At our 2016 Angel of Peace Awards Gala, we celebrated the inspiring leadership of Officer Stinson Brown, Larry Cohen of Prevention Institute and Dr. Peter Long of Blue Shield of California Foundation. We honored Andy Vasquez, winner of the Tony Borbon Youth Scholarship Video Contest, and screened her video depicting the impact of gun violence and the need to prevent it. You can watch the video here.
The event was beautiful, and the mood festive. We had exciting, moving performances by the L.A. Inner City Mass Choir and Jazz Off the Boat + 2. With over 180 attendees, it was such a treat to see, connect, and reconnect with everyone. From previous honorees, to philanthropists, violence prevention advocates, faith leaders, and change makers, it was indeed a gathering of family.
Thank you for showing up in your work, and in your efforts to make Los Angeles a safer, healthier community for everyone. Thanks to you, we are making change. Thanks to you, we continue to demonstrate the power of love.
About the Angel of Peace Awards
The Angel of Peace Awards is the VPC’s annual event in which we recognize individuals, organizations, businesses and media partners for their leadership in promoting a prevention-based approach to reducing violence, and promoting social equity.
Officer Stinson Brown
Founder, Brother II Brother
Stinson Brown was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan, where he attended the same high school as Magic Johnson. After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles with $240 and a dream of becoming either a lawyer or a police officer. Today, he is a highly-decorated, veteran lawman and a renowned drill instructor at the LAPD. Mr. Brown began his career with the Los Angeles Police Department and has worked some of L.A.’s toughest neighborhoods, including the Central Division, the Southeast Division and the Nickerson Gardens Housing Development. One day, during a trip through Nickerson Gardens, he stopped to give some baseball cards to a couple of young boys. One reached into the black and white patrol car, hugged the officer and said “I love you.” That innocent embrace left an indelible impression on Officer Brown. In 2007, he founded Brother II Brother. He says he was simply tired of watching young boys die in his arms. His hope is that by leading through love, we can save some of the young lives cut short by violence. In a cruel twist of faith, his only son would later fall victim to the very violence he fights to stop. On July 17, 2009, Stinson Ameer Brown was gunned down by a teenager.
“Any father would have felt like I felt at that time to say: ‘Somebody is going to have to pay.’” But instead, he turned his grief to good – helping others change their lives to achieve their hopes and dreams with his non-profit organization – Brother II Brother.
“I’ve been given a gift to be able to reach multitudes of young men of different ethnic backgrounds,” Brown added.
His pain of losing his only son never goes away. But he gets strength from the joy he receives by being a mentor and a father figure to a lot of other young men.
“I simply want to be remembered as a man who cared about all people, and a man who gave up selfishly to other young men in spite of the fact that his own son was taken from him at the prime of his life,” Brown said.
Founder & Executive Director, Prevention Institute
Larry Cohen, founder and Executive Director of Prevention Institute, has been an advocate for public health, social justice, and prevention since 1972. Larry established Prevention Institute in 1997 as a national non-profit center dedicated to improving community health and well-being by building momentum for effective primary prevention.
Larry helped to define violence as a preventable public health issue. His publication Shifting the Focus is a California roadmap for related inter-sectoral government collaboration. Typifying Larry’s cross-disciplinary prevention breakthroughs, his research and practice have captured the intersection of violence and chronic disease by identifying how violence negatively impacts healthy eating and active living environments. His work on gender-related violence emphasizes the importance of changing norms to reshape social environments that tolerate such violence. Larry currently heads UNITY (Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth through Violence Prevention), a national initiative designed to strengthen and support the 45 largest cities in the United States to more effectively prevent violence. Larry developed one of the first courses in the country on preventing violence for UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. He has authored several seminal texts, including A Public Health Approach to the Violence Epidemic in the United States, and Poised for Prevention: Advancing Promising Approaches to Primary Prevention of Intimate Partner Violence.
Larry has received numerous awards, including the Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section Public Service Award from the American Public Health Association, the Secretary’s Award for Health Promotion from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and recognition from the American Cancer Society and the Society for Public Health Educators. He received his MSW from SUNY Stony Brook.
Peter Long, Ph.D.
President & C.E.O., Blue Shield of California Foundation
Peter Long, Ph.D., is the president and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation. He leads the Foundation in its mission to improve the lives of all Californians, particularly the underserved, by making health care accessible, effective, and affordable, and by ending domestic violence. In 2013 alone, the Foundation provided $34 million to 326 organizations across California, making it one of the state’s largest grantmaking institutions.
