More than 600 people packed Burns Back Court on Feb. 13, 2018 to hear about “exquisite mutuality” and “radical kinship” from best-selling author and BCLA alumnus (’85), Gregory Boyle, S.J. As is his custom, Father Boyle brought these powerful ideas to life with anecdotes gathered from 30 years of working with gang members in Los Angeles. Father Boyle weaved together endearing and humorous stories of felons turned “homies” into a powerful narrative with a thought-provoking message.
“Here’s why I think you’re here this afternoon,” Boyle said to the audience. “It has little to do with me and more to do with a longing. We have a deep abiding desire within us, especially in the times in which we live…we want to imagine a circle of compassion and then imagine nobody standing outside that circle.”
Father Boyle is an advocate for voices on the margins. As founder of Homeboy Industries, he has devoted his life’s work to rehabilitating previously gang-involved and incarcerated men and women. Homeboy Industries provides a variety of services and experiences that empower these men and women to become contributing members of the community, including the opportunity to make public appearances with Father Boyle and share their stories. He believes this is an important step in their re-characterization.
Michael Henry and Edwin Ramos were the two “homies” who accompanied Father Boyle to LMU. After they spoke, Father Boyle credited the “homies” for giving him everything of value in his life. “The day will never come when I have more courage or I am more noble or closer to God than they are,” he said.
The keynote presentation was part of a lineup of events that Father Boyle, Michael and Edwin participated in as part of “A Day of Kinship” at LMU. Throughout the day, Father Boyle helped students, faculty and staff think more deeply about the doctrine of kinship.
“No kinship, no peace; no kinship, no justice; no kinship, no equality,” Father Boyle emphasized during an intimate reading group event where participants discussed his latest work “Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship.”
These wise words have become a mantra of sorts for the LMU community reminding us how transformative the practice of inclusivity can be for individuals as well as an organization’s mission and work.
View Father Boyle’s keynote presentation here with password: LMU2018.