Community Build Intervention staff, from left, Leslie Read III, Kenneth Simpkins, Senior VP Leon Gullette, Jiren Stuckey, Trent Groundberry and Robert Sausedo. (Courtesy photo)

Community Build, Inc. celebrated three decades of providing “a culture of care” by paying tribute to community heroes and sheroes at their 30th Anniversary Celebration.  

Wren Brown, Ebony Repertory Theatre co-founder and producing artistic director, was the master of ceremony for the inaugural event which was held at the LAX Sheraton Hotel on Oct. 27.  The evening featured musical performances by Elisa Gomez Taylor, Dennis Flowers, David Holguin and a lively Temptations review by Five Tempting Men.   

Community Build President Robert Sausedo opened the night by acknowledging Community Build co-founders, Brenda Shockley and Congresswoman Maxine Waters. 

Robert Sausedo (Center), Capri Maddox (2nd from Left) and City of Los Angeles Civil + Cuman Rights & Equity Department staff. (Courtesy photo)

“In the aftermath of the 1992 Civil Unrest, Community Build co-founder Brenda Shockley did not look for her community to be rescued, she rolled up her sleeves and got to work,” Sausedo said.   

“With financial support from the grand dame of the 43rd Congressional District and our champion in congress, the honorable Maxine Waters, Brenda was able to secure property, structure programs and provide services to a community in need.  And for the past 30 years, we’ve continued to provide a culture of care for the community.” 

Sausedo also outlined Community Build’s current work.  The Community Response System of South Los Angeles, developed during the pandemic, coalesced the resources of over 30 nonprofits, churches and stakeholders to provide a safety net for South Los Angeles (CRSSLA), and has evolved into a hub for a community services, programs and information, specifically focused on health and education.    

Sausedo and Councilmember Heather Hutt (Courtesy photo)

The creation of social enterprise and health worker programs have provided short and long-term jobs for hundreds for unemployed and underemployed residents.  Community Build’s SAFE passage, Gang Reduction and Youth Develop (GRYD) programs continue to make the streets safer for thousands of  children going to and from school each year.     

The event recognized many of the community’s most notable heroes and sheroes.  Dr. Jerry Abraham, director and chief vaccinologist, Kedren Community Health Center, received the Community Health Campion Award for his leadership in the fight for vaccinations in South Los Angeles.   

Gloria Davis, executive director of the Girls Club of Los Angeles received the Women’s Empowerment Award; Capri Maddox, executive director, City of Los Angeles Civil + Human Rights & Equity Department received the Social Justice & Equity Award; Ambassador Michael Lawson, president/CEO, Los Angeles Urban League, received the Wisdom Partner of the Year Award;  and Jackie Dupont-Walker, president, Ward Economic Development Corporation and L.A. Metro board member received the Community Service/Economic Development Award. 

Sausedo and Councilmember Curren Price ((Courtesy photo)

In addition to recognizing community heroes and sheroes, Community Build staff members were acknowledged for their contributions.  Community Build Senior Vice President Leon Gullette, who has served the community for over 20 years and oversees the organization’s GRYD program, received the Community Peacekeeper Award.  Gullette paid special tribute to his team members, Jiren Stuckey, Kenneth Simpkins, Trent Groundberry, Leslie Read, III and Washensky Wilson with a Special Recognition Award. 

Current and former elected officials offered their congratulations to Community Build for the milestone anniversary and continued service to the community.  Among those were former Councilmember Jan Perry, Councilmember Curren Price (CD 9) and Councilmember Heather Hutt (CD 10).  

Councilmember Hutt recently presided over the unveiling of Barbara Morrison Square on the corner of 43rd Street and Degnan in Leimert Park adjacent to Community Build’s office.  The designation paid tribute to the world-renowned Grammy-nominated jazz and R & B artist who was a legend in the entertainment industry for over 60 years. 

During the event, retired U.S. Postal Service manager Alvetia E. Smith presented Robert Sausedo with a framed edition of a U.S. postage stamp collection entitled, “To form a more perfect union,” to commemorate CBI’s 30th anniversary as well as Sausedo’s birthday which coincided with the event. 

Community Build’s mission is to revitalize low-income communities in South Los Angeles through human capital investment, community economic development, and commercial economic development.  Some of CBI’s signature programs include Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD), Project SAVE, Homeless Outreach, Community Safety Initiative, Community Response System LA (CRSSLA) and Community Health Worker Initiative. 

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