Long Beach will honor three with MLK Peace Maker Awards during Peace Week

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awardsThree award recipients will receive the Long Beach Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Maker Award at next week’s council meeting on January 12. The awards coincide with Peace Week —a week-long celebration leading up to the 22nd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Peace & Unity Parade Celebration on January 16.

The candidates have been selected for their history of volunteer or community work in areas of peace making, nonviolence, and/or community building. This year, MLK Peace Maker Award recipients are:

  • Mr. Walter Neil of British Petroleum
  • Pastor Wayne Chaney Jr., of Antioch Church Long Beach
  • the PeaceBuilders Program, founded by Michelle Molina

“The Peace Maker Award acknowledges the spirit in which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrated compassionate, non-violent strategies toward peace and community building, ideals we value in the City of Long Beach”, said Sixth District Councilman Dee Andrews.

Walter Neil

Recipient Mr. Walter Neil is the Public and Government Affairs Director for British Petroleum. He has over 30 years of experience in the industry, having begun his career as an operator on a drilling rig in 1978. Coming to BP with the ARCO acquisition, Walter brought a wide range of experience to the table, having held positions in operations, safety, training, human resources, and government and community affairs. Mr. Neil, and British Petroleum, has sponsored numerous peace and community building events throughout the City of Long Beach for many years, including the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace & Unity Parade and Celebration.

Paste Wayne Chaney, Jr

Martin Luther Kinger Peace Maker award honoree Pastor Wayne Chaney, Jr. is the inspiring pastor of Antioch Church of Long Beach. His defining characteristics are wisdom, integrity, and faith. His messages are described as warm and intimate, sprinkled with humor yet drenched with passion and power. His unique blend of inspired creativity, God breathed insight, along with what he describes as “the presence of the Lord” creates an atmosphere that leaves individuals in attendance forever changed.

Pastor Chaney’s commitment and involvement in ministry reaches far beyond Antioch and the local community. Throughout the country he has ministered to various congregations, denominations, and organizations and has extended his ministry worldwide, touching the lives of individuals in countries such as Indonesia, New Zealand, England, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Malaysia, Singapore and Mexico.

He formerly served as President of the California National African American Network, SBC and Board Member of the National African American Network, SBC, being the youngest person to serve in both capacities. He currently serves on the Executive Board of the California Southern Baptist Convention. Pastor Chaney serves on the Executive Board of Global Tribe International, whose mission is to rescue those in physical and spiritual poverty, reach communities with the gospel and recruit and empower young leaders. He has recently been elected as the President of the Long Beach Ministerial Alliance, where he provides leadership to pastors, community organizations, and local governmental agencies.

Michelle Molina

The third recipient to receive this award is Michelle Molina, president of the PeaceBuilders Program, a violence prevention youth program that works with many schools in the Long Beach Unified School District.

PeaceBuilders is a comprehensive program launched in organizations that shifts the entire climate to a peaceful, productive and safe place for children, parents, staff and faculty. Created for the young child, pre-teen and teen, PeaceBuilders addresses risk factors, which predict violence, bullying and drug and tobacco use. Participation in PeaceBuilders reduces aggression, promotes language development, teaches pro-social skills, increases parenting skills, creates inclusion for special needs children and fosters safer communities. PeaceBuilders is managed by PeacePartners, Inc., owned and operated by John and Michelle Molina, based in Long Beach, California.

With more than a decade of experience working with at-risk youth in public education and administration, Michelle Molina has been a PeaceBuilder for more than ten years and knows the intricacies of this research-validated program.

Last years Peace Maker award recipients included Victor Otiniano of Union Bank, Tracy Colunga, and the Boys & Girls Club of Long Beach.

The Awards will be presented at the next Long Beach City Council meeting, Tuesday, January 12 at 4:00 p.m., in the Long Beach City Council Chambers, 333 West Ocean Boulevard.

The Martin Luther King, Jr Peace Maker Awards were announced by Sixth District Councilman Dee Andrews, Long Beach Human Dignity Program and the Long Beach Weed & Seed Program. For more information contact the Office of Sixth District Councilman Dee Andrew (562) 570-6816.

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