Top Quotes by Greg Boyle

Abject poverty, political instability, torture, and other abuses push thousands across our border. There is not a deterrent imaginable that equals the conditions that force their migration.

Greg Boyle

What do we know to be true about gang violence? We know we will fail if we fixate on the symptoms and not address what undergirds it.

Greg Boyle

Even gang members imagine a future that doesn’t include gangs.

Greg Boyle

You prevent kids from joining gangs by offering after-school programs, sports, mentoring, and positive engagement with adults. You intervene with gang members by offering alternatives and employment to help redirect their lives. You deal with areas of high gang crime activity with real community policing. We know what works.

Greg Boyle

You stand with the least likely to succeed until success is succeeded by something more valuable: kinship. You stand with the belligerent, the surly and the badly behaved until bad behavior is recognized for the language it is: the vocabulary of the deeply wounded and of those whose burdens are more than they can bear.

Greg Boyle

No kid is seeking anything when he joins a gang; he’s always fleeing something. He’s not being pulled; he’s being pushed by the circumstances in which he finds himself.

Greg Boyle

Redemption is possible, and it is the measure of a civilized society.

Greg Boyle

My job isn’t to fix or rescue or to save. It’s to accompany, see people, listen to them.

Greg Boyle

You are exactly what God had in mind when he made you.

Greg Boyle

As a society, we come up lacking in many of the marks of compassion and wisdom by which we measure ourselves as civilized.

Greg Boyle

The highest hallmark of a civilized society is not the rapidity by which it exacts vengeance, but its ability to hold victim and victimizer in its compassionate heart.

Greg Boyle

I know now that gang warfare is not the Middle East or Northern Ireland. There is violence in gang violence, but there is no conflict. It is not ‘about something.’ It is the language of the despondent and traumatized.

Greg Boyle

The power of community policing is in the relationship. This can happen only if an officer sticks around for a while.

Greg Boyle

If you are paying attention, then the day is going to be pretty joyful, and a lot of delight will fill it.

Greg Boyle

We need a pope to usher in a new era of inclusion, the end of a sinful clericalism, and a strong sense of duty to those on society’s margins. The 1 billion faithful long for a leader who is fearless and driven – not by terror but by love.

Greg Boyle

Don’t forget, you are the hero of your own story.

Greg Boyle

People have to see that there is a high degree of complexity about belonging to a gang. It’s a symptom, not a problem.

Greg Boyle

We don’t need a specialized gang unit. We need patrol officers who specialize in knowing their community.

Greg Boyle

I have a lot of people in my life, and I think there’s something key: the thing that leads to intimacy and relationship and connection is tenderness.

Greg Boyle

You are so much more than the worst thing you’ve ever done.

Greg Boyle

Kids are different from adults. They are not as developed as far as brain science, controlling impulses, and maturity, and fall prey to all kinds of pressures.

Greg Boyle

Showing up in the lives of children is everything.

Greg Boyle

Homeboy Industries has chosen to stand with the ‘demonized’ so that the demonizing will stop; it stands with the ‘disposable’ so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away.

Greg Boyle

In Los Angeles, the gang capital of the world, we have 1,100 gangs and 120,000 gang members so it is a daunting, complex social dilemma.

Greg Boyle

The mark of our society as civilized will come when we embrace confidence in the power of redemption.

Greg Boyle

There is no ‘them’ and ‘us.’ There is only us.

Greg Boyle

You can’t reason with gang violence: you can’t talk to it, sit it at the table, and negotiate with it.

Greg Boyle

For over twenty years, Homeboy Industries has chosen to stand with those on the margins and those whose burdens are more than they can bear; it stands with the poor and the powerless, with the easily-despised and the readily-left out.

Greg Boyle

I have never seen a hopeful person join a gang.

Greg Boyle

I’m the priest who has been mistaken for an ATM machine.

Greg Boyle

Like the suffering child, gang members act out of their despair, and their actions are all the more alarming now for our not having heeded their cry long ago. The shortsighted neglect that keeps us locked up in our outrage has also kept us from viable solutions.

Greg Boyle

What is ultimately compelling for our children in helping them conjure images of a future for themselves is our willingness to walk with them as they do it.

Greg Boyle

Children find themselves adrift not because the informational signposts are illegible, but because there is no one around to guide and accompany them.

Greg Boyle

We lose our right to be surprised that California has the highest recidivism rate in the country if we refuse to hire folks who have taken responsibility for their crimes and have done their time.

Greg Boyle

I always have a funny story at communion time that underscores that no one is perfect, and that communion is not for perfect people but for hungry people.

Greg Boyle

Delegations from all over the world visit Homeboy Industries and scratch their heads as we tell them of our difficulty in placing our people in jobs after their time with us. Americans’ seeming refusal to believe in a person’s ability to redeem himself strikes these folks as foreign indeed.

Greg Boyle

My church is in the detention facilities where I preside and celebrate the Eucharist. To me that’s the church. That’s the people of God.

Greg Boyle

I do believe in lessons learned. I have learned that you work with gang members and not with gangs; otherwise, you enforce the cohesion of gangs and supply them oxygen.

Greg Boyle

I founded Homeboy Industries in 1988 after I buried my first young person killed in our streets because of gang violence.

Greg Boyle

The truth is this: Brutalized, victimized children invariably will brutalize and victimize when they grow up. Is our only response to this the certain promise that we will penalize them when they do? Or will we commit to keeping our children safe from brutality and victimization?

Greg Boyle

Does God feel like that same-sex marriage could happen? I don’t think anybody who has a connection to God and God’s understanding and depth of compassion who’s gonna say ‘no.’

Greg Boyle

All politics are local, and so in church.

Greg Boyle

We are among the handful of countries that has difficulty distinguishing juveniles from adults where crime is concerned. We are convinced that if a child commits an adult crime, that kid is magically transformed into an adult. Consequently, we try juveniles as adults.

Greg Boyle

The church needs a pope who can call us to conversion and lead us to take seriously what Jesus did.

Greg Boyle

I kinda don’t do guilt. I gave it up for Lent years ago.

Greg Boyle

God seems to be an unwilling participant in our efforts to pigeonhole Him.

Greg Boyle

I don’t save people. God saves people. I can point them in the right direction. I can say, ‘There’s that door. I think if you walked through it, you’d be happier than you are.’

Greg Boyle

Gangs are born of a lethal absence of hope, and hope has an address: 130 W. Bruno St. in Los Angeles, CA 90012.

Greg Boyle

The draconian spirit that seeks to enhance penalties and to lower the age at which juveniles will be tries as adults, is part of the ‘whole cloth’ of three strikes. Our failure to address the depair of our inner-city youth is only delayed by our over-confidence in a stance that is ‘tougher than thou.’

Greg Boyle

When the vastness of God meets the restriction of our own humanity, words can’t hold it. The best we can do is find the moments that rhyme with this expansive heart of God.

Greg Boyle

The task of dealing comprehensively with gangs belongs to the city, not to law enforcement.

Greg Boyle

I would hope that government officials have a healthy respect for the complexity of the gang problem. They should never lose sight of the fact that there are human beings involved. There is no single solution.

Greg Boyle