Tattoos on the Heart Book Project by Neve Wilson

Chapter 2 Dis-Grace: This chapter focuses on stories of particular homies who feel unwanted, unworthy, and - as the title suggests - disgraceful. I had a special appreciation for this chapter, because all of us feel this way at one time or another. It's not something limited to gang members or felons. My favorite story from this chapter is that of Speedy. Speedy overcomes his feeling of disgrace through love for Claudia and the family they made togther. It opened his eyes and he used it to build a beautiful life. Let's look at the title of the chapter again. Notice the word "disgrace" is separated by a hyphen to mean, "this grace" (in home language.) That's because despite the way we may feels sometimes, none of us are a disgrace. We just have to find that grace inside of us.

Chapter 4 Water, Oil, Flame: The stories in this chapter have to do with healing. Water, oil, and flame are all symbols of the Sacrament of Baptism, through which our souls are cleansed and our lives being anew as children of God. One particular story from this chapter that really touched me was that of George. The night before George's long-awaited baptism, his older brother Cisco is shot and killed. The old George would have been angry at this horrible event, and sought revenge. But the newly-baptized George takes hold and his grief is pure, resembling the heartbreak of God. George honors the commitment he just made in water, oil, and flame. Imagine how much more loving and gentle and peaceful our world would be if we all devotedly honored that commitment...

Chapter 6 Jurisdiction: "You're in my... jurisdiction." This is what a homie known by the name of Junior said to Father G. This chapter consists of several stories of homies widening their jurisdiction. My faivorite story is that of Flaco and Gato. Flaco and Gato are sworn enemies in rival gangs. When Flaco winds up in the hospital, Gato says to Father G, "Do me a paro, G? You tell Flaco that Gato from ___ gang says, 'Q-vo' and that I hope he gets better." This is a small but great gesture. Flaco overcame his pride for love. We all can work on erasing lines and stereotypes an breaking down barriers only meant to exclude, so we can widen our jurisdictions and make more room for love.

Created By
Neve Wilson

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