Gang founder finds new motivations in treatment program | As the founder of the whites-only European Kindred prison gang, David Patrick Kennedy has a reputation as a violent racist who commands respect from â€¦
...David Patrick Kennedy (middle), who founded a whites-only gang while he was in prison, now is speaking about his experiences to students at Madison High School, where he also ran into his fifth-grade teacher (right), a woman he once put in a headlock. Boys and Girls Aid Society
As the founder of the whites-only European Kindred prison gang, David Patrick Kennedy
has a reputation as a violent racist who commands respect from fellow criminals.But Monday afternoon, Kennedy
told more than 100 Madison High School students that he
is not proud of his
life and that no one should look up to him.
"I've had to step back and ask myself, 'Why am I getting nowhere with my beliefs, even though I've got the EK behind me?' " Kennedy
, a convicted felon who has served more than nine years in the Oregon prison system, told five classes that gathered in the school's library.Kennedy
is questioning his
life as part of a residential drug addiction treatment program he
entered three months ago.The program is run by Volunteers of America Oregon, the state chapter of one of the largest nonprofit social service organizations in the country
.The school trip was arranged by Greg Stone, the director of the Men's Residential Center where Kennedy now is living.
is doing very well, even though his
background is more hard-core than many of our other clients'," Stone said.
...Sten (the brother of city Commissioner Erik Sten) arranged Monday's talks and a previous appearance by Kennedy before his psychology class.
Before answering questions from the students, Kennedy
talked about learning racist beliefs from his
father, a motorcycle gang member who taught him that "might makes right" and who murdered his
mother before his
eyes in a jealous rage.Kennedy
father's friends introduced him to alcohol and drugs at an early age, leading to a longtime methamphetamine addiction he
now is trying to shake.After dropping out of school, Kennedy
repeatedly was arrested and convicted of crimes ranging from robbery to assaulting an elderly woman during a home invasion burglary.While serving time at the Snake River Correctional Institution in Eastern Oregon, Kennedy founded the European Kindred.
The gang spread outside the prison system when members released into the community recruited new members and continued committing crimes.
"When we formed the EK, one goal was to get together and help people on the outside.Instead, we got together and planned more crimes.When you get a bunch of criminals together, that's what usually happens," Kennedy
But now Kennedy says he
wants to associate only with people who are clean and sober and looking to be law-abiding citizens.A major motivator is Kennedy's
3-year-old son, whom he
might not see again if he
goes back to prison.He
girlfriend also are expecting another child later this year.
"My father taught me racism, and I want to break that cycle with my son.I want to teach him violence is a no-no and don't judge people," he
told the students.
VOA ran first halfway houses
After being arrested last November for violating parole, Kennedy
parole officer agreed he
should enter the Men's Residential Center
After living at the Men's Residential Center
for around three months, Kennedy
wishes that he
had received such treatment earlier in his
told the students, the program has helped him realize the futility of viewing the world as a racial battleground where only the strong survive.
told the students he
is still proud of his
Scottish-Irish heritage, he
is getting along better with some of the black clients at the center than some of the white ones.Kennedy
also said the center is teaching him constructive alternatives to drugs, including just talking honestly to other people with the same issues.
"This is the first time I've really had help with my addiction.This kind of program should be available to everyone with a serious drug problem," he
told the Madison students Monday that he
is working hard to complete the program, reunite with his
family, get a job and put his
former life behind him.
"If you always do what you've always done, you always get what you've always got.I don't want that to happen to me anymore," he
told the students.