Richard Santana was born in California and became the third generation of his family to join one of the largest gangs in the state. After several years of drugs, crime and violence on the streets, Senor Chocolate (his gang name) experienced a transformation. He discovered real power—through education. Education provided him with opportunities to achieve personal and social growth.

Through positive leadership experiences and the learning process, he eventually went to college. With a strong will and a genuine commitment to make a difference in this world, he graduated from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, Human Development and Psychology / Risk and Prevention Program in 1995. He credits education, community programs, and teachers with paving the way from a life as Senor Chocolate, the gang member—to Richard Santana, the Harvard graduate.


Richard’s accomplishments and affiliations include:

  • Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Masters of Education, Human Development and Psychology / Risk and Prevention.
  • Graduate of California State University, Fresno, BA in Education.
  • Recruiter, academic adviser and counselor for the Upward Bound Program at the University of Pacific in Stockton, California.
  • Director of the improvisational theater group “Teatro de Las Cucarachas.”
  • Chairperson of the Chicano Youth Conference
  • Organizer for The National Coalition to End Barrio Warfare.
  • Director and producer of “Choices”—a drug prevention video.
  • Subject of television profile “Basic Colors.”
  • Assisted with two video concepts accepted by the California Attorney General’s Office and also featuring Richard Santana—“Gangs: The Turning Corner.”

Richard Santana travels from California