Prior to joining Blue Shield of California Foundation, Dr. Long served in leadership roles at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and The California Endowment. He has extensive experience working on health policy issues at the state, national, and global levels, and has written numerous papers on the topic.
Outside of his role as CEO, Dr. Long is actively involved in multiple healthcare and professional organizations, serving on the Board of Directors for Grantmakers in Health and the Governance Board at the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review. He was one of the lead organizers of the Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge, which raised more than $170 million for veterans and military families, the co-chair of the National Advisory Board of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Caring for Military Families initiative, and is an advisor to The Aspen Institute’s Veterans Initiative. In addition, Dr. Long is a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on Value and Science-Driven Health Care as well as the Too Small to Fail Leadership Council, a joint initiative of Next Generation and the Clinton Foundation. He is a member of the Board of Directors at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and practices as an adjunct professor at the University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health.
Dr. Long received a bachelor of arts degree from Harvard University; a master’s in health policy from The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health; and his doctorate in health services from the University of California, Los Angeles. He currently lives in Orange County with his wife and three children.
Cerritos High School
Andy Vasquez is a student at Cerritos High School. She produced the short film, “Possibilities,” which profiles a young man with a promising future whose life is tragically cut short by gun violence. She states, “The increase in gun violence has affected me not only in the way i live my life, but others lives as well. As I’ve volunteered to help youth in areas where gun violence is high, I see its effects. Many kids were scared to go home, a place that should be safe, but they can’t even go outside to play because they’re a target. Instead of lullabies at night they hear gunshots and screams. This shouldn’t be a problem for anyone, especially kids.”
2016 Honorary Committee
Mayor Eric Garcetti—Honorary Chair
Supervisor Mike Antonovich
Councilman Bob Blumenfield
Councilman Mike Bonin
Rev. Gregory J. Boyle, S.J.
Councilman Joe Buscaino
Congressman Tony Cárdenas
Councilman Gil Cedillo
City Attorney Mike Feuer
Councilman Felipe Fuentes
Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson
Councilman José Huizar
Councilman Paul Krekorian
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl
Councilwoman Nury Martinez
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell
Councilman Curren D. Price, Jr.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas
Dr. Robert Ross
Councilman David Ryu
Council President Herb Wesson
Angel Of Peace Awards Co-Founders
Founder, Peace Angels Project
Billie Weiss, MPH
Founder, Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles
Donors & Supporters
The Max Factor Family Foundation
Blue Shield of California
The California Wellness Foundation
Jerry & Lorraine Factor
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas
The California Endowment
Johnny Carson Foundation
Supervisor Hilda L. Solis
Tony Borbon Youth Scholarship
Charlie & Mary Leigh Blek
Susan Sorenson, PhD
Violence Policy Center
Angel of Peace Award Honorees (1995 to 2015) include:
Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J., Homeboy Industries
Sarah Brady – Brady Campaign
California Wellness Foundation, Board of Directors
Youth of the Community Wellness Partnership – Pomona
Lorranie & Jerry Factor
Youth of Inner City Struggle
Charlotte A. Jordan
Elaine Leader, Ph.D., Youth of Teen Line
Mary Leigh & Charles Black, Million Mom March Los Angeles
Teens on Target
Attorney General Daniel Lungren
Linda Otto & Leslie Lipton
Michael Moore & Jim Czarnecki, Bowling for Columbine
Deborah Prothrow-Stith, MD
Peggie Reyna, Project Direct, Deaf and Disabled Services, LACAAW
Ruth Rich, Ed.D.
State Assemblyman Mark Ridley-Thomas & Avis Ridley-Thomas
William “Blinky” Rodriguez, Communities In Schools
Stephen Soboroff, Playa Vista
School on Wheels
State Senator Jack Scott
South Central Youth Empowerment Through Action – Community Coalition
Barbara Staggers, M.D.
Stephen Teret, J.D., M.P.H.
Connie Watson, People Who Care Youth Center
Wells Fargo Bank
Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
Saundrea Young, Loved Ones of Homicide Victims
Connie Rice, Advancement Project
Billie Weiss, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, VPC Founder
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Division of Violence Prevention
Judge Michael Nash, Los Angeles County Juvenile Court
Youth Justice Coalition
Patty Giggans, Peace Over Violence
ABC Family’s The Fosters
Ann Reiss Lane, Women Against Gun Violence
Southern California Ceasefire Committee