In Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles, Father Greg Boyle organized a job and resource center for gang youth (Rodriguez, 2005), called Homeboy Industries. Homeboy Industries, a nonprofit organization, has received international attention for its bakeries, cafes, tattoo removal, schooling, job referrals and counseling (Rodriguez, 2005). The organization also provides hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved, and/or previously incarcerated, men and women. Full-time employment is offered for more than 200 men and women at a time through an 18-month program, allowing them to redirect their lives and become contributing members of the community (Homeboy Industries, 2005).
Homeboy Industries provides an approach to gang desistance influenced by ideas of Catholic social justice and therapeutic rehabilitation (Flores, 2016). Each year, over 10,000 former gang members seek their guidance (Homeboy Industries, 2005). By combining counseling, case management, education, vocational training, and job placement, Homeboy Industries helps former gang youth become contributing members in their families, communities, and society (Homeboy Industries, 2005). Homeboy Industries offers employment in their bakeries, cafés, silk-screening and tattoo removal studios, and landscaping and maintenance service divisions (Flores,2016).
Social Justice Focus
The social justice focus of Homeboy Industries includes educational services, mental health services, and
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Mark Torres, S.J., beloved spiritual guide at Homeboy Industries, says, “We see in the homies what they don’t see in themselves, until they do” (Boyle 178). The gang members hold within themselves a poisonous shame that corrupts their sense of self. Without a sense of self it is tremendously difficult to move forward and people tend to stay stuck in what they know. Homeboy Industries
Barking to the Choir is a powerful novel that articulates about the life of several gang members in Los Angeles County and their redemption. Father Gregory Boyle, the author of this book and the founder of Homeboy Industries, entered Los Angeles when gang violence was at its peak. Although Father Boyle has gone out of his way to give hope to communities where gang culture is prevalent, has given guidance and mentorship to youth and adults that society has deemed as unworthy, as a Sociologist we have to critique his reflexivity and his acceptance to communities of color.
Gangs have been a growing issue across the United States for many decades now. Youth gang violence may have started around the ‘50s, but did not become a serious issue until the ‘80s and from there went through a downward spiral in some cities like downtown Los Angeles, which was where the notorious Bloods and Crips gangs both started. First, let’s simply define a gang as a group of people, mostly men ranging for ages 14-30, who claim territory and use it to make money for themselves and their neighborhood through illegal activities such as trafficking drugs and weapons. There are many reasons and components that are factored in when conducting research to hypothesize “why do people join gangs?” That is why it is necessary to compare and contrast all the social, biological, psychological, developmental, and substance abuse aspects and relate it to joining a gang. It is also important to touch base on the differences between males and females that join gangs, such as power differentials, social learning differences and social stratification differences.
There are some people part of a gang in the neighborhood like southside or O block. Who didn’t choose what they are right now. They wanted to be successful in their lives and they also wanted to achieve their goals but the atmosphere in those neighborhood wouldn’t allow them to be successful. In this article “Addicted to guns”, Chicago reader reporter Mick Dumke tells the story of Tony Wade.“Wade's grandfather did what he could to keep his grandson out of trouble—he sent Wade to Catholic schools, pushed him to excel in his studies, required him to attend church on Sundays, and taught him to work in his carpet business. Wade became a
In society today, there is a major problem We live in a society where gangs are taking over our neighborhoods in numbers. It is the responsibility of the individuals to part take in getting their neighborhoods back under control. Gangs are becoming a growing problem in American society. More young people are turning to gangs to solve problems in their lives or for acceptance. When youths join gangs, they drop all their social activities with school, family, and friends. However, individuals ruin their lives, and the chances of them having a decent education, and a successful life by getting involved in gang activity.
The life-course perspective goes into detail about the onset, persistence, and the desistance process and show that there are connections that are present, and once these connections linger, then the relinquishing of the power that gangs have over people is released. These researchers note that often times juveniles are joining particular gangs, participate, and then leave. So, when studying this process, Pyrooz & colleagues’ (2010) found that by using the conceptual framework that life-course perspective adds, we can better understand the organization and the process of how gangs work over time. This research also provided us with an understanding of the ties that members associate with their respective gangs, and just how hard it is to break those ties and let go of the gang lifestyle through the life-course. In regards to these ties, the researchers concluded that leaving a gang can be tumultuous, it is a time of confusion and possible victimization. Another significant finding was that leaving a gang is not the same process for everyone, there are diverse variables that affect individuals differently. If these variables are not taken into consideration, then the ties to the gang and the desistance process is likely to be less successful (Pyrooz & colleagues,
Many times gang members need have someone to encourage them, so they discover who they really are. Luis, an ex gang member, gets a job at Homeboy Industries and is able to provide a shelter for his daughter to live in, “Luis was a human being who came to know the truth about himself and like what he found there” (Boyle 77). The opportunity that Luis was given by Father Greg helped him find himself, he completely changed his life around, he went from selling drugs to working at Homeboy Industries. Gang members need an opportunity to find who they really are and what they can accomplish.
