Homeboy Industries is equally known for their work in redirecting formerly incarcerated or gang-member men and women as well as their kickass salsa and guacamole—be it, perhaps, for different reasons. The nonprofit organization, founded by Father Greg Boyle—officially coined Homeboy Industries in 2001—provides much needed resources for a far too often neglected community.
Homeboy approached us at Union excited about upcoming efforts to branch off into the creative industries. The creative industries, meaning work in music, art, and fashion-related fields, offers itself as a welcoming and supportive resource to Homeboy’s community.
“I’m trying to find my next step, I actually have my bachelors degree [in business]. The only thing that has stopped me from pursuing my career is these felonies that I have, so my thing is getting those taken off my record before I leave Homeboy to pursue my career” said Homegirl Brandi Lorraine Parham following our shoot with her and Carlos Caballeros.
Brandi has plans to open a non-profit to ensure people have a place to stay and ensure their children are safe and in their care—an opportunity not currently available to Brandi and too many people she knows. Brandy is brilliant and her experiences only add to her creative energy. She is experienced, has fresh ideas and shows us, first-hand, why Homeboy’s community should be embraced and supported by the Creative industries.
Multi-skilled and creative, both Brandi and Carlos work in the Community Outreach department at Homeboy. They starting out in the bakery and at the front desk, respectively. The two, each in their own way, have experienced a lot and have nothing but love for Homeboy Industries and the community it supports and the communities, they together, serve.
“Homeboy Industries helped me break down walls and that barrier where I thought I wouldn’t be able to talk to somebody because of their race, their gang, because of the way they dress or look, their skin color, male, female, whatever the case was. I was able to break down those walls and barriers.” says Carlos. “I am thankful for a first chance, to do what I want for me”.
Homeboy is more than a job, more than a paycheck as Brandi states: “Everyday people need a job, every day people need someone to go and talk to. Homeboys is not just a job, you really [have to] want change in order to go to Homeboys. So, if you’re not willing to work on yourself or change yourself, then Homeboy is not for you because it’s more than just a paycheck.”
We at Union are proud of the ethos Homeboy represents and all the first chances they provide. Equally, we welcome them to the Creative Industries where the same standards follow!
For those of you wondering how to show up and help out in this space here’s what you can do: provide resources and networks in the creative industries for Homeboy and/or donate to Homeboy (link follows below).
Today Tuesday, November 28th, Giving Tuesday celebrates how nonprofit organizations similar to Homeboy Industries help communities. Homeboy Industries relies heavily upon donations due to minimal government funding and all donations are 100% tax deductible. Here’s the donation link (http://bit.ly/2hWwU7Q) so you can help out too!
Special thanks and shoutout to Marvin Bing Jr. and David Johns!
Text by Perwana Nazif