FAIRFIELD—Rev. Gregory Boyle, S.J., of Homeboy Industries has been invited to Fairfield University to present the third annual Canisius Academy Lecture. His talk, “Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship,” will take place on Wednesday, November 13 at 7:30 pm in Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola.
In his lecture, Fr. Boyle will share how compassion, kindness, and kinship are the keys to breaking the cycle of despair and marginalization in communities torn apart by gang violence. His stories and parables will be a reminder to listeners that no life is less valuable than another.
The idea of fighting crime with radical kinship – not punishment – came to Fr. Boyle after witnessing the devastating impact of gang violence on his East Los Angeles neighborhood. He saw the futility of criminal justice policies such as suppression and mass incarceration and teamed up with members of his parish and community to find an alternative solution. His approach was viewed as radical at the time: treat gang members as human beings.
In 1988, Homeboy Industries was launched as a way to help men and women redirect their lives and become contributing members of the East L.A. community. Thirty-one years later, it has become a blueprint for more than 400 rehab and reentry programs around the world.
Homeboy Industries employs and trains high-risk youths, former gang members, and the recently incarcerated in a range of social enterprises. It also provides critical educational, vocational, mental health, and legal services to thousands of men and women who walk through its doors every year seeking a better life.
Fr. Boyle is a recipient of the California Peace Prize and a member of the California Hall of Fame. The White House named him a 2014 Champion of Change. In 2017, he received the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, awarded annually to an American Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.”
Father Boyle is the author of the 2010 New York Times bestseller, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. His Nov. 13 lecture is named for his 2017 book, the Los Angeles Times bestseller Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship. This lecture is free and open to the public.