Trejo had his life flipped upside down during the Cinco de Mayo riots at San Quentin when he found himself in solitary confinement facing three gas-chamber penalties. In an interview with Risen, a San Diego-based magazine I used to edit, Trejo explains why he has dedicated his life to speaking to at-risk young people about avoiding drugs and alcohol.
“So we went to the hole. I was in the hole, and someone had written in feces ‘God sucks’ on the wall. And I thought, ‘This is what my life has come to.’ I knew in my heart that I wasn’t a bad person, but something’s wrong here. I mean, ‘God sucks’ is written in s-t. So I remember saying, ‘God if you’re there, everything is going to be okay. If you’re not, I’m screwed.’ That was it. That was my prayer.
“From that day forward, I took alcohol and drugs out of my life. I think that is one of the biggest things for our youth. It’s hard to do right when you are drinking and using. If you get up in the morning and you’re planning on going over to a friend’s house and drinking, you’re already wrong. Alcohol and drugs are the biggest deterrent from doing right.”