G-DOG. What happens when a young, white Jesuit priest walks into the most violent Latino, Asian, and African-American gang neighborhoods in East LA? If that priest is Father Greg Boyle, a 70% success rate for having gang members swap violence for community.
And what’s his radical method?
Boundless, restorative love.
This documentary follows Father Greg or G-Dog as the homies call him, through a year in the life of Homeboy Industries, the largest, most successful gang intervention and rehab program in the U.S. In 1986, Father Greg was assigned to the poorest, most violent parish in East LA, Boyle Heights. With his belief that nothing stops a bullet like a job and his intense focus on jobs not jail for the kids he saw planning their funerals instead of their futures, he began building Homeboy Industries — a café, silkscreen shop, yoga studio, retail shop, catering service, tattoo removal, job training, anger management training, parent training, etc, business – in downtown LA. In the year the film memorializes, Father Greg and the homies face a tough economic decision about Homeboy Industries, but they face it together and with boundless, restorative love.
Father Greg saw a need in his community and he worked to meet that need. As a result, Homeboy Industries serves as an inspiration for helping to kids at risk in Toronto, Manchester, Hamburg, Rio de Janeiro, and many more communities.
It’s easy to see why a Jesuit priest would be so loved in one of the poorest communities in LA when you embrace the truth delivered in his commencement speech at Occidental College:
“So, I’m in a car with a homie named Manuel and we’re driving to give a talk and he gets a text and he looks at it and he kinda chuckles and I said, ‘What is it?’ And he goes, ‘Oh, it’s dumb. It’s from Snoopy back at the office.’
I said, ‘What’s it say?’
‘Oh, hey dog, it’s me Snoops. Yeah, they got my ass locked up at county jail. They’re charging me with being the ugliest vato in America. You have to come down right now. Show ‘em they got the wrong guy.’
I nearly swerved into oncoming traffic and then I realized that Manuel and Snoopy are enemies. They used to shoot bullets at one another. Now they shoot text messages. And there is a word for that and the word is kinship.
There is no longer us and them. It’s only us.
The measure of your compassion lies not in your service of those on the margins, but in your willingness to see yourself in kinship with them.
Oxi [Occidental College] is not the place you come to; it’s the place you go from. And you go from here to create a community of kinship so that God might recognize it. And good for you. And congratulations.” ~ Father Greg Boyle
G-Dog a brilliant film by Freida Lee Mock.