Bhutanese in Tennessee benefit from gang prevention workshop


Focusing to create awareness amongst the parents of Bhutanese tweens and teens, a workshop on gang prevention wrapped up in Nashville, Tennessee, on Sunday. The workshop was organized under the initiative of Ellisha King, Schoool Readiness Specialist, Yam Kharel, Self-sufficiency Caseworker, Naresh Dahal, Employment Specialist at the Catholic Charities and Yam Dangi, caseworker at World Relief Nashville.

Parents of the tweens and teens listen to detective. Photo courtesy/Naresh Dahal.

Detective Brian Clark and Detective Jason Cregan of Specialized Investigation Division, Gang Unit of Metro Police Nashville facilitated the workshop where Yam Kharel interpreted throughout the session, in Nepali.

The workshop started with a brief history of the origin of gangs in America. Origin, influences, network and existence of some of the most violent gangs such as Bloods, Crips, MS 13, Mexican Mafia, People and Folk were highlighted with visual effects in the early session.

The detectives also highlighted the possible holes through which our children might be persuaded to join gangs were explained to the parent by the detectives. The detectives said that our children go to the schools, which are also the melting pots for many other students from vivid cultural background that can put our children at greater risks of being manipulated towards anti-social activities under the influences of some bad groups.

The existence of gangs and their influences over the young students, their business of drugs and weapons trade and the way they end up their lives in prison as the consequence were depicted to the parents through the Nashville based gangs-crimes instances. Identifying gangs’ graffiti, hand signs and color codes and the ways that our children might knowingly and unknowingly mimic them were presented in the high priority. Participants shared that they they were introduced to many new things that definitely will benefit them to avert their children’s possible involvement into gangs. Chandra Khatri, one of the participants said, “ Now I am able to identify the graffiti, signs and color codes of the gangs, so as a parent, I must talk to my children and educate them to make sure that they have chosen the right friends and are in the right company. I should review my child’s face book friends’ list as one of the steps.”

Ellisha King, who also possesses a good expertise on working with gangs prevention said, “Gangs don’t really discriminate who they target.  They usually go after the most vulnerable youth because they are the most susceptible to manipulate.  Gangs influence refugee youth in a few major ways.  The first being they are easy targets for intimidation; vulnerable youth allow gangs like to feel powerful and that they have control.  Some refugee youths become scared and quiet while others band together to start their own ethnic group of friends for protection.  These groups can and have in the past turned into gangs.  Refugee youths are also susceptible to seeing gangs as “cool” and try to emulate their behavior, which can lead to trouble.  On top of all these factors, refugee youth tend to speak and read English before their parents which limits parents understanding of what their children are up to and limits how parents can effectively help their children transition into their new life in America. I believe the workshop was a huge success!”

At the end, the participants were given the floor for queries and numbers of questions were shot and the detectives answered back. Distributing his business card, Detective Clark told everyone to call him or his office any time they notice any type of gang related violence of if they need help in removing graffiti from public and private places. He further eased the situation by telling them that they can always call under anonymity or even from a private number if they are not comfortable with direct calls. He would take any kind of calls.

At least twenty participants from the Bhutanese community participated in the workshop. A power point slide show was presented alongside throughout the entire workshop session.

With inputs from Yam Kharel for Bhutan News Service.


  1. This was awesome and I hope it would be the great milestone to enlighten the community. The new people in the USA are vulnarable to many illegal deeds and activities. So, this kind of workshops are helpful for all of them.

  2. This is one of the outstanding jobs ever done in the diasporic community. Ofcourse, it is now time to think big of the future of our kids. Lets not hang on to small issues that we have hauled with us from back home, in our small mind. This is a right precuation ahead of time.
    I hope this will be an example to all those who are concerned about the children’s future and providing them with a cool environment to achieve their goal.
    Kudos to the organizers.
    Suraj Tamang, MN