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Four Leaders. Four Communities. One Friendship. Read More

It was the sixties. Nationally, the civil rights movement took center stage. Marches, sit-ins, demonstrations, and inner-city riots were taking on the powers that be not only in the south but across urban centers throughout the country. Now, picture the scenic forests and serene areas of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, a great place to live and raise a family, was slowly finding itself in a state of political unrest. The civil rights movement was coming to the Pacific Northwest.
This is a story of how a Native American, a African American, a Latino American, and a Asian American, from different backgrounds, came together to form a powerful political alliance. Known as the Gang of Four or the Four Amigos or the Fabulous Four, our story needed to be told. It is a story of civil rights success. It is a story that describes how each of us became politically conscious.
It is a story of political camaraderie and friendship. Seattle’s Gang of Four changed the face of the city in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s by bringing four ethnic groups together in battle against city, county, and state powerbrokers over development, poverty, fishing rights, and gentrification. The four leaders quickly learned that working together provided greater results than working apart.

- Bob Santos, co-author and Gang of Four member.

What People Are Saying

“"The Four made it real to the communities they served. One for all, all for one.”

Lawney Reyes, brother of Bernie Whitebear, Native American Artist, Author

What People Are Saying

“The Gang of Four provided courageous leadership to make the Seattle area a great place to live both culturally and economically. I added the Four to my team to select my cabinet when elected Governor of the State of Washington.”

Mike Lowry, former Governor of the State of Washington

What People Are Saying

“A wry and riveting account, rooted in Seattle's civil rights movement, of the friendships between four iconic leaders of the Asian American, Native American, African American and Latino communities which had a lasting impact on their communities, multi-racial unity and the movement for social justice in Seattle and beyond.”

Diane Narasaki, Executive Director - Asian Counseling and Referral Service, Seattle

What People Are Saying

“Their friendship and work developed in an exciting time when liberation struggles all over the world influenced US social movements. The Gang of Four's internationalist perspective was reflected in their everyday work - opposing apartheid in Africa, fighting against the Marcos regime in the Philippines, ending the repression against the US based anti-Marcos movement and supporting the Sandinistas in Nicaragua - they were there making their voices heard! “

Cindy Domingo, Board Member, LELO – Legacy of Equality Leadership and Organizing; International Activist

What People Are Saying

“The Magnificent Four showed us that leadership comes in many colors, strengths, and backgrounds. They believed in creating and sustain an environment where all people should not be denied an opportunity to reach their dreams and potentials. They took risks to make a difference, to change our world knowing that only by having our voices heard could we be agents of change. With their strength and integrity they make our communities a better place, I am so proud they came into my life and the lives of so many.“

Phyllis Gutierrez -Kenny, Former Washington State Representative

What People Are Saying

“The Apl.de.ap Foundation International promotes empowerment through education on a global scale. The book The Gang of Four, follows the careers of Larry Gossett, Bob Santos, the late Roberto Maestas and the late Bernie Whitebear in the Pacific Northwest. The book will leave a lasting legacy for the many hundreds of students mentored by these four civil rights leaders. With even more enlightened students and activists to follow.“

Apl.de.ap, Black Eyed Peas

What People Are Saying

"The Four Amigos, in their own right, were (Bernie and Roberto) and are (Uncle Bob and Larry) pioneers and change makers. When they worked as a coalition in pursuit of human rights and self-determination, whether fighting for laborers in Seattle, or against our government's misguided intervention in other countries, they were unflappable if not unstoppable. In addition to their shared committment to fight relentlessly for justice and dignity for all, another endearing, valuable trait was their collective ability to not take themselves so seriously that they couldn't take time to laugh, sing, dance and enjoy life."

Ricardo Sanchez, Friend and colleague of the Four Amigos

What People Are Saying

“Every community needs voices of conscience, people for whom business as usual and irrational unfairness are simply not acceptable and leaders who stir the rest of us to awareness and action. Decades of social progress in the Pacific Northwest have been shaped by four impatient men and their tumultuous friendship, audacious leadership and unrelenting commitment to build a better world. Gang of Four tells an important story of how we will make our Country stronger.”

Henry Cisneros, former Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development