FOUNDER, TRUST THROUGH REFORM INITIATIVE
Ben is a native of San Francisco and a longtime activist for peace and justice in the Bay Area. In 2008, he relocated his family to a difficult neighborhood in Oakland called the “Kill Zone” to understand and respond to the epidemic of gun violence, firsthand. During this tenure, he served as Executive Director of Cityteam, a non-profit providing rescue, recovery, medical, financial and educational opportunities to hurting and homeless people in Oakland for 7 years. In 2012, Ben was an instrumental component of relaunching Oakland’s first successful iteration of Operation Ceasefire, a data-driven, communication strategy to reduce gun violence. This strategy has contributed heavily to a near 50% reduction in homicides over the last five years.
Ben founded the Empower Initiative in 2014 to provide faith-based technical assistance concerning public safety and training for religious community members around the intersection of race and faith. Over the last 3 years, he has contributed to training over 100 police departments and law enforcement executives, while in partnership with California’s Department of Justice. Ben is the Co-Chair of California’s Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board focusing on the implantation of Assembly Bill 953, signed in 2015 by Governor Jerry Brown.
Ben currently serves as Co-Director of PICO California, the largest grassroots community organization in the state, with a focus on formation and leading Trust through Reform, a statewide initiative in 14 cities, to address the community-police relationship.
Ben has received many honors including the FRED Scholars Award, The Oakland Police Foundation's Neighborhood Champion Award, ASIS Community Policing Award and Local Hero Commendation by Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Assemblymember Rob Bonta.
Ben & his wife Gynelle have been married for 18 years and have 3 beautiful daughters. They reside in Oakland, CA.