D.C.

Gang Check It performs for Chinatown merchants

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They're young males and females, both straight and gay, who are members of a gang called Check It. They performed Tuesday afternoon in the Gibson Guitar showroom in Chinatown for some of the people they'd been annoying - Chinatown merchants.

The gang Check It had mainly been known for hanging around the Chinatown Metro stop, fighting, snatching purses and getting locked up.

Tayron Bennett and his friends started Check It, in part to take on gaybashing.

"We wasn't letting people pick on us no more. And when we start fighting back, I guess they looked at us as a gang because we was fighting back,” says Dominic Smith, a gang member.

They're mainly from Trinidad in NE D.C. Their lives have not been easy.

Ron Moten of Peaceoholics has joined with the police and gay groups like Gertrude Stein Democrats to give them alternatives to negative behavior.

"Yes you have to be held accountable for what you do wrong, but as adults we are obligated to help you do what's right,” Moten says.

And that's included organizing them in fashion shows and performances. And the hope is Chinatown will be more peaceful, at least from this group.

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