In their own words: Reaching for a better lifeFor the last 30 years, former gang-bangers and ex-convicts have sought a home base and support from Father Gregory Boyle and Homeboy Industries. This is what they found. http://lat.ms/1QdMhjX
For more than 30 years, Father Greg Boyle has helped former gang members in Los Angeles turn their lives around. The 61-year-old priest is the founder of Homeboy Industries, a job training program that has expanded to businesses that employ ex-gang members. Included under the umbrella are a bakery and restaurant. They also provide services such as tattoo removal, anger management classes and mental health counseling. The Los Angeles Times interviewed former gang members who escaped gang life with the help of Homeboy Industries, asking them to reveal what helps them stay on the path of positivity.
It’s been a little over two weeks since a terrorist upended lives when he attacked an El Paso Walmart, killing 22 people. Since then, there has been an outpouring of grief and pain but along with it a community banding together amid an outpouring of support.
Over the weekend, that cycle of grief and support continued as many of the remaining victims were finally laid to rest.
One El Paso funeral home director put together the ultimate send off for all 22 victims, organizing a caravan of hearses that convened at the makeshift memorial.
Twenty-two hearses carried flowers to the makeshift memorial outside Walmart.
Perches, who organized the funeral for an El Paso widower who made headlines when he invited the entire city to his wife’s service, reached out to other area funeral homes to organize 22 hearses — one for each person killed — to deliver flowers to the makeshift memorial at Walmart, which has become a place to mourn and remember. One final procession.
On Sunday, the hearses left La Paz and followed a police escort for the five mile procession to the memorial.
There were so many flowers at La Paz that it took nearly an hour for about 100 volunteers to load the hearses.
The flowers were donated from the El Paso widower made famous when he invited the entire city to his wife’s funeral.
There were 22 hearses, representing the 22 victims of the shooting, that carried more than 1,000 floral arrangements sent by people around the world for Margie Reckard’s funeral service and burial — which were held on Friday night and Saturday.
Salvador Perches told local ABC affiliate KVIA, “I spoke with (Reckard’s) husband about the idea, and he felt this would be a fitting tribute to his wife and to the other victims,” Perches said. “Contact was then made to all of the other participating funeral homes and all of them agreed that this can serve as a gesture of unity and a sense of closure for all of the funerals that happened from this tragedy.”
People who saw the caravan pass by took to social media to share their emotions.
Cars stopped in both directions as the 22 hearses passed. People captured the moment on cell phones. Some held small American flags and removed their hats.
“I just got chills,” Sunset Funeral Homes Director Christopher Lujan told CNN in an interview. “Seeing 22 hearses is just unbelievable.”
The hearses unloaded the flowers at the makeshift memorial site outside the Walmart where the attack took place.
The makeshift memorial at Walmart sprang up a day after the shooting. People have gathered to pray and sing amid the candles, rosaries and white crosses with handwritten names of the dead.
Funeral directors invited mourners at the memorial site to unload the arrangements. They took the flowers and arranged them around the crosses. “Everybody wanted to participate in one way or another,” said Gomez, who runs the social services non-profit Operation H.O.P.E., in an interview with CNN.
A mural showing the Statue of Liberty being handcuffed by immigration enforcement officers has been unveiled in Las Vegas, amid rancour and anger over Donald Trump’sharsh immigration policies.
The mural, titled “Chained Migration,” was unveiled late last month in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Since then, it has caused a lot of dialogue between those who support it and those who don’t.
The mural is a 20×50 art installation that depicts the Statue of Liberty handcuffed and bet over the hood of an ICE patrol car. It was created by Izaac Zevalking, also known as Recycled Propaganda, a political artist that aims to create art influenced by history and current events. Zevalking himself is an immigrant from the UK. Zevalking is using the Statue of Liberty, who is considered a beacon of hope for immigrants, to demonstrate how the harmful rhetoric used against them is harming the American Dream.
In an interview with KTNV Las Vegas, Zevalking explains that the goal of the mural is to create a conversation about immigration in the United States. “I want people just to think about the issue. Wherever that thought leaves you. Wherever that conversation with someone else leaves you. I think it needs to be discussed more in human terms.”
Although some came to the internet to praise Zevalking for his mural, others were quick to disagree with his artwork.
This Twitter user used the infamous MS13 gang as her reasoning for this mural being shameful. Her comment imitates the language that Trump uses in his statements referring to those who migrate into the United States. She plays into the stereotype that all people who are immigrating to the U.S are dangerous gang members.
Some on Twitter were quick to claim they’d happily paint it over.
In the replies, a Twitter user suggested they paint over the mural in protest.
However, Recycled Propaganda clapped back, suggesting that if it gets painted over they keep on bringing it back.
The art piece could not have been more timely given the recent comments made by Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
After being asked in an interview with NPR if the words of Emma Lazarus are part of the American ethos, Cuccinelli replied, adding a line to the poem, “They certainly are – give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”
The original reads as, “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”
Recently, the Trump administration decided to make it more difficult for immigrants to obtain a Green Card if they receive government aid, such as food stamps or Medicaid. Cuccinelli is a big defender of this policy, so it is not surprising that these comments about Lazarus’ sonnet were made.
When immigrants are being discussed in politics, it is usually done so in ways that strips them of their humanity.
When folks migrate to the United States, it is often done so out of desperation and necessity. Immigrants come with nothing but a backpack filled with the essentials. They come to work low-paying jobs and because of their status, it is difficult for them to get the assistance they need for issues like healthcare and food assistance. To ask immigrants to come to the United States and to be self-sufficient only treat them with very little dignity is unfair.
When describing this policy, Cuccinelli uses words like a burden when describing immigrants who need public assistance. After his initial remarks about the poem, Cuccinelli said on CNN that the poem was originally referring to Europeans who migrated to the United States.
The artist, who is an immigrant from the UK points out that America is a very different place for white immigrants.
“I personally wasn’t born in America. I was born in the UK and I don’t ever feel attacked as an immigrant and I think that’s cause my skin is white,” Zevalking says.
There is a stark difference between the ways European immigrants and Latin American immigrants are treated in the United States and Zevalking is tapping into that notion with his mural, “Chained Migration.” He is acknowledging his privilege as a European immigrant and using it to shed light on how criminalizing it is for non-white immigrants living in the United States.
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