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MOORPARK : Youth Conference to Focus on Issues

El Concilio del Condado de Ventura will hold a conference titled “Youth Reaching Out Together” at Moorpark College on Saturday.

Organizers said the daylong series of seminars will include discussions on AIDS, racism, education, career opportunities, cultural pride, gangs and youth violence.

One of the youths organizing the conference for El Concilio, 17-year-old Eric Fuentes of Oxnard, said the discussion on gangs garnered a lot of attention from the teen-agers last year.

He said the distinction between barrio identity and gang identity has sometimes been overlooked.

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For instance, Eric said, “the Colonia is real Mexican. It’s like home. Being in a gang is a totally separate thing. But now people hear the word barrio and they think ‘homeboys’ and that’s not how it is.”

“I don’t claim (turf),” Eric said, “But in Oxnard, I had a friend get jacked for her jacket. I live out of a gang neighborhood. It’s still affected my life.”

Organizers said 350 students had already registered for the conference, which will take place in classrooms and lecture halls at the college.

There is no fee for the conference. The deadline to register is today. For more information, call 983-2336.

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