Founders Award Recipient 

Reggie Jones Sawyer

Serving as the voice of the people of California’s 59th District in the State Assembly, Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. was elected to the State Legislature in November 2012 and re-elected in 2016. The district he represents encompasses a wide-range of diverse, culturally rich and dynamic communities. It lies entirely within Los Angeles County and includes the neighborhoods of South Los Angeles, Florence-Firestone, Walnut Park, and a portion of Huntington Park.

As the people’s voice for the 59th District in the State Capitol, Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer has worked hard to put local neighborhoods first and to deliver results for his constituents. He’s played a key role in California’s economic recovery, helped invest more in local neighborhood schools while making higher education more affordable and accessible, advanced job creation policies, pushed for protections for immigrants – like driver’s licenses for individuals who pass all required exams and tests as well as healthcare for immigrant children- advocated for smart environmental protections that promote clean energy and green jobs, supported more safeguards for working families and their rights, and he’s spearheaded forward-thinking policies that both promote public safety but also enhance justice in our criminal justice system to make it more fair and transparent for all communities.

Significantly, Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer has authored or co-authored legislation that has directly benefited all residents in the 59th District and the state overall. Legislation such as: AB 672 that provides re-entry assistance – like housing and job training – for persons that have been wrongfully convicted and consequently released from state prison; AB 266 that provides proper regulatory oversight of the cultivation, manufacture, transportation, storage distribution and sale of medical marijuana; and AB1012 that prohibits school districts from assigning any student to a course period without educational content, a.k.a., Fake Classes bills.

In the Legislature, Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer is Chair of the Public Safety Committee and serves on the following standing committees: Government Organization Committee, Budget Committee, Budget Sub 5 Public Safety Committee, and the Agriculture Committee. He is Chair of the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color

The father of two sons, Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer holds his responsibility as Chair of the Status of Boys and Men of Color dear to his heart. Consequently, he has held Legislative Hearings, community forums and consulted with experts to guide him in writing laws, implementing programs, and forming alliances to address the hurdles faced by this population.

Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer recognized the devastation the School-to-Prison-Pipeline posed for underserved communities like those in his district, which has high incarceration rates for African Americans and Latinos in particular. That is why as Chair of the Public Safety subcommittee, he led the way to secure nearly $100 million for recidivism reduction grants. For the first time since the great recession, millions of dollars in grants were made available to service providers to help turn-around the lives of the formally incarcerated so that they could become productive residents in their communities. His subcommittee also has the enormous responsibility of overseeing the entire budget for the state’s court system. Partnering with the Chief Justice and working with judges throughout the state, he helped to restored over $300 million to the court system after a decade of devastating budget cuts.

Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer has the distinction of being elected to serve as Chair the California Legislative Black Caucus, which has a historical number of twelve members. Under his leadership, the caucus has expanded its annual programs, increased the number of college scholarship and improved state funding for programs and institutions like the California African American Museum (CAAM) and the Mervyn Dymally Political Institute at California State University Dominguez Hills.

Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer’s history of public service includes serving as Director of Asset Management for the City of Los Angeles, Assistant Deputy Mayor for the City of Los Angeles, Chair of the Los Angeles County Small Business Commission, Vice President of SEIU’s (Local 721) Los Angeles Professional Managers Association, and statewide Secretary of the California Democratic Party.

While working for the City of Los Angeles, Jones-Sawyer transformed the city’s complicated and complex permit development bureaucratic system into a more “customer-friendly” agency that expedited the processing of many huge developments, including the building of the Magic Johnson Theater (now the Rave in Baldwin Hills) and the Staples Center Arena.

The Jones-Sawyer family members were early pioneers in the civil rights movement. His uncle, Jefferson Thomas, was one of the “Little Rock Nine” high school students. These brave students faced violent mobs in their fight to integrate an all-white high school in 1957; one of the most important and documented civil rights events in our nation’s history.

Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and has been an active member of the Alumni Association and past President of the Black Alumni Association; he also completed the prestigious Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government’s Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government.

Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer also served as Chair of the Baldwin Hills Conservancy, past President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration, as State Secretary for the California Democratic Party, and President of New Frontier Democratic Club. He is the father of three children: Lauren, Reginald Jr. and Evan.

 

Boards Of Directors Award Recipient 

Joseph “Joe” Kelly

Joseph (Joe) Kelly, Jr. is a proud husband and father of four. He and his wife, Tiffany, have been married for three years. He has two beautiful daughters from his first marriage: Brandi Jo (21) & Kirkland (17). While his wife has two wonderful children from a previous marriage as well, Andraya (25) and Kevin (20). Joe attended the University of Washington on a football scholarship where he achieved 1985 Husky team MVP, Senior Co-Captain, 1st team All Pac 10, all American, and was eventually voted to the University of Washington’s All-Century team. He received his B.A. in Criminal Justice from the University of Washington in 1986. Recently, he and his 1985 Orange Bowl teammates were inducted into the Husky’s Hall of Fame.  Joe also holds a place in the Husky Legend Center, paying tribute to his individual success in football at the University of Washington.

