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Uppers, Downers & All Points in Between

Teens protest execution of
Stanley “Tookie” Williams
Author: Juan Ruiz

On December 13th, at 12:35 am, 
Stanley “Tookie” Williams, the 
founder of the infamous Crips 
gang, was executed by lethal injection at San Quentin 
State Prison. That night about 2,000 people gathered 
outside the prison protesting the execution, 
including famous people like Snoop Dogg. Three days 
before the execution, a similar protest happened here 
in Watsonville. 
On December 10th, about 70 students at Watsonville 
High walked off campus in protest of the execution. 
The students planned to hold the protest on campus 
during the morning break, at 10:31. At the beginning 
of the break, the students gathered along the side of 
the school library. A buzzer rang, which indicated 
the end of break. As the other students returned to 
class, the group of protestors walked off campus. 
The protest lasted until the afternoon. A lot of the 
students were yelling out chants such as “no more 
blood for blood.” Most of those chants came from 
Zeltzin Sanchez, the initial inspiration for the 
protest. After the protest two students were 
suspended and a majority of the students that joined 
the protest got cuts for missing class. 
“The man tried to change what he did and everyone 
deserves a second chance,” said Zeltzin.
Zeltzin, a senior at Watsonville High School, knew 
she would get in trouble for instigating the protest, 
but went ahead and did it anyway. That day, the 
chant “no more blood for blood,” was heard all over 
Main Street and at Watsonville High School. Although 
the students and Zeltzin were aware of the risks, 
they went ahead and did the protest. They wanted to 
be heard and they wanted to express their feelings 
about Tookie’s upcoming execution. 
Stanley “Tookie” Williams grew up in a ghetto 
neighborhood. As a youngsta’, he went to high school 
at South Central High School in L.A. He had a 
fearsome reputation as a fighter and as a “general” 
of South Central’s Westside. Around that time, 
Tookie, along with Raymond Lee Washington, created 
what is still known as the biggest gang ever, the 
By 1979, the Crips had a membership that spread all 
over the state of California. When this happened, the 
Crips became just like the gang they wanted to 
protect themselves from, according to Tookie’s home 
page. The Crips became gang bangers that terrorized 
their own neighborhoods. In 1979, The Crips lost 
their top 2 leaders; Raymond Lee was murdered by a 
rival gang member and Tookie was arrested on charges 
of murdering four people. In 1981, Tookie was 
convicted and placed on death row, where he spent 24 
years before being executed. 
Stanley “Tookie” Williams spoke out against violence 
while he was in jail. He wrote several books, 
including “Gangs and Violence,” “Gangs and Self-
Esteem,” “Gangs and Friends,” “Blue Rage, Black 
Redemption,” and “Life in Prison.” These books were 
made for children and teens to teach them about life 
as a gangster. He also wrote about how life in prison 
is. These books were meant to reach out to kids and 
teach them to stay away from gangs. 
I think that the death penalty is wrong. Still, 
people think that the convicts on death row should be 
executed because they don’t want to pay taxes.  Other 
people just want them to die because they think 
criminals don’t have a soul. The death penalty is 
a “program” that was established for serious 
offenders. This was a place were Tookie was living 
since 1981, and where he died in 2003.