Gregory Boyle

Photo of Gregory BoyleLos Angeles native and Jesuit priest Gregory Boyle served as pastor of what was at the time the city’s poorest Catholic parish, Dolores Mission Church, from 1986 to 1992. The parish also had the city’s highest concentration of gang activity. During that time he witnessed the devastating impact of gang violence on his community during the so-called “decade of death,” which began in the late 1980s and peaked at 1,000 gang-related killings in 1992. Father Boyle and his fellow parish and community members took a radical approach by engaging gang members in their own humanization in the face of what they saw as oppressive law enforcement tactics and criminal justice policies. In 1988, Boyle and his colleagues started what would eventually become Homeboy Industries, which employs and trains former gang members in a range of social enterprises and provides critical services to thousands of men and women who walk through its doors every year seeking a better life. Father Boyle is the author of the New York Times-bestseller Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion and Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship. A recipient of the California Peace Prize, he was inducted into the California Hall of Fame and named a Champion of Change by President Obama in 2014. He has also been honored with the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, the oldest honor given to American Catholics. Father Boyle also served as a member of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Economic and Job Recovery Task Force—part of the state’s response to Covid-19.