Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Lulu Gonzalez envisioned a life that often seemed out of reach.
“My neighborhood was really bad,” she tells High Times. “There was a lot of gang violence. I had seen some of my friends get killed, and that was something I wanted to stay out of. I didn’t want anything to do with it.”
After receiving a scholarship to attend a private school, she began focusing on her education and thinking about potential career paths. Then 9/11 happened. And at just 11-years-old, Gonzalez felt that the decision had already been made for her.
“I started hearing about enlisting in the military, and I remember thinking that this is something I wanted to do,” she explains. “I wanted to make a difference. There was this spark to be a part of something bigger.”