Last August I had the privilege of attending the Homeboy Industries Conference in L.A. It was hands down the best conference I have been to and I’ve been to plenty. The conference was spiritual, informative and interactive. This is also where I got to meet and speak to my muse Father Greg Boyle for the first time. I highly recommend you read his books. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak also highly recommended.
What I discovered was that Homeboy Industries is this magical holy place where their motto is “Hope has an address” and people are given a second or third or fourth chance, whatever it may be. It is a place where there is a community of kinship. A place where there is love with no measures or regrets. A place where they invest in people and build from within. A place where barriers are dismantled. A place where there is a circle of compassion where no one is left standing outside of it.
What I took home with me from this conference was to face the challenges I experience. To embrace the challenges, struggles and adversities I face because they allow me to grow so that I can maximize my potential output because that is what growth is. What we see on the other side of that is community, kinship and our love that extends forward. As much as we love to receive it we can give it out too.
What impressed me the most about being at the conference was the amount of respect and admiration everyone had for Father Greg especially those who were former gang members.
It hit me while I was at the conference listening to Father Greg speak, soaking in every word he was saying that I was in a room where you could just feel the hope. That I was sitting in a room that was just full of love. Now I admit I’m a sucker for sayings like “hope has an address” but here this was all tangible. It was like if you’re here you will experience it. It was amazing to be in a room where it was “us” a mixture of clients, law enforcement, social workers etc. A room where there was no “us” or “them”. Its almost like you had to be there to understand what I’m trying to explain I suppose.
The reality is that each one of us has issues and a back story and we all deal with it in different ways.
Father Greg and everyone at Homeboy Industries are so inspirational. They are so brave to walk through those doors wanting to make change. Which is a difficult thing to do. They are also smart to want to do it surrounded by love and kinship.
Thank you so much for the privilege of being there and counting me in as a family member. If you are ever in L.A. I would highly recommend you visit Homeboy Industries and go on one of their tours and eat at one of their cafes all staffed by former gang members.