AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – An Augusta man wants to change the same streets that helped send him to prison by pushing people back into school. Ray Montana said he’s no stranger to crime life.
“I’m from the streets,” he said.
So he’s starting a revolution in the same streets that raised him.
“Street Justice was started back in 1996 when I had got convicted of a crime of selling drugs,” Montana said, referencing the program he started due to a charge from former Augusta Mayor Ed McIntyre.
Believe it or not Montana said there is a gang problem in Augusta.
“There are members in organizations, 200-300 members in one organization here in Augusta. A lot of people just don’t know that they exist, but they do exist and until they find a better way, that’s the only way they know,” he explained.
And he said the cure is changing the CSRA’s economic structure where those at the bottom are drawn to a life of crime.
He described, “You will fall to the wayside of what the streets have to offer when you’re trying to make some money and you can’t make no money because you’re not educated, you don’t have an education or you’re trying to make some money and you don’t have a job.”
Montana’s Street Justice starts at home with his 30-year-old wife Angel Perkins who never made it out of Glenn Hills High School.
Perkins, who has four children at home said, “Sitting back watching my kids and watching the news and people dying everyday. That’s not how I want my kids to grow up.”
Perkins works as a child care teacher now without having graduated from Glenn Hills. But she said obtaining her GED can help her provide more for her family and keep others from ending up like loved ones killed in the CSRA.
“I just lost family members because of violence in the streets. And Cooney Circle. Nobody should have to see their family member in a box,” she said while reflecting on her cousin who was recently gunned down in that neighborhood.
Perkins plans on signing up for her GED this Saturday, June 4 at Shiloh Community Center, located at 1535 15th Street, Augusta. The event is from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and it is free. It is being sponsored by Central Savannah River Area’s Street Justice Council and lunch will be provided.
To find out more about the GED, click here.