Archive for the ‘Homeboy Industries’ Category

Last Tuesday, September 14th was a very good day for me. After a productive day, I was looking forward to attending ‘An Evening with Father G’ at my beloved Loyola Marymount University. Like always, Father G brought about a very big crowd – so big that LMU scrambled to find a bigger location to house the event. He’s just that popular.

Father G was there on a book tour he is doing for his newest book: “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion”. You can pick up your copy at any major bookstores, or here: http://www.amazon.com/Tattoos-Heart-Power-Boundless-Compassion/dp/1439153027. However, instead of reading a chapter from the book or whatnot, Father G did it in true Homeboy fashion and just spoke from the heart. In that hour and a half, he told stories of the homies, many of which I personally knew, that brought a lot of the audience members to tears.

Kinship.

Blood Relationships are the subject that relate all of the stories that Father G presents in this newest book. Think about this… how many people in your everyday life connect to? Share a moment with? We are so accustomed to living our lives in a protective, personal-space bubble that we are scared to truly interact with people we don’t know. If there is no connection with others, how are we to truly know about them? … And then we go ahead and make assumptions about everyone around us – most of the time, they are completely wrong and negative assumptions. Doesn’t make sense at all. If you are to make a simple statement about a person or a group of people, I dare you to spend time with them and get to know them first before saying anything that you might regret. Based on my past experiences, I can almost bet that you will find yourself changing your mind. Try it.

Thanks to ITS at LMU, the full talk was recorded and you can enjoy it here! My favorite story is minutes 30:00 to 40:45, Gabriel’s story.

An Evening With Father Greg Boyle

[[Mercc]]

Have you ever been at a loss for words when it comes to something that you are passionate about? The feeling is so overwhelming that you just can’t find the exact words to describe it? Well, if you have, that is where I am at when trying to describe my summer so far… There is no words to really describe how it is working as a Youth Squad Supervisor for Summer Night Lights – unless you experience it yourself, of course.

The morning of July 7th, I had no idea how the summer was going to be like. However, I did know that it was going to be challenging to me and help me grow – through what experiences though, I would have never imagined. I have stressed over big problems involving the safety of the community to small ones such as running out of buns for the night; all in all, I learned from the obstacles I was faced with each night. Now, with a week left of the program, I can honestly say that I am very sad to know that I only have a little while longer at the park. In my last post, I had tons of energy promising that I was going to post and keep my blog updated of SNL events and happenings. Little did I know that I wasn’t going to have time or energy to post about it, so for that, I apologize. Another thing that also hindered my posting was that my camera was stolen from the park. Lucky me right? But that is only a minor setback in blogging about my summer. I wish that there were more pictures to document my summer but here are a few.

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Summer Night Lights was a great experience for me. It has definitely entered into my heart as Homeboy Industries has… ::Quick Sidestory: The most recent winner of Last Comic Standing, Felipe Esparza comes from Boyle Heights and is associated with Homeboy Inds. Word up! Congratulations to him!:: … I am definitely proud to be a part it and continue on with the work that I love doing.

P.S. Anyone know of a job opening? I’m now unemployed again 😐

[[Mercc]]

Don’t have any plans for Friday night yet? Come out to the Palm Court Ballroom at the Alexandria Hotel for benefit concert supporting Homeboy Industries! In a post I did back in May,https://mercc.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/homeboylayoffs/– I wrote about how Homeboy was hit hard during these economic hardships and had to layoff 300+ staff members. This benefit concert solely supports Homeboy Inds. in order to keep their doors open to do what they do best – keep inspiring the communities of Los Angeles.

Tickets are $10 pre-sale and $15 at the door to enjoy the great music of Quinto Sol. The show runs from 9 pm to 2 am. For any more information about the concert this Saturday call: 213.622.3105

>> EDIT:

Unfortunately, I have just found out tonight that this concert is cancelled :[ I hope that it isn’t definite and that they will re-schedule something soon.  Please feel free to donate still if you haven’t yet; again, the link to donate:  http://www.homeboy-industries.org/donate.php. There is no minimum or limit for donations, so whatever you have to spare please feel free to send it over to a good cause!

>> EDIT: No.2

Fortunately, the show is back and running! Mark your calendars for Friday, July 23rd!! Make sure not to miss this great show – especially since it’s their second time putting it together!

Always,

[[Mercc]]

I cannot even believe that I am even writing this in the first place, yet, I HAVE to get the news out…

homeboy industries needs your help!


