tasha williamson*Woodland Hills (CA) – A community leader will be honored by The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) with the 2013 California Peace Prize for her efforts to promote peace and prevent violence. Tasha Williamson, a fierce advocate for peace, provides support and compassion for families in San Diego County who have lost loved ones to gang or gun violence.

“This year’s honoree is a visionary leader who has used limited resources and personal tenacity to create effective responses to violence in her communities,” said Cole Wilbur, interim president and CEO of TCWF.

On October 10, 2013, TCWF will honor Tasha Williamson at its 21st annual California Peace Prize ceremony in San Diego. In recognition of her efforts to prevent violence and promote peace and will receive a cash award of $25,000.

“We know that solutions to violence can’t be answered easily or quickly,” said Julio Marcial, TCWF’s program director for violence prevention. “But this year’s peace prize honorees have told us we can – and we must – begin to answer this public health issue by coming together, by sharing what we’ve learned, and by being clear about what is working and where we need to improve.”

About Tasha Williamson
Tasha Williamson, a fierce advocate for peace, works directly with families who have experienced the devastating loss of loved ones. In 2008, she cofounded the San Diego Compassion Project, a collaboration among advocacy groups, law enforcement and churches. The project has supported more than 80 families and 500 individuals who have survived the trauma associated with homicides, suicides and assaults. Born and raised in South Los Angeles, Williamson grew up in a community plagued with violence and is a survivor of sexual abuse. Inspired by a high school teacher, she learned the importance of both community and personal advocacy.

Williamson is a community outreach consultant for the Urban League of San Diego where she co-created the Block By Block program, which helps educate young people on alternatives to gang involvement and assists their families in accessing social services that she finds are lacking in many southeastern neighborhoods of San Diego. She previously worked as a manager at Project Safeway, a safe passage program for students traveling to and from school, addressing community issues, including combating homelessness, domestic violence and gang involvement.

“To bring peace and end the violence we have to advocate and have compassion for ourselves, for our children, for our communities, and even for strangers,” said Williamson. “Violence, especially gang violence, is preventable.”

About The California Wellness Foundation
The California Wellness Foundation is a private independent foundation created in 1992 with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention. The Foundation prioritizes eight issues for funding: diversity in the health professions, environmental health, healthy aging, mental health, teenage pregnancy prevention, violence prevention, women’s health, and work and health. It also responds to timely issues and special projects outside the funding priorities.

Since its founding in 1992, TCWF has awarded 6,919 grants totaling more than $852 million. Please visit TCWF’s website at CalWellness.org for more information.

Below, The California Wellness Foundation 2013 California Peace Prize honoree, Tasha Williamson, depicts her personal experience with losing someone in the community. Williamson is a fierce advocate for peace and cofounded the San Diego Compassion Project that provides support for families in San Diego County who have lost loved ones to gang or gun violence. She has also worked with Project Safeway and San Diego Urban League.

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Sidra Bing
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