Richard is one of five kids in an immigrant family from Colombia. As a teen living in Queens, Richard became involved in the Latin Kings gang, a gang originally formed in the 1950s to protect Latino youth from white gangs in Chicago. He ended up spending 7 years in prison for weapons and assaults charges. After spending time in solitary confinement, Richard decided to take part in the education opportunities inside, and ended up turning his life around. While incarcerated, Richard took classes through the Bard Prison Initiative, and got an associate’s degree. After he was released, he decided to finish college and study public health. Richard now has a master’s degree from Columbia University and plans to teach and counsel inmates to help them experience positive opportunities and reach their goals like he did.