003.
Some of the youth activities include exposure trips to San Quentin Penitentiary where at-risk youth are able to speak with prisoners of the organization, Real Choices where they are able to have dialogue with inmates about the reality of prison life. Most recently, UP held a “Stop the Violence” assembly held at Balboa High School and Civic Center High School where former San Quentin lifers and now U.P. Site Coordinator Rico Remedio, and U.P. Case Manager German Yambao spoke about turning their lives around after being pardoned and finding a more positive future for themselves and their community through United Playaz. Also, at the assembly U.P. has been able to collaborate with organizations such as the Healing Circle where mothers and fathers were able to share heartfelt stories about losing their children to gun violence. Bay Area Rappers such has The Jacka, J. Stalin, and the Hustle Boys were able to give performances at the event showing solidarity for U.P.’s “Stop the Violence” campaign. J. Stalin showed the utmost respect to the U.P. Staff by expressing “I respect them because they lived the street life, they done been there before, they been on the yard, they done all the bad shit. Now they see they done been blessed to overcome…to help other people, that’s great.” The Jacka also, explained why he took the time to give a special performance for the youth. He explains, “They doing this out of the pure kindness of they heart and just wanting to see a change…They been through it all. These dudes are ready to go all the way out. I’m wid’em.”
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