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‘Homeboy Creative’ Showcases Poetry by At-Risk Youths and Former Gang Members (Multimedia)

Eric Ortiz

Eric Ortiz

Editor’s note: Truthdig is running a poetry series called “Homeboy Creative,” featuring writers from Homeboy Industries, a gang-prevention program in Los Angeles. This is the first piece in the series. Read Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Father Greg Boyle planted the seeds of Homeboy Industries in 1988 with “Jobs for a Future” at Dolores Mission in the Boyle Heights area, east of downtown Los Angeles. The idea was to help gang members improve the community through jobs and education rather than suppression and incarceration. Twenty-eight years later, Boyle, known as Father G, is still helping gang members, and Homeboy Industries has grown into a multimillion-dollar nonprofit organization in Los Angeles that provides jobs, training and support for at-risk youth, former gang members and previously incarcerated men and women.

Homeboy Industries offers a weekly creative writing class. Our Truthdig managing editor, Eric Ortiz, started attending the class in January and documenting the experience with Evrybit, a live mobile reporting and storytelling app. He has captured street poetry and prose: healing words about life, compassion and hope.

We created a series for the Homeboy Industries’ creative writing class called “Homeboy Creative.” The series tells the story of the Homeboy Industries community, in their own words, in chapters, one for each class.

Starting Tuesday, we will be running each of the chapters from Homeboy Creative on Truthdig.

Submit a poem

Truthdig will publish poems that offer insight into current events and sociopolitical themes relevant to today’s world. From entries across the nation, Truthdig staff will select poems based on both their artistic qualities as well as the social issues they discuss. To read our guidelines and submit a poem for our consideration, click here.

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