Fighting Crime Together

A Lynwood woman who founded a gang and crime prevention program received an award Saturday from the California Wellness Foundation, including a $25,000 grant to continue her work.

Lorna Hawkins, who lost two sons to shootings, is one of three people awarded grants by the foundation, a year-old organization that is providing $30 million in crime-prevention programs throughout the state. The other winners of the California Violence Prevention Award are Bong Hwan Kim, executive director of the Korean Youth Community Center in Los Angeles, and San Francisco Bay Area rapper Norman Berry. Foundation President Howard Kahn said the award is designed to encourage Californians to "think of violence as a preventable public health issue in which one person can really make a difference."

Hawkins founded Drive-by Agony five years ago after her son, Joe, was killed in a street shooting. Another son, Gerald, was killed in 1992.

Her agency, which includes other relatives of victims of violent crime, works to assist victims and tries to convince kids to stay out of gangs. She has also received awards from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Drive-by Agony organizes an annual peace march in downtown Los Angeles. The April march was sparsely attended, but Hawkins is hoping for a big turnout at the next one, especially since a number of women's groups are working to rally members to the event.

Bong Hwan Kim was honored for his efforts to bring together Korean and African-Americans in Southern California, according to foundation officials. He founded the Black Korean Alliance and is a member of the Liquor Store Conversion Task Force that was formed after the riots.

Berry, who uses the stage name Chill E.B., is a Concord rapper whose songs advocate peace and racial understanding. He also helped establish a Violence Prevention Month in the Richmond Unified School District and organized Friday Night Live alcohol-free parties for teen-agers in Contra Costa County.

The awards were presented Saturday night during a banquet at the Sheraton Hotel near the Los Angeles Airport.