Father Greg Boyle; An Eastside Icon


Our 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!

Written by ESkribe.Uno | Photography by Salvador Rojas

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