By Zamná Ávila, Assistant Editor
Aquarium of the Pacific Trustee, Dr. Martha Molina-Bernadett, presented Homeboy Industries with an award on March 14. Jose Osuna is the director of employment services at Homeboy Industries and a Long Beach resident. He accepted the award on behalf of the organization.
Aztec dancers greeted an audience of about 200 people — mostly Latino families — March 14, at the annual Noche de Estrellas (Night of Stars inSpanish) that the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach organizes.
Noche de Estrellas is a bilingual (English and Spanish) evening filled with environmental educational opportunities for all ages, Latino music bands, disc jockeys, arts and crafts, food and drinks, and the experience of visiting the Aquarium and its animals at night. This event began in 2010. Its first award recipient was actor and activist Edward James Olmos.
This year the aquarium honored Homeboy Industries, an organization serving high-risk, recently incarcerated and former gang members, who are trying to change their lives in Los Angeles. Rev. Gregory Boyle founded Homeboy Industries in 1988, using as its slogan, “Jobs Not Jails.” The nonprofit offers tattoo removal, job training, employment, legal services, case management, and mental health and substance abuse services.
“Homeboys Industries does so much for so many and they’ve done it for so long that I believe it’s always a good time to honor them,” said Dr. Martha Molina Bernadett, an Aquarium of the Pacific trustee. “This is an especially important time as Latinos are such an important fabric of Southern California and Father Boyle’s work is so lasting.” (more…)