Posts Tagged ‘Boyle Heights’

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: 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,┬ámany of which I personally knew, that brought a lot of the audience members to tears.


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



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: 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:


Homeboy Industries Mural, Boyle Heights

Here it is … This is the place where it all began: Homeboy Industries.

It all began sophomore year at LMU when I was talking to my friend about my interest in volunteering at Homeboy Industries. She told me her friend that already volunteered there and that she could introduce us. [Great!!] At the moment of meeting her we clicked right away on the basis of having the same philosophies about the marginalized of society. I knew that with her, I was about to begin an extraordinary journey! The next day we took a trip down to Boyle Heights after our classes.

Driving through the neighborhood, my friend was worried that I was going to be scared to be there; but I wasn’t, all I could think of was what I was about to experience. Once we got inside I felt a little out of place, to be honest; all of a sudden, I was surrounded by many former gang members – you know, the ones that your mom tells you to be careful with. But for some reason, I knew that I was safe in this place, there was no luring feeling in my gut telling me to get out of there! – instead, I knew that I was going to gain from this experience than lose anything from it. My friend introduce me to the volunteer coordinator and we got started right away. That afternoon we occupied a little room in the back of the building to tutor anyone who needed help with homework, classes or who were about to take their GEDs or other tests. After a few hours of tutoring and then talking to some of the Homies, I knew that I wanted to stay with this place and help out as much as I could. Most of the kids and younger adults, could not believe that my friend and I would go there by our free will and with no compensation. They kept asking us why and looking at us in disbelief. I realized that they think that no one in the world would care about them – ABSURD!! Right?

At this moment, I knew that I had to make it a point in life to give these young gentlemen and women a real chance to become successful and to break all of those stereotypes that hold them back. So … there you go, on that day of January 2006, is where my passion to work with juvenile youth began.