Late last night, I saw a post on my friend’s Facebook saying that Homeboy Industries was closing its doors today. To quote:

“by now, if you have not heard, on friday, at 5 pm, homeboy industries shuts its doors after 23 years of service to the city of Los Angeles. We have had to lay off 300 people, senior staff included. the businesses – silkscreen, cafe, bakery and our school remain open. We need your help. send your donations now. $10, $20, $50. send your checks to Mona Hobson, 130 West Bruno Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012”

I could NOT believe that after opening its doors in 2001 – well, essentially in 1988 with the “Jobs For a Future” – Homeboy Industries had to layoff around 300 of its employees. Unfortunately, the horrible condition of the economy does not discriminate from great organizations like this and money-hungry businesses. With the slowing down of donations, Homeboy Industries and Father G [Greg Boyle] cannot afford to sustain the hundreds of amazing people that they employee everyday.

Sadly, this means a lot more than just a regular employee layoff; this means a huge risk for those former gang members that were employed by this organization. The motto of H.I. says it all: “Jobs not Jail” / “Nothing stops a bullet like a Job”. Without employment at Homeboy Industries, many of these former gang members aren’t very likely to find a job someplace else. As I have stated in a previous post, much of our society are not as open-minded to give a tattoo-filled man the opportunity for employment. What options do they have now?

For the moment, the silkscreen, cafe, bakery, and school remain open, however, everyone going back to work, go back as volunteers, not employees. And, as a huge supporter of this organization, I ,too,will try to dedicate my time to Homeboy Industries – whatever service I can lend. Please visit their site: http://www.homeboy-industries.org/donate.php and donate whatever you can to help them out. However, if you are as broke as I am, please help out by spreading the word! I, as well as thousands of others, would greatly appreciate any help. I am now in the works of trying to set up a fundraiser to help the cause… more of that to come later.

Lastly, here is another account from one of my best friends, who incidentally was the one who introduced me to Homeboy Industries back in 2006. Read up and be informed: http://gloriabosborne.blogspot.com/2010/05/homeboy-industries.html

[[Mercc]]

When people think of gangs,  progression usually doesn’t come to mind; simple thoughts of a group of young men that “enjoy” vandalizing, harassing and ultimately committing crime usually come to mind. The actual definition of ‘Gangs’ only recently changed due to the new studies and information that has been surfacing within the last several decades. In the beginning, criminologists believed wholeheartedly that “most street gangs were the urbanized equivalent of primitive tribes, recruited from broken families and disturbed psyches, pursuing essentially nihilistic objectives” (Mike Davis). However, gangs today are much further progressed than what we have once experience way back when. According to the newest study by John M. Hagedorn: neither War nor Peace, gangs have recently institutionalized themselves.

In the study, Hagedorn and his fellow colleagues traveled around the world in attempt to learn differences among gangs in different countries such as Cape Town, Chicago, Rio de Janeiro – as well as the underlying common factor they all have. Some of the many conclusions that they have found are as follows:

  • Migration + Cities + Poverty + Slums + Discrimination + Youth = Gangs
  • The world cannot support the rate of the urbanization of cities
  • “By 2020, the UN estimates, half of the world’s urban population will live in poverty”
  • Children of immigrant parents are not supported properly
  • Due to rapid urbanization, formal institutions (schools, church, family) are not strong enough to replace the traditional ones immigrants leave behind in their countries.

By the world’s growing urbanization and the lack of support of such growth, there is a “retreat of state”; more commonly known as “social disorganization”, youth come together as organization to fulfill their needs. The lack of the formal institutions lead to youth groups to emerge and “take care” of their ethnic groups in their new world. Eventually, these groups gain control of territories and provide for their people; they learn to take care of themselves without any set institutions in place – also becoming institutionalized along the way.

With the said factors in place, youth organizations cannot afford to falter under changes with society. If this was the case, then many impoverished groups that lived in the slums would die out quickly. Rather, gangs turn to institutionalization to remain stable and able to adapt to change. To do so, organizations, or gangs, “develop rituals and ceremonies… produce a formal… structure with rules and role expectations, its members identify with the organization” (Selznick/Hagedorn). By developing their own identity, loyalty of members is strengthened and “work” for the organization is completed. This mindset makes institutionalized gangs adaptable to any change. Therefore, certain gangs can last generations after generations.

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Does this concept ring a bell? With the work at Homeboy and USC BEP, I have come to know that there are hundreds of different gangs – in Los Angeles alone. Some, we all know [Crips, Bloods, MS13], others, we have never heard of. I believe that this concept of institutionalization applies to these long-lasting, international gangs. Had it not been for their organization and structure, the Crips, Bloods, MS13 would not be as “successful” as they are now. Now, on the other hand, there are some gangs that will never see the light of celebrity. Is it because they’re not institutionalized? Maybe not violent enough? I wonder if the unknowns want to be known? … Maybe reading more of this book can help clarify some of these questions.

[[Mercc]]