Tender firmness in the service of radical kinship: My experience at the Global Homeboy Network Gathering

I had a wonderful time in Los Angeles at the Global Homeboy Network Gathering on August 11-14. It’s an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life, and an event I’d definitely like to go to again. There’s so much I could say that anything I write about the Gathering will be woefully inadequate. But I can at least touch on the highlights. Here goes…

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At the Global Homeboy Network Gathering

I’m having a great time at the Global Homeboy Network Gathering! The presentations ended this afternoon, and the whole experience was wonderful. Tomorrow we’ll be taking a tour of the Homeboy headquarters, after which I’ll order something delicious from the “waitresses with attitude” at the Homegirl Cafe.

I’ll have much more to say later, but for now I’ll just share a selfie of me and the man himself, Father Greg Boyle, better known as “G-Dog” or just “G.” We talked only very briefly since there were so many people who wanted to see him, but he’s just as kind and funny in person as he is on all those YouTube videos I’ve seen. It was a real joy to meet him! More to come.

Off to the Global Homeboy Network Gathering!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m going to be attending the Global Homeboy Network Gathering in Los Angeles on August 11-13. (For more information about the Global Homeboy Network of Homeboy Industries, read the previous post here.) Well, I’m off tomorrow morning! I’m hoping that I’ll have time to squeeze in an update blog post while I’m there, but if not, I’ll tell you all about it when I get back. Really looking forward to it!

“Scene from a zombie apocalypse”: the struggles of an anonymous Border Patrol agent

Much has been said and written about the horrible conditions in the Border Patrol detention centers on the southern US border. But we’ve heard little about what BP agents themselves think of all this, in part because they risk their jobs if they speak to the press. For this reason, I appreciated an article I recently read that offers a rare glimpse of an anonymous agent who is clearly struggling to hold onto his humanity in the midst of an inhuman situation.

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In a little too deep in Juárez

I know I’ve been beating that swimming metaphor to death, but I couldn’t resist. 🙂 Unfortunately, I have some somewhat sad news to report, though I think in the long run everything will work out for the best. The news is that, in spite of my best efforts and the help of so many wonderful people, it turned out that my job as co-coordinator of the Construyendo Sueños project was a bit too much for me. Therefore, for the good of the project and of everyone involved, including myself, I decided to resign.

That, however, isn’t necessarily the end. I still believe deeply in the project and I’ve been a valued member of the team, so we’re going to try to create a new job that is more suited to my skill set. It will likely involve writing, translating, and public speaking. We want to take advantage of the one characteristic that sets me apart from all of my co-workers: I’m an American whose native language is English.

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Scott Warren to be retried in November

Sadly, my friend and colleague Scott Warren is not out of the woods yet. In June, his trial for giving humanitarian aid to two undocumented immigrants ended in a hung jury and therefore a mistrial. But yesterday (July 2) federal prosecutors announced that though they were dropping the conspiracy charge against him, they would retry him on two counts of harboring undocumented immigrants. The new trial is set to begin on November 12. If convicted, Warren could spend up to ten years in prison.

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Week 2 in Juárez: Learning to swim

I just finished my second week in Ciudad Juárez. I’m “swimming” a lot better than I did the first week, thanks in part to a wonderfully supportive team that has done everything to make my transition into this new job easier. And I have to say, the “sink or swim” approach has done wonders for my Spanish. I’ve lived in Mexico for almost eight years, but there’s nothing like being forced to use Spanish almost 24/7 to engrave it more thoroughly into my being. (Below is a picture of young men from a juvenile detention center called CERSAI. More on that below.)

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Good news (mostly): hung jury/mistrial in Scott Warren case

On Tuesday came (mostly) good news on the legal front: The felony trial of Scott Warren, the man who trained and led our volunteer team during my time with No More Deaths in January 2018, ended in a hung jury, which makes it a mistrial. Eight jurors voted to acquit and four voted to convict, in a case where the verdict must be unanimous.

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