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Youth Today Gets the COIL Angle of the BGF Case

May 3, 2010

The recent heroin-trafficking indictment of alleged members of the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) prison gang in Baltimore got some serious drill-down treatment May 1 by monthly trade publication Youth Today, which is published in Washington, D.C. by the American Youth Work Center.

Youth Today’s target audience is people working with children and youth, and the BGF case would be of interest to them because two of those indicted—including Todd Duncan, accused of being the BGF’s street commander in Baltimore—were outreach workers for a violence-prevention program run by the nonprofit Communities Organized to Improve Life (COIL). Their jobs entailed working with youth at risk of getting involved with street violence.

The nearly 4,000-word article, written by Youth Today associate editor John Kelly, is a valuable addition to coverage of the BGF in Baltimore—and of anti-gang work nationwide. It focuses on COIL’s management problems, including funding it received—and quickly lost—from the Safe Streets anti-violence initiative run by the Baltimore City Health Department. Kelly has managed to get at questions about COIL’s recent history headed by Stacy Smith and its relationship with Safe Streets that have largely eluded the local press.

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