Former Gang Member Positively Impacts Dallas Youth


Marcus "Big Milk" Estelle (second from right) is a former gang member who is now part of a group called Urban Specialists, which aims to reduce violence in Dallas neighborhoods. | Image by Alejandra Martinez, KERA

Focused on intervention, former gang member Marcus Estell mentors youth in Dallas neighborhoods hit hard by gang violence, dedicating his life to his family and faith and putting others before himself.

Estell, 48, grew up in the Pleasant Grove neighborhood where he was in a Bloods gang called Teenage Mob. As an active gang member, Estell committed criminal acts such as aggravated robbery.

“I got in the streets at a young age, just being disobedient,” Estell told The Dallas Express. “I chose a life to run the streets, and I got apprehended.”

Convicted on five counts of aggravated robbery, which carry a 50-year sentence per count, Estell was sentenced to 250 years in prison. After serving 13 years, Estell was granted parole.

Since his release, the former felon turned his life around. Furthermore, he has become a pillar in the Dallas community, mentoring and advocating for young men and women headed down the same path he once took.

Estell goes by the nickname Big Milk.” Big Milk has been credited with helping bring together local rival gangs, such as the Bloods and Crips gangs, to participate in historical neighborhood peace rallies that are still honored by gang members to this day.

“The same streets that I helped destroy, I gotta build. So that very thing that caused my demise has caused my arise,” explained Estell.

He was a member of Urban Specialists, a group of former gang members that has partnered with the City of Dallas to help end violence in urban communities.

Now Estelle has started his own program called “Pushin Forward.” The nonprofit organization aims to help those in need embrace a brighter future with no boundaries, particularly by building community relationships.

Estell has been hands-on, going into the streets. His past experiences and training equip him to lead gang intervention, violence intervention, and youth mentoring in Dallas neighborhoods where people most need these services.

“One of the things we gotta do [is] we gotta change the narrative. We gotta change the narrative that they see,” speaking about the young people in the communities he serves.

“They don’t see getting a job as something being cool; they don’t see education as something being cool.” He wants to help change that mindset.

One way to do that is to educate today’s youth on rights and wrongs and how to succeed in today’s society.

Dallas has seen a spike in crime in 2022, as reported by The Dallas Express.

Dallas Chief of Police Eddie Garcia has made past statements that the crime reduction plan currently being implemented has garnered an overall decrease in violent street crime (murders, robbery, nonfamily violence aggravated assault). Collectively, they are down 12% citywide.

The Dallas police department has recognized Estell for his efforts at urban neighborhood activism. Specifically, they awarded him the “CITIZENS CERTIFICATE OF MERIT AWARD” for cultivating a strategic plan to rescue a kidnapped minor from sex trafficking.

To help meet Estell’s fundraising goals, click here.

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O Williams
O Williams
4 months ago

I also was member of a gang member of rolling 60’s. Crip I also had turn my life around I ask The Lord Jesus Christ to change My Life and he did it for me and my family my gang was OC crip now I’m Member of a Church my now is Deacon Williams