Street solutions: G-Dog tells the story of American Jesuit priest Greg Doyle who runs one of the most successful gang intervention and rehab programmes in the US. The film shows tomorrow at Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute at 8:30pm. *Photo supplied
Street solutions: G-Dog tells the story of American Jesuit priest Greg Doyle who runs one of the most successful gang intervention and rehab programmes in the US. The film shows tomorrow at Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute at 8:30pm. *Photo supplied

Director: Freida Lee Mock
Showing: March 14 at 8:30pm at BUEI

 

G-Dog sits in his chair, welcoming people into his office Godfather-style. ‘Whadup G-Dog, I love you man,” says one heavily-tattooed Latino, with gushing affection.

But G-Dog is no gang-land drug lord, no violent ruler of the streets. In fact, he’s the very anti-thesis of that. G-Dog is an American Jesuit priest, real name Greg Doyle, and he runs the most successful gang intervention and rehab programme in the US. His mantra is simple — nothing stops a bullet like a job.

Based in LA, Homeboy Industries welcomes former gang members who want to change. When no-one else will take them, It offers job training, anger management, fatherhood training, tattoo removal and drug addiction counselling. Most of all, G-Dog’s empire offers the one thing the people who queue up every day crave the most — hope. There is no judgement at the door, but you must be serious about wanting to leave the streets behind. Convince Father Doyle your motives are pure and you’ll be offered a job on the spot. That might be in the Homegirl Café or helping make clothing merchandise. It truly is a marvellous set-up and the film shows movingly how it has turned around people’s lives.

Of course, to modern-day Bermuda, the existence of such a place is hugely relevant. While you can’t compare this island with the metropolis that is LA, the reasons for joining gangs laid out in this documentary are the same — the lack of hope and the need for acceptance.

Revealing

The current Government would do well to watch this revealing piece of work for inspiration on how to counter the gang culture that is afflicting their people. Finding our own G-Dog may be tough — although not impossible — but getting to know the personalities behind the troubled young men and women is surely the first step.

It’s not all good news at Homeboy Industries though, and this film charts a year in which money problems forces 300 layoffs. The team G-Dog has around him are strong, however. Some are reformed gangsters themselves and the spirit of hope and redemption they have engendered is clearly stronger than any recession.

For all the successes Homeboy Industries has inspired, it is all about, and exists, because of one man — G-Dog. At times it seems he really is an angel — albeit one adept at numerous different gangster handshakes and who refers to his subjects naturally as his ‘homies’. The film details — perhaps not indepth enough — Doyle’s background and how he’d venture into the projects seeking out gangs even when the police warned him otherwise. The result is a level of trust and respect rarely seen in any walk of life, let alone between ex-vicious gangsters to a Priest. The cops now follow Father Doyle’s lead.

A witty orator who sees good in those society has written off, G-Dog restores your belief in divine intervention. His methods, above everything else, work. Premier Cannonier, if you have not seen this life-affirming film, I’m sure Bermuda Docs can reserve you a seat.