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Former and Incarnated Chicago Vicelords Member, Solomon Montague, Shares Story of Redemption

Solomon Montague

Solomon Montague

By Naomi Bonman

When we hear of our young Black men and teenagers deterring in the wrong direction, we give them the wrong response by turning our heads and ignoring them. They need solid advice and a positive, but raw message from someone, preferably another Black male, who has been where they have been and has or is experiencing the consequence. This will showcase as an eye opener and wake up call for many.

In lieu of making this happen is through a media platform entitled, Gangster Chronicles. Gangster Chronicles is geared towards giving current and ex-convicts the ability to share their stories, put an end to mythologies by unveiling hidden stories and reach the youth through literature.  The roster consists of men who were leaders of well-known gangs, such as the Vicelords and Black Mafia, and even a man who inspired a character on the popular HBO series “The Wire.”

Solomon “Chessmon” Montague was one of the core leaders of Chicago’s Vicelords street gang with the rank of a “Five Star Elite.” Now sentenced to life plus 30 years in federal prison, his main objective is to positively uplift the gang culture through his literature.

What was your life like before you got locked up?

My life before this long prison sentence was like a roller coaster ride. The highs and lows were very dramatic. I had rose to the top of gang life with a reputation that even I couldn’t believe! LOL!!

With the life style of being a gang chief, drug dealer and an all American criminal, the streets had created a monster that lived inside of my conscious. Everyday became a battle. I fought demons that tormented my soul when I slept. I had a gun planted in every room of my apartment (even in the kids room). I slept with a gun under my pillow.

 When I was moving in the streets, I always had the feeling that imaginary enemies or police were out to kill me. My head stayed on a swivel and my mind was going a thousand miles per second! I was never big on using drugs or alcohol; however, I started smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol to slow down my mind. This went on for about a year before the feds got me.

What led you to a life of crime?

I believe the thrill and the challenge led me to a life of crime. When I was younger, I would steal from my mother and other family members, then I started stealing from stores. I loved to watch gangster movies and I always rooted for the bad guys. I would go outside and watch how everybody respected the criminals. They were treated like royalty! When I became a gang member, in my mind, I was already a seasoned criminal.

What have you learned about yourself since you’ve been in prison?

What I learned about myself in prison is that I don’t have to be a criminal or a gang chief to be respected! And that I’m a child of GOD and a servant of His will and work.

How long have you been writing and how many books have you written?

I started writing in 07, and I’ve written four novels.

Who are you books geared for and what do you want them to take out of them?

My books are geared towards the gang culture, their families, and people who interact with them. I want them to become conscious and aware of the evils of that lifestyle and to flip the tables and fight against the traps and pitfalls of gangs, drugs, and criminal activity.

Supporting Chelsea Davis-Miss California USA


Chelsea Davis, 23, is a native from San Bernardino California. In May of 2013, she obtained her Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA. She is currently attending the University of Southern California in pursuit of her Master’s in Social Work. In addition, she has been selected to represent the city of San Bernardino in the upcoming Miss California USA State Pageant on December 4, 2016 in Long Beach, CA.

She wants to introduce her self to the each reader and resident of the City as a community leader. Davis is currently working to implement a mentorship and community development program called “Limitless Heights” under Applied Principles for Service Non-Profit Organization in the city of San Bernardino. Her main objective is to begin to change the culture of San Bernardino in an effort to bring about positive change in the community.

However, she needs your help. As she competes for the title of Miss California USA, Davis needs to raise a total of $1,750 by May 1,  2015. A donation in any amount would be helpful and greatly appreciated. Please visit her website below:

Click here to visit Chelsea’s support page

Inland Empire individuals and organizations to be honored at 22nd Annual Foundation Gala

LOMA LINDA, CA- The 22nd Annual Foundation Gala, “Rhapsody in Gold,” presented by Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, benefiting Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital (LLUCH) will present three awards during the program on Thursday, March 12 honoring those individuals and organizations that give back in a special way to the communities they serve.

“There are so many wonderful people who give back to the community in very special ways,” said Jillian Payne, executive director, LLUCH Foundation. “It is a gala tradition to take the opportunity to recognize those who have gone above and beyond in their own unique ways for the kids in the Inland Empire.”

The Shirley N. Pettis Award recognizes lifelong dedication and distinguished service by an organization to children. Through volunteering and community service, recipients demonstrate the desire and motivation to improve the lives of children. This year LLUCH will present the award to the Riverside Community Health Foundation, which was founded in 1977 to improve the health and well-being of its community. It has made a difference in the lives of thousands of children and youth through a number of services, and it has a longstanding commitment to its efforts in supporting programs that promote youth development.

Zareh Sarrafian, MBA, a passionate individual who has, through exemplary service, made sustained contributions benefiting children in our community and beyond, will be honored with The Gatsby Award. The award recognizes individuals who, through outstanding leadership, demonstrate a lifelong commitment to providing a beacon of hope to children and their families. Prior to his current role as CEO of Riverside County Regional Medical Center, Sarrafian played an integral role at Loma Linda University Health for 20 years, where he is perhaps best known for his leadership of LLUCH. There he helped the hospital become recognized for the quality of its services to children and their families.

Sarrafian has also served as chair of the board of the California Children’s Hospital Association and has championed children’s issues throughout the state.

Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital is honored to recognize Tony and Sandy Cappelli of Steven’s Hope for Children as recipients of the 2014 Hometown Hero Award. Named after their late son, the couple started the organization in 2002. It provides housing and other essential needs to families of seriously ill or injured children during extended treatment. Because of the dedication of the Cappellis and the services provided by their charity, the lives of thousands of children in Southern California, across the nation and around the world have been enriched.

The 22nd Annual Foundation Gala, “Rhapsody in Gold,” begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Riverside Convention Center on March 12. More information can be found on the event website,lomalindagala.org.