Rudy Corpuz Jr. is the Executive Director of United Playaz, a youth-led violence prevention program based in San Francisco whose slogan is: “It takes the hood to save the hood.”
As a younger man, Rudy was a high school drop-out, gang member, and drug dealer.
After 10 years of being in and out of trouble with the law, Rudy decided to go back to school and start helping other felons and troubled youth.
In this conversation, we speak about his personal journey, the birth of the United Playaz, how he thinks about regrets, and what continues to motivate him after 26 years.
7:10 – “When you’re making so much money and living a life, you’re blind to a lot of those things. But you know that’s part of the game.”
8:00 – “The money changed us.”
10:30 – “I got to the lowest point in my life when my family wouldn’t even accept me… they lost respect, and that’s one of the hardest things to deal with.”
16:45 – “I’m Filipino and I gang bang. I gotta qualify for THAT job!”
22:40 – “You give the power to the people and let them know how intelligent, how amazing, and powerful they really are if they use it.”
25:30 – “I honestly think most people don’t want war, they don’t want to fight… they really do just want to live in peace and harmony. They just need some guidance. They need somebody to share with them that these things can happen.”
28:30 – “To me that’s what’s missing a lot right now. People don’t communicate.”
33:45 – “They’re not lost kids, they’re just misguided.”
34:30 – “That’s what God is in the business of. Doing amazing and miraculous things. That’s what he does. And that’s all this is. Something that got planted way back then.. and turned something negative into something positive.”
36:00 – “It’s the simplest things on this planet that you can do that will actually save the lives of others. It could just be a hug, it could be a conversation, spending time with that person without even having to speak with them. Just letting them know that you care.”
36:30 – “Everybody wants to feel like they’re worthy. That they’re validated. That they’re somebody. And they are somebody. They just need to hear that and feel that and know that.”
37:30 – “I don’t really think you can understand the depth of [redemption] until you are redeemed… You’re never meant to be thrown away. It’s finding who you really are. You were created as something really special.”
38:20 – “There’s a lot of people who are walking around on this Earth that are not alive, they’re just existing. They’re not alive, they’re just living here, but they’re walking around dead. Until you can redeem and find who you really are inside… it’d be hard for you to navigate in this world that continues to hate.”
40:30 – “Hurt people hurt other people.”
46:45 – “We have to start with ourselves first.”
- “The Uniter: Rudy Corpuz Jr. Reflects On 25 Years Of Community Building & Youth Empowerment Through United Playaz” in San Francisco Magazine, October 2019
- United Playaz website, where you can learn more about the organization and their programs
- Colin Kaepernick and Stephen Curry are two of United Playaz’ best-known supporters. You can help support Rudy’s work by making a donation here.
Get in touch
- Instagram: @chrisbordoni
- Twitter: @ChrisBordoni
- LinkedIn: cbordoni
- Web: chrisbordoni.com
- Newsletter: chrisbordoni.com/newsletter
Thanks so much for listening!