Fredericksburg Free Press: Spanberger honors teen violence victim’s parents with public awareness award

FREDERICKSBURG FREE PRESS

The parents of a teenager who died as the result of a stabbing in Spotsylvania County in 2006 were honored Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger with the Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award for Public Awareness. 

Baron Braswell and Gwendolyn Martinez, the parents of Baron “Deuce” Braswell II, earned the recognition through the establishment of the annual Baron P. “Deuce” Braswell Run Against Teen Violence, which is entering its 19th year. 

The event was created by Braswell and Martinez to unite families and teenagers to take a stand against teen violence in the Fredericksburg area.  

Each year, Braswell and Martinez bring together students, parents, teachers, community leaders and elected officials to increase awareness and provide resources with the goal of preventing future violent incidents involving teens. 

Deuce Braswell was a Courtland High School football standout who was attending a party when he was killed. Spanberger spoke previously at the Run Against Teen Violence in support of the family and the event. 

 “He was a student-athlete. He was an honorable student,” Spanberger said. “Everyone that knew him loved him. He was a vibrant person … We honor his life, people run a beautiful course, and – importantly – members of the community are educated on resources that are available to preventing teen violence, related to joining in community with one another, and related to mental health and the challenges that face so many of our kids.” 

Spanberger was joined by the U.S. Congressional Crime Survivors and Justice Caucus in presenting Martinez and Braswell with the award, which recognizes those who use their voice to promote and bring about change to advance rights, awareness and services for crime victims.  

Spanberger’s office nominated Martinez and Braswell for the award. She noted that Braswell, a former Spotsylvania County School Board member, and Martinez also started a scholarship in their son’s memory. 

McDaniel, whose name is on the award, was one of the first prosecutor-based victim advocates in the nation. She created Harris County, Texas’ first community interagency council on sexual assault and family violence and the first rape exam protocol for Houston Hospital and Medical Associations.

She also formed the Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse, the first statewide resource in the nation and helped draft and pass the Texas Crime Victim Bill of Rights, the Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation Act, and the Texas Constitutional Amendment on Crime Victim Rights. She died in 2012. 

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