Father Gregory Boyle

Father Gregory Boyle

Father Greg Boyle has been a leading figure in the fight against gangs for decades in Los Angeles and the South Bay.

For that dedication, and his approach while doing the work, the Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership has named Boyle its 2017 Nell and John Wooden Ethics in Leadership Award winner. The award will be bestowed at a dinner and speech Nov. 16 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center.

Boyle founded what eventually would become Homeboy Industries in 1988 as an alternative to the primary tactics for fighting gangs then — suppression and mass incarceration. Boyle instead focuses on intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry training.

Homeboy employs and trains former gang members as well as providing critical services. The Homeboy Bakery opened in 1992, after the Los Angeles riots, and Homeboy has since opened a range of businesses across the country.

Boyle wrote the 2010 bestseller "Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion," and has won multiple awards, including the California Peace Prize.

The Ukleja Center was established in 2005 at California State University, Long Beach, to offer training integrating ethics in all facets of the university community and beyond. It aims to provide positive solutions to ethical challenges our society faces, executive director Janey Roeder said in a release.

Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden received Ukleja's inaugural award in 2009, the year before he died at age 99. His grandson, Greg, will present the 2017 award. Boyle then will give a talk, "Lessons from the Field: Kinship as an Intervention.”

The award dinner is open to the public, and a portion of the proceeds will go Homeboy Industries. Tickets are $300 each, with table sponsorships ranging from $3,000 to $10,000.

For reservations or more information, email jane.roeder@csulb.edu or call (562) 985-8600.

—Harry Saltzgaver

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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