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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America’s First Marijuana Cafe Opened In LA And The Reviews Are Sky High

Culture

America’s First Marijuana Cafe Opened In LA And The Reviews Are Sky High

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This week, West Hollywood’s first Cannabis Café opened up for business. Marijuana retail giant, Lowell Farms, is opening up it’s doors in WeHo as a restaurant and bar, slash lounge, and shop, that offers the country’s first “farm-to-table experience for both cuisine and cannabis”. 

Unfortunately, none of the food will be infused with cannabis —but you’ll be able to smoke it or vape it.

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There won’t be any cannabis in the actual food, because state laws prohibit the sale of food infused with cannabis. Instead, the dishes on the menu will complement the various strains of cannabis that will be for sale. You’ll be able to smoke your weed or vape it, and mix it with the food on the menu, kind of like you pair food with wine. Lowell Farms is a functional restaurant with servers and a special air-filtration system that sucks up and filters the smoke from the weed people will be smoking everywhere. 

Upon arrival you’ll be greeted by a “budtender”, who will be your cannabis guide.

Leafly

The budtender will help you on your cannabis experience and will help personalize your order. Additionally you will also have a server who will get your food and nonalcoholic beverages—there’s no booze for sale because of state laws. The menu has all the classic café offerings; salads, sandwiches, avocado toast, mac n cheese bites and vegan nachos to name a few options. Chef Andrea Drummer was inspired by the different flavor profiles in the strains of cannabis, so each dish will be accompanied by a suggested product to smoke or vape.

According to the LA Times, the opening menu includes “miso-glazed pork belly, jalapeño mac and cheese bites, vegan nachos, sticky tamarind wings, house-made pickles and avocado and white bean hummus.”

The cannabis menu though, is much more extensive. 

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Restaurant director Kevin Brady compared the cannabis menu with a wine list, in that all products are seasonal and rich in their own way. Most of them will be supplied by the Lowell Farms organic cannabis farm in Santa Barbara—the parent company behind the restaurant, and they’re not cheap. A single-strain pre-roll can set you back between $18 and $30. And if you’re looking for something a little stronger, there’s also a “Dab Bar” which is essentially where you’ll find stronger weed for the experienced consumer.

The Do’s and Don’ts at Lowell Farms Café.

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West Hollywood created eight cannabis consumption licenses. And according to the restaurant, Lowell Farms was granted the very first one —out of more than 300 applicants. Which makes this restaurant, the first business of its kind in the U.S. and as such, there are a few new rules set in place to keep things running smoothly. The café will be open until 2am with a last call for cannabis at 9:50pm —unless pre-ordered and pre-paid, in which case you’ll be able to enjoy your purchases until close. The space is 21 and older, and you’ll need to bring a drivers license, passport or valid ID if you plan on purchasing any weed. Oh, and payment for cannabis will only be accepted in cash —though you can pay for food and drink with credit or debit cards. You may smoke and vape both inside the dining room and the patio but not on any front-facing outdoor area. 

You’ll be able to smoke or consume edibles you bring from your own personal collection for a small “tokage” fee, similar to a corkage fee, of $40. Taking unfinished cannabis products home is not allowed, but you can take your food leftovers though. You can either bring your own bongs or pipes, or you can rent one from the restaurant. And you’ll be able drink beer or wine only on the front patio —once the restaurant secures a license.

If you want to take some products home, there’s even a little shop.

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Resembling a dispensary area that will offer edibles, vapes, concentrates and buds. Another great thing about this café is that Lowell’s has made a policy of hiring people who have served time for nonviolent cannabis-related crimes (as advertised on a billboard on the side of the freeway: “Pot Offenders Wanted“). 

Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe opens on October 1 at 1201 N La Brea Ave, with hours of 10am-2am daily.

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

Things That Matter

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.

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