Gregory Boyle is the founder of Homeboy
Industries in Los Angeles, Calif., the largest gang intervention,
rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world.
A Jesuit priest, from 1986 to 1992 Father
Boyle served as pastor of Dolores Mission Church, then the poorest
Catholic parish in Los Angeles that also had the highest concentration
of gang activity in the city.
Father Boyle witnessed the devastating
impact of gang violence on his community during the so-called “decade of
death” that began in Los Angeles in the late 1980s and peaked at 1,000
gang-related killings in 1992. In the face of law enforcement tactics
and criminal justice policies of suppression and mass incarceration as
the means to end gang violence, Father Boyle and parish and community
members adopted what was a radical approach at the time: treat gang
members as human beings.
In 1988 they started what would
eventually become Homeboy Industries, which employs and trains former
gang members in a range of social enterprises, as well as provides
critical services to thousands of men and women who walk through its
doors every year seeking a better life.
Father Boyle is the author of the 2010 New York Times-bestseller Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. His 2017 book is the Los Angeles Times-bestseller Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship.
He has received the California Peace
Prize and been inducted into the California Hall of Fame. In 2014, the
White House named Father Boyle a Champion of Change. He received the
University of Notre Dame’s 2017 Laetare Medal, the oldest honor given to American Catholics.