Culture

A Dozen Fast Facts about the Most Successful Gang Intervention Program in the World

In the late ’80s, the seeds of what has grown into Homeboy Industries were planted when a program called “Jobs for the Future” was created. Its goal was to stem the tide of gang-related violence that was threatening to drown Los Angeles. Decades later, Homeboy Industries is widely recognized as one of the largest gang intervention and rehabilitation programs in the world. Here’s how the faith of one man helped change thousands of lives.

In 1988, a Jesuit pastor named Gregory Boyle started a program called “Jobs for a Future.”

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The program operated out of Dolores Mission Parish in Boyle Heights, a working-class, mostly Mexican-American neighborhood east of downtown Los Angeles. The program’s main goal was to provide high-risk youth with an alternative to gang life.

At the time, Los Angeles was embarking on the “decade of death.”

How do you pray! #prayerworks

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Father Boyle refers to the period of 1988-1998 as the “decade of death” in Los Angeles because of the intensity of gang violence that was engulfing the city. In 1992 alone, there were 1,000 gang-related homicides in Los Angeles county. Boyle Heights was hit particularly hard because, according to NPR, it had the “highest concentration of gang activity in the entire city.”

Early on, the belief was, “Nothing stops a bullet like a job.”

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Father Boyle and other concerned community members asked the question, “Can we improve the health and safety of our community through jobs and education rather than through suppression and incarceration?” They found that the answer was yes. Why? According to Boyle, a job “gives the gang member a reason to get up in the morning and a reason not to gangbang the night before.”

READ: Former Gang Members Talk About The Way To A Better Life

So, in 1992, a social enterprise called Homeboy Bakery was created.

Most are heading home for the day. But bakers are just getting started.

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After the L.A. riots, Homeboy Bakery was started in an effort to help former enemies work side by side while learning to bake, which would give them a marketable skill for life. The money for this “social enterprise” came from Hollywood producer Ray Spark, who donated the funds to turn an old, empty warehouse into a bakery.

“Wait, WTF is a social enterprise?”

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According to the Homeboy Industries FAQ section, “social enterprises are businesses that apply commercial strategies to improve the well-being of individuals rather than creating enterprises for profit.” To put that in other words: It’s about helping people grow, instead of making someone rich.

In 2001, “Jobs for the Future” expanded and became Homeboy Industries.

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Homeboy Industries now boasts multiple social enterprises, including their bakery, a cafe, silkscreening and embroidery services, catering, and retail selling of clothing, food and Homeboy Industries swag. They were able to grow by sheer hustle and ganas. The money to support all the enterprises comes from donations, fundraising, government funding and money made from the enterprises themselves.

But it turns out that to break the cycle of violence, you need more than a job.

#jobsnotjails #unitywins #hotla #homeboy #seniorstaffrising

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Father Boyle now admits that while giving a gang member a job helps with about 80 percent of the issue, the other 20 percent needs to be handled with therapy and support services. He says it’s a better way to help the population “transform pain” so as not to transmit it anymore.

Because it’s about more than just jobs, Homeboy Industries has become a one-stop-shop.

Krystal documented her tattoo removal today #jobsnotjails

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For those looking for a way out of gang life, Homeboy Industries’ services go far beyond employment opportunities, and also include case management, tattoo removal, mental health services, substance abuse counseling and education.

In a world where nothing is free, all the services at Homeboy Industries cost nothing. But they’re a huge investment.

#goodlife #hardwork #homegirl #kinship

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No one who joins the program is charged any money, and the men and women who receive job training are paid. The services are paid for with money from donations, government funding and the organization’s social enterprises.

How does it all work? Hope.

#besos #jobsnotjails

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Father Boyle — or G-Dog, as he’s affectionately called — believes that gang membership comes about because of “a lethal absence of hope in young people” and a lack of other options and opportunities. Now there is hope because Homeboy Industries offers a way out with opportunities for a different kind of life.

Perhaps you’ve seen one of their alums, Richard Cabral, on TV or in movies.

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Cabral was involved in gang activity from a young age and almost spent his life in jail after shooting a man, but he decided he was ready to change. Homeboy Industries helped him morph into an actor, and he eventually earned an Emmy nomination for his work on the ABC series “American Crime.” Can you believe that sh*t?

READ: This Ex-Gang Member Used To Run The Streets Of L.A., Now He’s An Emmy-Nominated Actor

And, yes, Homeboy Industries really is making a difference.

#homeboyindustries #graduates #standbyme #educationsnotjails

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Since 2005, there has been a 55.3 percent decline in gang-related crimes and a 66.7 percent decline in gang-related homicides. Of course, Homeboy Industries can’t take all the credit for that, but they have certainly contributed toward the reduction of gang-related violence in general.

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UPDATE: Prisoner Who Went Viral This Week For Disguising Himself As His Daughter To Escape Prison Is Found Dead

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UPDATE: Prisoner Who Went Viral This Week For Disguising Himself As His Daughter To Escape Prison Is Found Dead

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UPDATE: Earlier this week an inmate went viral for his unusual attempt to escape prison disguised as his daughter. On Tuesday, Aug. 6, Clauvino da Silva was found dead in his cell by apparent suicide, according to CNN. 

Below is the story of how da Silva attempted to escape prison before his death…

Some things you just cannot make up.

Recently in Brazil, a gang leader attempted the tricky feat of escaping prison via some pretty lofty means: impersonating his own teenage daughter. To prepare for his attempt, da Silva, also known as Baixinho — or Shorty, attempted to pass guards at the Bangu prison complex in Rio de Janeiro wearing an actual silicone mask and wig.

Officials recently released photos of da Silva and pretty much everyone is confused about how he thought this would work.

