Father Greg Boyle; An Eastside Icon
Title: FATHER GREG BOYLE; AN EASTSIDE ICON
economy has been in a state of Crisis. National department stores have closed
down; and several huge, American car companies needed to be bailed out of
bankruptcy. Lately, the Federal Government of the greatest country in the world
couldn't find a solution to a debt that runs in the trillions. So it was forced
to raise the level of debt it could sink to. Recently downgraded credit
ratings break down investors' confidences and the stock market plummets. But
that's the world of High Finance... around here, on a local level, people have
struggled for years.
In Los Angeles, entire neighborhoods exist under
the poverty-level. Desperate financial situations turn some people to drugs
& alcohol as a temporary escape from their money problems; others are pushed
to join gangs in hopes of acquiring cash from drug sales or robberies. Sadly,
too many lives have fallen victim to the Ghetto's dynamics and end up becoming
dope-fiends, killed or doing time in prison (the state of California houses the
largest prison population in the world). Human life loses value and private
corporations benefit from the suffering of others. But thank God that Father
Greg Boyle and the Homeboys have been on a mission to help people that are
sincere and decisive about improving their lives. With the motto "Nothing Stops
a Bullet Like a Job!", Homeboy Industries has improved the community by saving
these souls from the streets, from themselves and from each other. In the Name
of the Lord, Father Greg has changed even the most hard-core gangsters into
productive members of society. Miraculous as it sounds, I know many people that
got jobs through G. It's True.
It all comes to a point, when every
individual has to analyze their options and choose the best one for them and
their families. Homeboy Industries helps former gang members, but Not gangs.
That's why it has helped start companies since back in the day, like: Homeboy
Silkscreens, Homeboy Bakery, and Homegirl Cafe. By mentoring and providing
direction to people that were statistically destined for failure, Homeboy
Services has been a source of positive change in the city. From cleaning up with
the 12 step meetings to tattoo-removal for interview presentation this
organization equips "at-risk" youth with the skills that could increase their
chances in a recession-time job market. Desperation turns to gladness and low
self-esteem grows into confidence. They say responsibility builds character.
Most people are happy when they could feed their families by their fruits of
their labor. Good honest work, in legitimate occupations. Why, that's the
American dream in this land of opportunity...
Homeboy Industries 130 W. Bruno St. Los Angeles, CA 90012 | homeboy-industries.org
But with budget cuts
being what they are nowadays, and monies that would otherwise fund social
programs being redirected to fund foreign conquests, it�s not surprising that
non-profit organizations like Homeboy Industries don't get the financial back-up
they should be getting. Poor disillusioned "minority" kids involved in gangs
don't rank high in a politician's list of priorities. Everyone says, "The
economy is bad." So, in an effort to continue channeling positivity through
these hard times, a music department evolved at Homeboy Industries. You are
invited to see a video called Better Days which is on the groundbreaking album "The Big Lay
Off". A lot of collaborations came together on the first Homeboy Industries
album, reflective of their strong family base. When serious people get together
and unify for the purpose of doing good works, nothing is impossible.
Maybe Senor Presidente could learn from this organization that helps
even the "dregs of society" recuperate their faith and allows them to become a
contribution to the system, instead of a burden to it. Even the most unlikely
person in the world could become a testimony to God's power. The humbled ones
shall be exalted. Like this White man in the varrios that gives to the poorest -
opportunity and hope in the Almighty. Love is not bound by color. He believes in
them, so they could believe in themselves... and if that isn't BrownPride, I
don�t know what is.
The photographs of the mural were taken inside The Barber House on Ave.
20 and N. Broadway in Lincoln Heights, CA. That mural depicts Father Greg Boyle
alongside other heroes and legends of the Mexican people. The mural was painted
by artist and tattooist Antonio Mejia. This is the most happening barbershop in
town, complete with dj turntables & everything!
ESkribe.Uno | Photography by Salvador Rojas