Recognizing Warriors 4 Peace
The love Los Angeles natives have for their region can only be compared to how much they are willing to sacrifice for their community. Residents have lived through race wars, gang wars, disenfranchisement of Black and Brown communities, food deserts, and other obstacles. But most have not swayed and instead of leaving the community, they have rallied and will rally the residents to support one another. Community Warriors 4 Peace is an example of what happens when a group of people have a common goal of helping out the community.
Community Warriors 4 Peace is a community-based organization that serves Los Angeles, particularly in the Northeast, which includes Atwater Village, Glassell Park, and Eagle Rock, among other places in the area. The organization was created to produce the necessary resources, help, guidance, and proper violence intervention in the community.
Tina Padilla, executive director of Community Warriors 4 Peace, created the organization to change the community she grew up in. “I grew up in Glassell Park, and it was a heavily gang-infested area, which not only did I have to notice it outside my home, it was also influenced inside my home as my dad was a gang member and had drug problems, while my mom suffered from some form of a mental illness from her upbringing in the same neighborhood, which made my life challenged,” Padilla said as she talked about some of the challenges she experienced growing up and the impact it had on her outlook of life. “I thought everybody’s parents were gang members because my parents were, and you grow up around the same people. so you couldn’t tell the difference between a civilian and a gang member.”
Padilla also detailed how seeing police and firefighters every day while outside always made her assume that she would be coming home to see her dad resuscitated because he overdosed or was arrested by the cops for committing a crime. While she grew up in trauma, Padilla still saw the good in her community and wanted to give back in the best way possible, not only to uplift but to help the youth avoid some of the situations she had to navigate. “I saw that there was a need for role models and mentors in my community because I didn’t have that growing up, and I wanted to help the ones that don’t have a voice or feel like their situation is inconceivable.”
Community Warriors 4 Peace works with the LA County Department of Public Health through the Community Health Worker Outreach Initiative (CHWOI), linking community members with resources for safety and well-being. This partnership has led to programs that help the organization better assist its community. Gang Reduction & Youth Development (GRYD) is a program that provides help to youth and families with family case management, mentoring, life skills workshops, job training/preparation, violence interruption, crisis response, rumor control & gender-specific services.
CHWOI has helped the organization create a cleaning program that includes monthly community clean-ups, COVID-19 information and testing opportunities, and housing. They also host food drives two Wednesdays out of the month and a bevy of other community events to uplift spirits. The organization is looking for volunteers as they are a small staff. Learn more by visiting their website at www.cw4peace.org.