The lineup of speakers included local Chicago changemakers and former Los Angeles gang members who have found new life and direction through Homeboy Industries, a California-based gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program. Author and Homeboy Industries founder, Rev. Gregory J. Boyle, S.J., headlined the event. Fr. Boyle argued that the best violence prevention program is one that helps address past trauma and encourage connectedness for those who are poor, powerless, and voiceless.
“You want to imagine a circle of compassion and imagine no one sitting outside it,” he said, adding that we need to continue to go to the margins until the margins disappear.
“We stand with the demonized so that the demonization will stop,” Fr. Boyle said. “We stand with the disposable so that we stop throwing people away.”