Da Silva wore a silicone mask, glasses, a long black wig, jeans and a pink T-shirt decorated with a print of donuts to make his escape.

In a video released by Rio de Janeiro’s state secretary of prison administration, da Silva can be seen slowly taking off his disguise before saying his real name. According to authorities, his elaborate escape attempt was foiled after prison guards picked up on his nervous behavior.

According to Buzzfeed, da Silva, 42, is currently serving a 73-year sentence for drug trafficking. The gang leader worked for the Red Command, one of Brazil’s most powerful drug trafficking criminal groups. Officials say that since his thwarted prison break, da Silva has been transferred to a unit of a maximum-security prison where he is due to face disciplinary sanctions.

It’s not the first time da Silva has made an attempt with his daughter’s help.

Back in 2013, Brazilian news site Globo reported that he had successfully escaped prison. At the time, da Silva operated on a plan that allowed him to stroll out of the prison’s main door as his daughter remained in his cell.

Looks like a 73-year jail sentence can really inspire a person to get creative.

Also pretty sure that mask would have any daughter insulted.

The reaction on Twitter, of course, has been downright gold.

Perhaps a better budget would have seen da Silva far away and free from the gates of prison.

As of now, nearly everyone who has read this story has their fingers crossed that this story will inspire a movie.

Basically, everyone’s rallying for this to be the inspiration for the White Chicks 2 film.

Like so many references to White Chicks.

And all of this time we thought no one could have done a mask worse.

As far as the court of popular opinion goes, da Silva’s verdict is:

Scooby-Doo did it better.

Latino Students Are Being Put Into School With Fewer White Students And That Often Means Schools With Fewer Resources

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Latino Students Are Being Put Into School With Fewer White Students And That Often Means Schools With Fewer Resources

If you’ve been paying attention to the Democratic debates, you might be feeling some type of way about CNN’s repeated taking to task of Vice President Joe Biden for voting against busing to desegregate public schools in the 1970s. Some feel frustrated to hear this issue be brought up. One Twitter user lamented. “Good grief. Enough about busing. Focus people. We have a corrupt, racist criminal in the White House. Stop helping him.”

Meanwhile, Latinx journalists like Yamiche Alcindor are wondering out loud, “Why are we talking about busing 50 years ago when schools are segregated today? We need a conversation about what is happening now.” The research from three universities definitively conclude that Latino students in California public schools are more racially segregated from white peers than any other state. In fact, it’s only “intensifying.”

Last week, University of California Berkley released a study that concluded that, nationwide, Latino children are likely to enter elementary schools with fewer white peers than a generation ago.

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The definition of segregation in the case of the study isn’t by individual race or ethnicity, but rather by the obvious educational and funding benefits that white students receive over black and brown students. The authors of the research report that this matters because “”racially segregating students of color … often corresponds with unfair financing of schools, regressive allocation of quality teachers and culturally limited curricula.” It benefits minority students to be integrated with a white majority (read: better funded) school. 

In 1998, the average Latino student in elementary school found themselves in a student body where 40% of the students were white. By 2015, that number dropped to 30%, even though the population of Latinos in this country has skyrocketed.

The numbers just become drastically worse in urban areas.

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Again, the problem isn’t inherent in a black and brown student body. It’s systematic racism that determines that implicitly implies that the more white students in the classroom, the better the funding and, therefore, education is going to be for everyone. Research shows that black students who attend integrated schools have higher rates of earning bachelor’s degrees and higher wages overall compared to black students who are effectively segregated.

In urban areas across the country, the average Latino finds themselves in a student body that is just 5% white. That reinforces class lines and prevents the diversity of ideas to be spread across those very lines.

The good news is that Latina mothers are progressively becoming more educated.

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UC Berkley’s research team produced an in-depth report on the intersection of education and the Latino community, which includes the impacts of segregation and beyond. Bruce Fuller is the lead researcher and a professor of education and public policy at Berkley. Fuller is happy to report that his “Berkeley-led team found that college-going rates of Latina mothers have climbed steadily since 1998. These women show little hesitation to assimilate, while enriching their bilingual skills, then moving into better jobs and suburbs that host integrated schools.”

The seemingly largest factor in Latino children having a better education is a result of their parents becoming more and more educated.

@latimes / Twitter

The research confirms our own personal anecdotes. As Latinos finally enter the middle class, families are moving to middle class neighborhoods with schools that are just likelier to be more integrated. In an interview, Fuller says that as young Latino families become more educated, it “allows for movement into more economically-integrated communities. Now [these communities] might still be predominantly Latino, but at least we’re achieving economic integration for many, many Latino kids.”

“If we can get poor kids in the same classrooms as middle-class kids,” Fuller said, “we’re probably going to see stronger educational outcomes.”

*Shocking* research that bilingual skills offer higher pay is also motivating schools to implement dual-language campuses.

It doesn’t have to be Spanish either. According to Fuller, “One popular elementary school immerses students in classes taught in both Mandarin and English, starting in kindergarten. It’s a “microcosm of the world,” Principal Darlene Martin said.”

Fuller’s research compares the demographics of various counties across the U.S. and tries to understand what policies allow for greater racial integration. “Part of this stems from differing patterns of housing segregation,” he reports. “Still, educators differ in their will to build magnet schools and dual-language programs, which white parents find rigorous and attractive.”

Fuller wants to see political leaders explain “how they aim to bring the nation’s kaleidoscope of children under one roof.”

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Fuller concludes his research with this powerful statement: “Let’s look forward and build from what works, recognizing that nurturing mutual respect grows from tender mercies each day in classrooms, not from polarizing squabbles over the past.”

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