“At the start of it all, I was a spoiled kid who thought she was invincible and the coolest thing ever to hit the street. I never believed the street would hit back and take everything from me.”
From being a spoiled child in Oak Park, Illinois to a prostitute earning money for her severe heroin addiction in southside Chicago, Angalia Bianca started her perilous lifestyle at only nine years old when she used drugs for the first time.
Her cautionary tale has been her source of motivation to help prevent others to go down the same path she did. Her book that she co-authored with Linda Beckstrom called In Deep, How I Survived Gangs, Heroin, and Prison To Become A Chicago Violence Interrupterr details the last five decades of her life, full of stories that may shock you or may help you realize that it’s never too late to change.
In the beginning she thought her high adventures were glamorous, hanging out with famous band members. She spent her youth drinking, smoking weed, taking hallucinogens and eventually started heroin which became a soul sucking addiction and led her to a life of crime to pay for her lifestyle.
Angalia tells her story in a blunt and matter of fact way, believing that if she doesn’t expose the truth no matter how gritty the details, it won’t help people.
Her story begins as a child in the suburbs of Oak Park, Illinois to her teens and downward spiral into drug use that would lapse over four decades until she turned her life around. From her cross country journey with Keith Moon of The Who to her friendships with motorcycle gangs, she admits using her charming personality to exploit people to meet her needs.
Angalia Bianca spent years getting in and out of trouble. Prostitution was a way to meet ends and she ran an ingenious and lucrative con involving airline tickets. Angalia’s high risk adventures led her around the country until she finally settled back in Chicago.
In Chicago she got involved in gangs and became a lucrative drug dealer. Although she had mostly been able to evade jail for her criminal career, things started to fall apart and she spent the next twelve years in and out of prison.
After her father died, Angalia Bianca decided to change her life and find stability. She checked into a ten month rehab program at A Safe Haven, a homeless shelter and drug addiction treatment center. There she went through a transformative period that helped rid her of heroin addiction and caused her to vow to help others.
She is now a violence interrupter. A violence interrupter, explained by Blanca, is a person who is trained to “prevent shootings by identifying and mediating potentially lethal conflicts in the community and following up to ensure that the conflict does not reignite.”
Angalia later was awarded a Resolution for Bravery from the city when she witnessed a drive by and was able to save a teenager’s life when she stopped the blood flow from the bullet wound until medics arrived.
Angalia Bianca is just one of the many women and men out there that have a story to tell. A story of redemption. Proving that a person can change, a person can have many chapters in their life and their past doesn’t define who they are today.
These former addicts, ex-inmates show that second chances aren’t only deserved, they are earned by how they have turned their lives around and are now reaching out to help others.
Learn more details of Angalia’s journey to where she is today by reading her book entitled In Deep, How I Survived Gangs, Heroin, and Prison To Become A Chicago Violence Interrupter.
Thank you for reading, we are bringing hope into prisons.