Detours Mentoring Group

Ben Owens, also known as Taco, is a product of change and reformation of character. As a former gang member turned activist, his involvement with the African American gang culture for over thirty-seven years has forged relationships with rival gang members and often the victims of gang and gun violence. He is currently is a supervisor with Soledad Enrichment Action (SEA) and is contracted with the City of Los Angeles’ GRYD (Gang Reduction Youth Development) program. He is also a consultant for many documentaries that illustrate gang and gun violence in the South Los Angeles region.

Taco is an Ordained Minister and is the Executive Director of Detours Mentoring Group Inc., located in Gardena, Ca. He sits on the Executive Board of the Southern California Cease Fire Committee where he collaborates with former and active gang members, victims of crime, clergy, community members and law enforcement to resolve community conflict and gang induced violence in the Greater Los Angeles area. He has trained both Interventionist and Law Enforcement on community collaborative methods and practices since 2007. In 2013 he worked Hospital Based Intervention with CROSSROADS and St Francis Hospital contracted through the Department of Labor as a Victim and Trauma Recovery Case Manager. Prior to his GRYD experience he has worked with the PYE program (Project Youth Embrace) through Prototypes, the Department of Justice and the Los Angeles County Probation Department. For the past 3 years he has served as a moderator at the Los Angeles Gang Conference.