The Neighborhood. The Barrio. The Hood. Growing up here is no joke: people get stabbed, people get robbed. Gang life is all about surviving, belonging and hustling. But with all your friends dying around you, where do you go to find hope? “The Neighborhood” tells the story of four Chicano gangsters who grow up on the streets of Southern California, find hope in Jesus Christ and are now pastors serving others.
“The Neighborhood” is a powerful and gripping documentary about former gang members who are pastors today! Tommy Cota, former prisoner, is now the pastor of Hope Alive Church in Santa Ana, Calif. In addition to his story, former gang members David Zamora, David Trujillo, and Jose Hernandez all talk about their past lives and where God has brought them since then. None of them ever dreamed about being a pastor, but God led each one to that position.
They each share how Jesus was made real to them through the testimony of others, and they make the following statements in the film: “Free from guilt,” “God loves us,” “Jesus Christ is reality,” and “I’m grateful.” One former gang member says he asked the Lord why He saved him, and the Holy Spirit replied, “Why not?”
The film includes re-enactments of young men smoking marijuana and cigarettes, drinking, and talking about drugs, a few utterances of profanity, and violent re-enactments or comments about violence including death. So, we are awarding the film our “Faith-Based” Seal, meaning it has a faith message but contains objectionable material. However, it is a powerful witnessing tool and shows what God did in the lives of former gang members who are now on fire for God.