A Global Gathering of Former Gang Members, Looking for a Second Chance

LA-based Homeboy Industries hopes its rehabilitation and education model can travel around the world.

The first thing a former gang member hoping to make a new life for himself might do is look for a place to get his tattoos removed. That’s how Malo, née Javier Medina, found his way to Homeboy Industries, the 27-year-old LA-based organization that gives former gang members another shot at contributing to their communities. But as Malo told VICE earlier this year, removing his tattoos was just the start.

“They found out I was a good cook and got me a job in the bakery,” Malo told VICE.

Turns out that bakery is just one of Homeboy Industries’ business ventures, which train, support and then often place their program participants in full-time jobs. (Other Homeboy businesses that hungry LA denizens might find interesting: City Hall’s Homeboy Diner, Homeboy’s farmers market booths, and Homegirl Café and Catering).

Homeboy Diner

According to the organization, Homeboy Industries serves up to 1,000 former gang members per month. The LA organization says it enrolls over to 400 in their educational curricula, which include life skills classes like anger management and physical conditioning, but also more job-focused offerings, like GED tutoring and computer basics.

This week, the LA group goes decidedly international as it hosts the second annual gathering of the Global Homeboy Network, its worldwide offshoot. Attendees from six countries—Australia, Scotland, Mexico, Canada, South Africa, and the US—come together to discuss the specific mental health, law enforcement, mentorship, and educational issues facing former gang members from around the world.

Homeboy Industries headquarters in LA

“[T]he idea is to invite people with their own particularity. Glasgow is different from Guatemala City, is different from Wichita,” says Father Gregory Boyle, who founded Homeboy Industries and still heads the organization today.

But Boyle believes that all participants can learn from his LA program’s social innovation—and its success.

“You have to be willing and wanting to change, or else [the program] won’t work for you,” Malo, the gang member-turned-baker, told VICE. “I got tired of the gang life, the same routines, running the streets.”

Malo is set to begin a new job, his “first legit” one, at a Beverley Hills French bistro this year.

Via The Guardian, VICE

via Honor Africans / Twitter

The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

Keep Reading Show less

Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet