The gang has made several attempts to legitimize their image. Some members dropped the "B" and began to call themselves GDs or Gangster Disciples. In the 1990s the Gangster Disciples entered into politics in the Chicago tradition of Black Panthers, Black Stone Rangers, Latin Kings, Vice Lords, Black Disciples and Young Lords through the formation of the "Growth and Development" movement. Outside of Chicago some gangs will still go by the old name of BGD.
Gangster Disciples have been documented in the U.S. military, found in both U.S. and overseas bases. Graffiti characteristic of the Gangster Disciples has been reportedly seen in U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. They've branched out to other states and cities such as NC, TX, Florida, and New York.Like most major gangs, Gangster Disciples use a well-defined system of symbols to communicate alliances and rivalries. This system is a combination of symbols that represent the Gangster Disciple Nation or the Folk Nation as a whole and symbols that rivals use to represent their organization, typically inverted to show disrespect.
Colors and apparel
Gangster Disciples "represent" with the colors black and royal blue. Gang members are known to wear Georgetown Hoyas or Duke Blue Devils clothing.
Six pointed star
The major symbol Growth and Development make use of is the six-pointed Star of David (✡). The symbol pays homage to founder David Barksdale,and the six points are said to represent love, life, loyalty, understanding, knowledge, and wisdom (respect).