top of page
  • Madison Farrel '24 and Rachael Gray '24

Fr. Greg Boyle to SI: Erase the Margins,Armed With ‘Affectionate Awe’

Fr. Boyle, author of Tattoos on the Heart, addressed SI for the first annual Social Justice Summit on Feb. 28

Last month, Fr. Greg Boyle, the founder of Homeboy Industries— came to SI to talk about his work to dissolve gang violence in downtown Los Angeles over the past 30 years. On February 28, Father Greg along with Ivy and Stephanie, two “homegirls,” gave a keynote address to students, faculty, and parents about his life’s work centered around belonging, kinship, and community. Homeboy Industries was founded in 1992, and has since become the largest gang intervention program in the world with over 10,000 new “homies” each year. He is also the author of best-selling book Tattoos on the Heart, which every SI student reads as part of the junior year Ethics curriculum. Ivy and Stephanie opened the address with their life stories before and after they found Homeboy’s. Each of them received multiple jail sentences in juvie and prison. Once finding Father Greg, they turned their lives around and realized the power of having someone believe in you. They both now work at Homeboy’s and help other gang members realize their own potential.

Affectionate Awe

A phrase that Father Greg repeatedly emphasized was “affectionate awe.” It means standing with people, looking in from the margins, and recognizing those that are different from you with respect and acceptance. This message was greatly echoed throughout Father Greg’s speech, and helped students to better understand what truly standing with people on the margins is.

He told the students to "go to the margins and go to be made different.” Many in society go to the margins to “fix” or “teach,” but Boyle teaches students that going to the margins creates relationships that can change you. This is a very important message to our SI community because at SI, all students go to the margins in their volunteer work or immersion groups, and this guiding message can create life-changing experiences.

Shooting Texts, Not Bullets

Lastly, Boyle told many impactful stories about his time at Homeboy Industries. One of the most important lessons he told was about two former gang members that are a part of Homeboy Industries. He explained that the two homies used to be rivals in their gangs, but now they are “shooting texts, not bullets.” The homies overcame their hatred for each other, and found love and friendship.

This can apply to the lives of SI students, even if it is on a smaller scale. They display great amounts of resilience, bravery, and compassion that all students should learn from and try to find within themselves. Overall, Boyle’s speech to the students of SI expressed meaningful lifelong lessons that can inspire and teach the students of SI, as well as anyone else who encounters Greg Boyle and Homeboy Industries.

Madison Farrell ’24 & Rachael Gray ’24 are Vol. 71 Contributing Editors

Reflections on Club Growth

Budding Penships Kate Quach '25 "Budding Penships had such a successful and meaningful year, from our penpal outreach to senior homes across California to our second annual Words of Wisdom welcome car


bottom of page