On a frigid February morning, Chicago violence interrupter Angalia Bianca was driving past a local convenience store when three shooters opened fire on the store, wounding a 15-year-old boy. Responding in her usual way, Bianca rushed to the boy amidst the gunfire, putting pressure on his wound and keeping him alive until paramedics arrived. She would later receive the Resolution for Bravery Award from the city, both for saving the boy’s life that day and for her ongoing efforts towards ending gang violence—a far cry from the Angalia Bianca of years past.
In her memoir IN DEEP: How I Survived Gangs, Heroin, and Prison to Become a Chicago Violence Interrupter (October 2, 2018; Chicago Review Press), Bianca recounts her story—a true tale of depravity and perseverance, crippling addiction and redemption—in her own words. She tells of her early exposure to drugs at age nine, her first forays into Chicago’s criminal underbelly, her time spent living on the streets and in the prison system and the struggle to make amends with the family she left behind. Ultimately, and most importantly, she details how she saved herself.
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