Los Angeles angels

A community initiative in Los Angeles turns weapons into angel-like statues that recognises the work of local leaders.

It may be home to the Hollywood rich and famous but on the back streets of Los Angeles a very serious gun problem kills three people in this county every day.

Looking to creativity to address this problem, the Violence Prevention Coalition (VPC) initiated a gun buy-back campaign, which saw citizens voluntarily exchange their guns for grocery shop vouchers. No questions were asked of citizens upon surrendering their weapon.

More than 2 700 weapons were collected through this initiative. Kaile Shilling, director of the VPC, explains that each gun surrendered represents two lives that have been saved, that of the victim and that of the gunman.

The VPC took the weapons, melted them and reworked the steel into angel statues that will be used to celebrate the work of local leaders who take a stand against violence in their community.  The “Angel of Peace Award” is a recognition of a community’s fight against violence.

The VPC worked with a local metalworking studio, La Fonderie, to forge the angel statues, while the a gang prevention organisation Homies Unidos provided volunteers for a mentorship programme that worked on the design.