Ben is a native of San Francisco, spiritual leader and 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 was an instrumental leader of relaunching Oakland’s first successful iteration of Operation Ceasefire, a data-driven, violence reductionstrategy, contributing heavily to a 50% reduction in homicides over five years.
Ben serves as a national leader around police/community trust-building and gun violence prevention work including a background of training over 100 law enforcement departments & executives. Ben joined PICO California, the largest grassroots community organization in the state, representing 450,000 people across 73 cities, in 2015 and serves as the Co-Director. Ben founded the Trust Through Reform project, a peacemaking initiative to address the community-police relationship, and serves as the Co-Chair of California’s Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board focusing on ending racial profiling in California. Ben was featured in the Sundance Film Festival Award winning film, THE FORCE, focusing on his peacemaking work. Ben is also an experienced trainer around equity, diversity and inclusion; working with companies and values based organizations across the country.
Ben and his wife Gynelle have been married for 18 years and have 3 amazing daughters. They reside in Oakland, CA.