By: Erica Lampert ~Staff Writer~
Xavier’s Dorth Day Center for Faith and Justice (CFJ) presented Fr. Greg Boyle on Oct. 2 at Bellarmine Chapel to speak to the Xavier community about critical issues in the criminal justice system.
During his visit, Fr. Boyle spoke to students about his memoir, “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion,” which was the required summer reading for first-year students as part of the Core Curriculum.
Boyle’s presentation, “From Jails to Jobs: Community Re-entry and the Criminal Justice System,” reflected his interests in providing security and oppurtunity for at risk youths.
He discussed the issues that may cause young people to fall into the prison system and ways to reintegrate individuals into society upon their release.
“Fr. Boyle’s enthusiasm and humor in portraying the value of every human life is very inspirational,” first-year student Sarah Barbaro said. “My favorite thing about the talk was Fr. Boyle’s love of his job. I hope one day I can do a fraction of what Fr. Boyle has done for Los Angeles and those in gang violence.”
In addition to Boyle’s speech, CFJ presented the documentary “G-Dog” on Sept. 24 in the Kennedy
Also based on Boyle’s memoir, “G-Dog” presented a current perspective on gangs and
highlighted the ways Boyle’s organization, Homeboy Industries, turned the lives of gang members around.
Boyle began Homeboy Industries after he experienced the gang violence occurring in Los Angeles 20 years ago. The organization provides holistic support to those formerly involved in gangs by offering them job training skills, tattoo removal, classes in parenting and anger management, mental health and substance abuse services as well as a community of love and
During the film, viewers witnessed firsthand the triumphs of those who were previously involved in gangs as they change their lives. Viewers were taken through several “homies’” stories in-depth.
“I love the mission behind Fr. Boyle’s work, how he could take someone seen as a nobody in society and give them an essential role and purpose in life was amazing and heartwarming,” Barbaro said. “I think the film really touches people at their core,” CFJ graduate intern Rachel Snodgrass said. “It features a lot of the ‘homies’ telling their own stories, stories of great triumph, love and pain.”
“The movie asks us to think critically about the issue of gang violence and mass incarceration and to reflect on our own views and prejudices that we may have when it comes to issues,” Snodgrass said. Students were encouraged to attend Fr. Boyle’s speech because the topics of gang violence and mass incarceration are current problems in the world today. His memoir, movie and speech also focus on those issues important to Xavier’s holistic education model.
“Further, it asks us to engage and be in solidarity with people who are marginalized. It asks us to form communities of kinship where no one is marginalized and we recognize that we all belong to each other,” Snodgrass said.