The California Wellness Foundation is proud to present its 2005 California Peace Prize honorees. Each will each receive a cash award of $25,000 as an acknowledgement of their commitment to prevent violence and promote peace in their communities.
Otilio “O.T.” Quintero is the assistant director of Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos (SCBU). Established in 1993, SCBU works to prevent violence against youth by providing educational and leadership programs and economic-development training. Quintero has helped build the organizational and financial capacity of SCBU, assisted in developing effective training programs (including BU Productions, a highly successful silkscreened T-shirt business) and ensured SCBU’s legacy by facilitating the purchase of a building and two-acre site.
For 17 years, Maria Velasquez has worked to reduce domestic violence in rural communities. Based in Shingletown, Calif., she is the violence prevention trainer and outreach worker for Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum, a classroom-based social skills program that addresses the connection between bullying behavior in childhood and battering behavior in adulthood. True North Inc. runs the program in Shasta County.
Sayre Weaver has worked tirelessly over the past decade to reduce gun violence through legislation and litigation. She is now one of California’s foremost legal authorities on firearm regulation by local agencies. In 1996, Weaver helped the City of West Hollywood draft and defend its ordinance prohibiting “junk gun” sales. Weaver successfully defended the power of California’s cities and counties to regulate firearms in two lawsuits, California Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. City of West Hollywood (1998) and Nordyke v. King (2002), in which Weaver protected Alameda County’s ordinance banning gun possession on county property against a gun show operator’s challenge.