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Father Gregory Boyle
Founder and Director of Homeboy Industries, the world's largest gang-intervention and rehabilitation program, American Jesuit Priest, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient 

Thursday, April 11th, 2024

Father Gregory Boyle a Jesuit priest is the founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, the largest gang- intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world.

Born and raised in Los Angeles and Jesuit priest, from 1986 to 1992 Fr. Boyle served as pastor of Dolores Mission Church in Boyle Heights. Dolores Mission was the poorest Catholic parish in Los Angeles that also had the highest concentration of gang activity in the city.

Fr. Boyle witnessed the devastating impact of gang violence on his community during the so-called “decade of death” that began in the late 1980s and peaked at 1,000 gang-related killings in 1992. In the face of law enforcement tactics and criminal justice policies of suppression and mass incarceration as the means to end gang violence, he and parish and community members adopted what was a radical approach at the time: treat gang members as human beings.

In 1988 they started what would eventually become Homeboy Industries, which employs and trains former gang members in a range of social enterprises, as well as provides critical services to thousands of individuals who walk through its doors every year seeking a better life.

Fr. Boyle is the author of the 2010 New York Times-bestseller Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. Followed by Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship (2017) and The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness (2021). Recently he debuted Forgive Everyone Everything, an anthology of writings accompanied by Fabian Debora’s artwork.

He has received the California Peace Prize and been inducted into the California Hall of Fame. In 2014, President Obama named Fr. Boyle a Champion of Change. He received the University of Notre Dame’s 2017 Laetare Medal, the oldest honor given to American Catholics. Homeboy Industries was the recipient of the 2020 Hilton Humanitarian Prize validating 32 years of Fr. Greg Boyle’s vision and work by the organization for over three decades. Most recently he was one of the recipients of the 2024 The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor.

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