by Comprehensive Staff

10/05/2017 6:59 pm

Registration Open for Event Addressing Gang Violence

An older white man with a beard and glasses, sitting at a desk. Behind him are many photos of diverse people. He is smiling.

Educators, pastors, nonprofit and civic leaders and law enforcement will gather to consider addressing the problem of gang violence with compassion during a special event on Saturday, October 7 at St. Joseph Catholic Parish in Yakima.

"Stop the Violence! A Faith and Civic Leader Forum" will take place at 2:30 p.m. at the church at 212 N. Fourth St.. It will feature the Reverend Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world.

Boyle is the author of New York Times 2010 best-seller Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion and was named a Champion of Change by President Barack Obama.

As pastor of the poorest Catholic parish in Los Angeles, Boyle witnessed the devastating impact of gang violence on his community in the late 1980s, according to a news release. Together with parish and community members, he adopted what was a radical approach at the time: treat gang members as human beings.

By 1988, they started Homeboy Industries. Today, Homeboy Industries employs and trains former gang members, providing critical services to the 10,000 men and women who walk through its doors every year seeking a better life.

This year in Yakima, there have been 11 homicides and police have made one arrest. Possibly more than half the homicides are suspected of being gang-related or committed by gang members.

Admission to the event is free and open to the public. Register at cwcatholicfoundation.org. Call 509-972-3732 for more information.

Originally posted in the Yakima Herald-Republic