Image: (Photo by ChrisAnna Mink)
That same morning Maria was shot, I heard Father Greg Boyle tell a group of reporters that gang violence is “really a public health issue,” and society needs to use the right words for the problems to find solutions.
He was talking to a group of journalists with USC Center for Health Journalism National Fellowship on a sunny morning in the bustling, noisy courtyard of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles. Boyle is the founder of Homeboy Industries, a gang intervention organization that offers programs to help gang members navigate a path out of a life of violence and trauma.
Homeboy Industries is the largest gang intervention organization in the world, and they have shared their “smart on crime” model across the globe, which emphasizes investing and intervening in the lives of those caught in gangs.
Homeboy Industries offers programs or referrals for a range of services that help gang members transform their lives. The list includes tattoo removal, professional therapy, housing assistance and job training at Homeboy’s T-shirt screening business and Homegirls Bakery and Café, as well as with other businesses.
Most importantly, though, Homeboy Industries offer kinship and acceptance, according to three former gang members also speaking with the journalists. Boyle believes anyone with a pulse can embrace another’s “unshakable goodness.”
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