Raised in a low-income neighborhood in Los Angeles County, Marianne Diaz was exposed to gang violence at a young age. During her teenage years, she became involved with gang culture and served time in jail. Since her release, Diaz has focused her full attention on preventing this cycle from happening to other children. She founded CleanSlate as an alternative method to orchestrating peace and healing individuals in communities like hers. By providing fair access to everything from violence recovery counseling and youth support groups to low-cost tattoo removal, Diaz is working to empower each person impacted by this violence by giving them individual care to heal. Her mission is to help former gang-affiliated youth take the final step in dissolving all their past gang ties.
Since inception, several of CleanSlate’s youth members have enrolled in or graduated college; in addition, many of their clients previously involved in gang culture are now providing intervention services in their old communities. Over 500 children have been directly impacted by the program already, along with many adults who have had their gang-affiliated tattoos removed so as to secure gainful employment.