Upon graduating from college, Joe was drafted in the first round (11th overall) of the 1986 National Football League (NFL) Draft to the Cincinnati Bengals, and subsequently played in the NFL for eleven consecutive years before retiring in 1997.

Joe is a member of the NFL Alumni Association; a charity that is composed of NFL players and associate members who work voluntarily to raise funds for youth-oriented causes and engage in hands-on service to foster the development of “youth through sports and sports through youth.”

In addition, Joe is the owner of K.E.L.L.Y. Youth Services, Inc. (KYS), established in 1998 as an Ohio 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation operating in Hamilton County, Ohio. Joe and his wife operate KYS, specializing in group home and independent living programs.

Since starting his career in social services, Joe was named “Who’s Who of America”, received the Joe Nuxhall “Award for Kid Involvement”, as well as a ProKids “Special Friend” award recipient for his service to children of the community. Joe has mentored many youth in the development of their interpersonal skills and has volunteered at the King County Youth Detention Center in Seattle, Washington. He has been the guest speaker on many occasions throughout the greater Cincinnati area. Joe is currently working to expand his community service to adults (KELLY Adult Services) working with homeless, non-violent offenders. For more information about Joe and his endeavors, visit www.kellyyouthservices.com.

Special Award Recipient

Glynn Turman

2008 EMMY® Award winner Glynn Turman started his career at the tender age of 12 in the legendary Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun with Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee. Glynn has starred in three August Wilson plays, most recently Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom directed by Phylicia Rashad and in 2015 he co-starred in Eugene O’Neil’s A Moon for the Misbegotten opposite Audra McDonald in Williamstown.  He has performed in such plays Athol Fugard’s My Children, My Africa, Ceremonies in Dark Old Men, Ron Milner’s What the Wine Sellers Buy, Eyes of the American & his own autobiography one-man show Movin’ Man.

In 2008 Turman scored his first Emmy win as Outstanding Guest Actor for the HBO series “In Treatment.”  He’s won three NAACP Image Awards and a NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award for Theatre, the 2011 National Black Theater Festival’s ‘Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award’, the 2010 Pan African Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2013 & 2010 LA Stage Ovation Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor for two other August Wilson plays, “Joe Turner’s Come & Gone” & “Two Trains Running”, a Los Angeles Critics Award nomination, a Dramalogue Award and multiple NAACP Image Award nominations including one in 2015 for his portrayal of Jeremiah Kaan on the Showtime hit series “House of Lies”. 

Glynn and his wife Jo-An are co-founders of a non-profit foundation and operate a free western style camp program, “Camp Gid D Up”, for inner-city and at-risk youth since 1992. Attending youth camps as a kid in NY saved Glynn from juvenile delinquency. He is also an accomplished horseman, a real cowboy and rodeo champion. In 1999, Glynn won the state’s Regional Team Roping Finals in CA and placed in the top 5 in the National US Team Roping Champion Finals in Oklahoma City. Glynn is the Grand Marshall of several rodeos. In November 2011 he was inducted into the Western Heritage Multi-Cultural Museum’s Cowboy Hall of Fame in Ft. Worth, Texas.

His many film credits include Race, Dakota’s Summer, Super 8, Burlesque, Takers, Sahara, John Dies at the End, Kings of the Evening (for which Glynn won Best Supporting Actor at the 2009 San Diego Black Film Festival), Men of Honor, Deep Cover, Gremlins, J.D.’s Revenge, Light It Up, The Serpent’s Egg, The Inkwell, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and the cult classic Cooley High. Glynn’s television series and roles include, Jeremiah Kaah on House of Lies, Colonel Taylor on A Different World, Ernest Bordelon on Queen Sugar, Proof, Criminal Minds, NCIS LA, The Wire, Revolution, The Defenders, In Treatment, CSI, The Bernie Mac Show, Law and Order, CI, Resurrection Blvd, Big Apple, Scrubs, Southland, Flash Forward, Buffalo Soldiers and The Minstrel Man. Glynn has also directed several films, plays and television shows from the 80’s hit Dynasty to several webisodes for his last Showtime series, House of Lies.

Turman has recently been receiving rave reviews as the patriarch in the new Ava DuVernay/OWN hit series Queen Sugar and on stage in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in Los Angeles. He was a series regular for five seasons on the Showtime hit series “House of Lies” and was recently cast to co-star in a new CBS comedy Brothered Up that begins production this April. Turman is a family man, actor, director, producer, writer, humanitarian and cowboy.