WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A group of people who once formed a violent LGBTQ gang in D.C. can now call themselves entrepreneurs and business owners after opening up a fashion store in Southeast.
The store, called Check It Enterprises LLC, was officially opened at a ceremony this afternoon.
"It feels so, so, so good. I’m so excited," said Star Bennett who was the founder of the Check It gang in 2005. She said it was formed as a way of LGBTQ youth protecting themselves from homophobic attacks. However, the gang eventually turned to petty crimes and assaults themselves. "We just come fighting, then people start going to jail, start doing time."
Bennett said after she spent time in jail, she put the group on a new path, one that led them to start up their own clothing line which will now be sold in the store.
The group will also host events and offer mentoring for LGBTQ youth.
"Try to change things so that the youth and younger generation of the LGBT doesn’t go through what we went through when we was coming up," said Michael Boatwright, a member since 2006.
"Having a place where we know we can tell kids, you don’t have to run and be on the streets, that we’re going to get you the help that you need can make all of the difference in a young person’s life," said Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, one of several dignitaries to attend the opening.
The group is also subject of a documentary called “Check It” and coming up on Friday there will be a big announcement on when and where it will be released.