Carlos Soto

Violence Interrupter


Carlos Soto was born in Albuquerque, NM and moved to Oakland as an infant. Growing up in a Spanish-speaking single parent home, he saw how his mother struggled to raise him and his sisters. He also witnessed how his mother’s undocumented status and language barrier caused additional problems, including lack of access to information and resources. 

The frustration and awareness of his family’s struggles led to Carlos engaging in criminal activity to survive. In 2003 he had his first interactions with the juvenile justice system and found himself in and out of the system, eventually leading to a 15-year sentence in 2010 at a state penitentiary. While incarcerated Carlos focused on participating in self help classes and other courses, and eventually facilitated one of the two gardens that served as the Pelican Bay Beautification Project. During this time Carlo also achieved his Associates degree in Social and behavioral sciences from the College of the Redwoods. He credits Mark Taylor and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition for providing mentorship that watered the seeds which helped Carlos grow into the man he is today.

Carlos returned to the community in late-2022. While incarcerated he made a plan to find an organization doing community work with the goal of being part of the solution to the problems he faced as a youth. He feels blessed to have quickly made the acquaintance with CURYJ, where he started as a life coaching participant, received mentorship from several staff. Along with the help of his family, he was able to transition back into the community with ease, and became a full time Violence Interrupter, where he hopes to help make Oakland a better and safer place for future generations, as well as all Fruitvale and Oakland residents who call this beautiful city home.

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