Chente is one of the key figures in the memoir, and undoubtedly one of the biggest influences in Luis Rodriguez’s life. A charismatic Chicano politician, writer, teacher, and community organizer, Chente works at the Bienvenidos Community Center, a place designed to provide support for gang members and impoverished Los Angeles residents alike. Luis is immediately impressed with Chente’s intelligence, passion, and effortless “cool.” As he explains, Chente is an important mentor for him because Chente can inspire him without condescendingly telling him what to do. And this is the key to Chente’s influence: he shows Luis the kind of life that Luis could have, and then leaves it up to Luis to choose this kind of life for himself. With Chente’s encouragement and advice, Luis becomes more involved in grassroots politics. Chente is also instrumental in introducing Luis to Marxist ways of thinking about the world and understanding his life—and in particular, the quintessentially Marxist idea that exploited people of all kinds have something in common that transcends culture or race. Many coming-of-age stories have a mentor figure at its heart, and in Always Running, Chente is undoubtedly that figure for Luis.