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I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was an initiation into the crew.

BOYHOOD The author’s family immigrated to Canada from Lagos, Nigeria, in 1987.

My parents gave me a traditional Nigerian name: Oluwasegun Olufemi Akinsanya.

Oluwasegun (Segun for short) means “God will help me conquer,” Olufemi means “God will have mercy,” and Akinsanya translates as “warrior who gets revenge.” When I think about my name now, I believe it meant my destiny was written: that I would go down a dark path, fail, and find redemption. When I was two, our family moved to Canada and settled in rural Quebec—all trees and open farmland. Our house was huge, at the end of a long, winding driveway.

I quickly discovered that Michael’s older brothers were associates of the Galloway Boys.

The gang formed in the late ’80s, and over the next three decades was involved in drug trafficking, gun running and prostitution.

Lots of these crews don’t even think of themselves as gangs—they’re just a bunch of guys trying to get by.

I entered that world in the summer before Grade 9, when my family moved to a townhouse near Morningside and Lawrence.

(I’ve changed his name and a few others to protect their anonymity.) I was in awe of Michael.Mosunmola and Johnson are shown here with their children, Titi, Abi, Morayo and Segun (in his father’s arms). So when he asked me to help him out one day, I jumped at the chance.(Image: Courtesy of Segun Akinsanya) A few months later, I noticed a man hanging around the neighbourhood. He used to give us here and there, or buy us a Big Mac for lunch. He gave me and my friend a brown paper bag, and told us to stand outside a convenience store and hand it off to another guy.ops always talk about getting young black men off the streets. And they’re not organized into intricate hierarchies like you see on TV.Most of them are based on where people live, particularly in low-income neighbourhoods or community housing complexes.

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My dad, Johnson, was a chemist who got his degree at the University of Waterloo and later ran a water filtration business in St. We had to drive to a nearby farm to pick up our eggs, and our neighbours had two cows that I called John and Deere.