The correlation between gangs and drugs has always been an issue for the United States government. Major cities often overlooked the problem of youth gang violence, thinking it was only a 1960’s trend. Sixty years later, gangs and drugs continue to be a problem, but in an increasing number within urban, suburban and rural areas in the United States. People may characterize this problem with words such as violence, increase drug activity, and delinquencies, but not many seem to see the bigger picture. Lack of interaction, collaboration, and strategies from law enforcement, youth centers, businesses, churches, and political icons are increasing gang violence and drug related offenses in major cities. In such cities as Chicago, minority groups are the most vulnerable to joining a gang, which then leads to an involvement with drugs; they are faced with barriers – lack of family support, poverty, segregation, unemployment, etc. An incident that happened in Chicago history is the closing of the Cabrini-Green Project, where people involved with gangs had to find a new home, scattering gang-members throughout the city, and eventually leading to their spread and growth.
A study done in 1996 on prisoners of the Arizona Department of Corrections, followed inmates for the first 3 years of their incarceration. This study found that “inmates with no gang affiliation were significantly less likely that those wit either street gang affiliation or prison gang affiliation to have been guilty of a violent misconduct” (Griffin, 2006). Also noted in the Griffon study, inmates who have a gang affiliation are less likely to participate in needed rehab and vocational programs that may help them upon release. A big problem with prison gangs is that very little is known about them, this is because they are very secretive, unlike their counterparts on the streets (Fong, 1991). The reason for this secrecy is so gang members can avoid being persecuted by the prison administration.
His ethnographic data on both Homeboy Industries and Victory Outreach consistently showed that these men can replace a gang lifestyle with a religious lifestyle, and changed their view on masculinity to more family-oriented. The transformation is a difficult process, he managed to capture few examples to show the ways that members might rebound to the gang lifestyle. Mario, a respondent from the Homeboy Industries, had a job with the Homeboy Industries and a plan of forming a household with his girlfriend. Later, he started drinking again under the influence of his girlfriend. Few months later, his old friend died and his drinking problem got escalated so badly, Father Greg (creator of the Homeboy Industries) demoted him from his position and “sent him to drug and alcohol rehab for two months” (p. 120). He resumed work with Homeboy Industries after he left the rehab, but he broke up with his girlfriend and lost the “reformed barrio masculinity”. Sudden traumatic events could lead them back to the street life, and seek comforts outside of religious and spiritual enlightenment. Flores also found that new recruits “struggled to develop a secure sense of masculine identity outside of the gang and alternated between expressions of Chicano gang masculinity and recovered gang masculinity” (p. 133). Despite these examples, the general trend is still clear and is consistent with his statement. Religion and gender expectation help recovering gang members from integrating back to the
“Gangs have morphed from social organizations into full-fledged criminal enterprises” (Thomas, 2009, para 5). Gangs are highly sophisticated and more dangerous then ever. The number one reason to join a gang is money; and 95 percent of gangs profit comes from drug dealing
Many times individuals turn to a gang to escape a life of poverty or financial uncertainty. A sense of hopelessness and desperation can result from being unable to provide the basic necessities. “Young people living in poverty may find it difficult to meet basic physical and psychological needs, which can lead to a lack of self-worth and pride” (Lee, Dean, and Parker 1). Individuals who are faced with a lack of money many times turn to crime if they cannot earn enough at a legitimate job to support themselves or their families. “This partly explains why gangs exist in poor, rundown areas of cities” (Grabianowski 1).
There are several positive and successful programs that are put in place in which involves the help and deterrence of youth from engaging into gangs. Such task of helping out the youth and future generations takes time and commitment. Possible solutions of getting involved in helping the youth that are in the gangs to get them off the streets are implementing the same gang model that they already know in which involves the commitment of one to another as members of a close-knitted family but without the drugs and violence. With the ideas and belief that they have already known would be easier to implement and develop programs that they are familiar to. Such programs should instill the same love, respect, and belonging as one would receive when joined a gang; therefore, it gives them another option of committing themselves in a positive way as a model citizen. It gives them
The sociological analysis of gang membership explores the different types of effects that arise due to criminal involvement. Because of the social conflicts that are associated with gang membership, this paper will explore the different theories of social learning and both personal and control issues that relate to the recent surge in crime across Chicago. As we open the doors of a crime ridden society, the truth begins to unfold. It isn’t just the thought of helping, it is the action that remains the barrier between living a life of crime or a life that carries hope.