In her second official visit to Los Angeles as first lady, Dr. Jill Biden made a brief stop at Homegirl Cafe and Homeboy Industries on Friday, September 16. While touring the premises, she also spoke with individuals who participated in the bakery’s rehabilitation and re-entry program.
Homeboy Industries provides support, training, and resources for former gang members and those who were previously incarcerated. The bakery and catering company was founded in 1992 by Father Greg Boyle and supplies prepared food — including a popular cinnamon coffee cake — to restaurants throughout Los Angeles. The organization also provides home-delivered meals for those in need and sells goods at Homeboy Farmers Markets, Homeboy Diner, and Homegirl Catering.
Dr. Biden’s visit started with a facilities tour, then a discussion with former participants, soon-to-be UCLA graduate liaison to the board of directors for Homeboy Industries Johanna Carbajal, and Eugene Walker, the organization’s manager for tattoo removal. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti and supervisor Hilda Solis also joined the roundtable.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Homeboy Industries is 90 percent privately funded, but Homeboy Industries received a $2 million growth opportunity grant from the U.S. Department of Labor in June, showing the Bidens’ support for Homeboy Industries’ workforce efforts.
The president and first lady last visited Los Angeles in June 2021 for the ninth Summit of the Americas. During a food event at the summit, multiple restaurants represented the city, including Canoga Park’s Chilenazo, Cecilia’s Caribbean Cuisine in Pico-Union, and Beverlywood’s Empanada Factory. During the same visit, Dr. Biden also delivered the keynote address at Los Angeles City College’s commencement ceremony.