Program Note: Don't miss our AC360° special investigation, "Gangs of Hollenbeck," Friday at 11 p.m. ET and Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/25/angel.candia_captioned.jpg caption="Adela's brother, Angel Candia." width=292 height=320]
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/25/roland.brock.marine_captioned.jpg caption="Adela's brother, Ronald Brock." width=292 height=320]
A little over eight years ago, I never envisioned that my family and I would experience such a tragedy. It wasn’t until those two unforgettable nights where I felt that life had proven me wrong because we tend to grow up thinking that our family will always be with us. Everything inside me had shut down and it felt like a part of me had died with each tragedy that occurred.
I was lost but I had only a moment to feel the grief for I knew that my mother was in need of me. I needed to emotionally support her because for a few years it felt like I had lost her too. My mother grew increasingly depressed and had disconnected herself from the world. It was up to me to guide her and help her carry on.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/25/adela.brock_captioned.jpg caption="Adela Brock." width=292 height=320]
There were many times when I wanted to give up and disappear from it all, but I reminded myself that my mother did not ask for this. Filled with anger and confusion, I could not let her see that I was slowly falling apart. I needed to be strong for her. I wanted my mother back.
It has been eight years since I have seen Angel and Ronny but I always carry that memory of them smiling back at me as I drift away. To most people in the world Angel was just a gang member and Ronny was just a Marine but to me, they were my brothers. They were the ones who helped raise me, provided me with guidance and stepped in as male role models. They had a side to them that most people didn’t know or wouldn’t even notice. They were gentle at heart and very family oriented. I know this because they contributed to making me into the person I am today. They helped guide me onto the right path and I know it’s up to me to continue it on my own.
I recently graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a degree in Health and Human Services. I plan to continue my education and help those who are in need of emotional and psychological support as a tribute to those who have come to the aid of my family during difficult times.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/25/soledad.ronald.brock.angel.candia_captioned.jpg caption="Soledad Brock with her two sons, Ronald Brock and Angel Candia."]
My mother grew to be a strong woman and we continue to support each other. We no longer take moments with one another for granted and we live each day as if it were our last. I want my mother to know just how thankful I am for her tremendous impact on my life.
Though these past years have been difficult, she has never let me down and that makes her the greatest mother in the world. As I continue to go through this journey in life, I will always think of Angel and Ronny and carry them with me. I don’t believe I could ever let my brothers go because I know in my heart, they never truly left but what I do believe is that one day, we’ll all get to hold each other again and letting go will not be an option this time. I have developed a phrase that serves to give me strength on the days I think of them and feel lost: They were introduced into our world for only a moment but we’ll soon be welcomed into theirs forever.
Tragedy occurs in this world everyday and my message to everyone involved is that you’re not alone. No matter how we deal or grieve in these situations, there’s hope left in all of us that we will continue to find the strength within to reach our fullest potential while still keeping their memory alive.
I hope you and your loved ones find the same strength as my mother and I have discovered to live a long and peaceful life together.
John D. Sutter
For the world to tackle truly important problems, people have to stop looking to religion to guide their moral compasses, the philosopher Sam Harris told CNN.
"We should be talking about real problems, like nuclear proliferation and genocide and poverty and the crisis in education," Harris said in a recent interview at the TED Conference in Long Beach, California. TED is a nonprofit group dedicated to "ideas worth spreading."
"These are issues which tremendous swings in human well-being depend on. And it's not at the center of our moral concern."
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/03/26/palin.mccain/story.mccain.palin.gi.jpg caption="This will be Sarah Palin and John McCain's first joint public appearance since conceding the 2008 presidential election." width=300 height=169]
CNN Senior Producer
Sarah Palin on Friday will again be urging voters to come out in support of Sen. John McCain.
This time, though, Palin is hoping to help McCain keep his current job as he faces a primary challenge from former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.
McCain and Palin will appear together at a Friday afternoon rally in Tucson, Arizona, and a Saturday event in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa. She will also headline a fundraiser for him.
This will be their first joint public appearance since they conceded the 2008 presidential election.
"It will be a very nice reunion, to have the chance to spend some time with her, and I am very grateful she would come to Arizona," McCain told C-SPAN earlier this week.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/26/art.angie.saclemente.jpg caption="Angie Sanclemente at an undated photo shoot in Mexico."]
AC360° Associate Producer
Tonight, Karl Penhaul reports on a story about an alleged Colombian drug queen. A lingerie model’s bid to allegedly become the drug-running 'Queenpin' of South America seems doomed now that an international warrant has been issued for her arrest. Angie Sanselmente Valencia is a 30-year-old who authorities say set out to establish herself as the leader of a cartel that would use models and beauty queens to run drugs from South America to Europe. But it turns out she may have been a little too confident in her looks and that hubris might lead to the dismantling of her fledgling cartel. The Argentine police say they’re hot on her tracks. Don’t miss Karl’s report tonight.
The House of Representatives passed a slightly altered health care "fixes" bill last night, completing legislative action on President Barack Obama's top domestic priority. The so-called "fixes" bill, approved by a 220-207 vote, now goes to Obama to be signed into law. It makes changes in the broader health care reform measure that Obama enacted Tuesday. President Obama hit the road selling the law to the public yesterday and dared Republicans to run in the midterm elections on a promise of a rescinding the new law. What kind of reaction will lawmakers face when they go back to their districts?
Editor's Note: Many of you appreciated Anderson's interview with Jamie Oliver last night on childhood obesity. We also received comments about our upcoming investigative series on allegations surrounding the Church of Scientology. And many of you asked for more coverage on the health care reform. What do you think? We want to hear from you.
Thanks for the Jamie Oliver story was a real eye opener about our children...
I enjoyed your segment with Jamie Oliver tonight. I was surprised though that blame is being placed on schools more than parents. If I remember correctly, schools started serving fast food restaurant type food because the kids weren't eating the other healthy stuff,. It was all ending up in the trash bin. My neighbor when I was little had a pig farm out in the country. He hauled truck loads of thrown away food from the local school out to feed his pigs. Kids have to be taught early to eat a wide range of foods. Mom always cooked for us and introduced us to all kinds of food. Now that .she is gone I'm finding out how much effort it takes to prepare all your meals at home.