Spanberger Honors Baron Braswell & Gwendolyn Martinez at U.S. Capitol for Their Annual “Baron P. ‘Deuce’ Braswell Run Against Teen Violence”

Apr 17, 2024
Local Issues
Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger yesterday presented Baron Braswell and Gwendolyn Martinez — the parents of Baron P. “Deuce” Braswell II — with the “Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award for Public Awareness” for their work to prevent teen violence in Virginia through the “Baron P. ‘Deuce’ Braswell Run Against Teen Violence.”

The Baron P. “Deuce” Braswell Run Against Teen Violence — now in its 19th year — honors the memory of Deuce, a Virginia teenager who was murdered in 2006 by a senseless act of teen violence. Created by Martinez and Braswell, the annual event unites families and teenagers to take a stand against violence in Spotsylvania, Fredericksburg, and the greater region. Each year, Baron and Gwen bring together students, parents, teachers, community leaders, elected officials at all levels, and the media to increase awareness, provide more resources, and prevent future loss.

To honor their work, Spanberger joined the U.S. Congressional Crime Survivors and Justice Caucus in presenting Martinez and Braswell with this 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 them for the award.

Click here to watch the full video of Spanberger’s remarks, as well as the award presentation and comments from Martinez and Braswell.

“I have the honor of recognizing that this award will go to Baron Braswell and Gwendolyn Martinez for the work that they do to bring attention to the issue of teen violence in our communities. In January of 2006, they lost their beloved son. He was a student athlete. He was an honorable student. Everyone that knew him loved him. He was a vibrant person,” said Spanberger during the ceremony. “After Deuce’s murder at a party, Gwen and Baron chose to make a change in our community — and they started an annual run, where community members are brought together in a beautiful, joyful, athletic event on a September morning in Virginia. We honor his life, people run a beautiful course, and — importantly — members of the community are educated on resources that are available related 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 continued, “They bring us all together in community to honor their son and remember their son. And there’s a scholarship — so that each year a kid from our region can go off to school and know that they are supported not just financially, but also in spirit. So many of our community members join together year after year to celebrate Deuce’s life and honor him — and I’m honored to present this award.”

Click here for more information about the Baron P. “Deuce” Braswell Run Against Teen Violence.

BACKGROUND

The “Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award for Public Awareness” honors Suzanne McDaniel, one of the first prosecutor-based victim advocates in Texas and in the country. McDaniel created Harris County’s 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. McDaniel passed away in May 2012.

The U.S. Congressional Crime Survivors and Justice Caucus focuses on elevating the voices of crime victims and survivors within the U.S. Congress in a bipartisan way.

Spanberger has previously spoken at the Run Against Teen Violence to show solidarity with Deuce’s family, local leaders, law enforcement, students, and community members.

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