Aqeela Sherrills has traveled the world brokering peace, but he is best known for creating the 1992 peace agreement between longtime Los Angeles gang rivals, the Bloods and the Crips. Sherrills’s inspiration came from the loss of 13 friends to gang violence. This encouraged him to lay the groundwork for peace in his neighborhood. Within 10 years he had worked on the Amer-I-Can Project with former football legend Jim Brown, and established the former Community Self Determination Institute (CSDI), an agency dedicated to the transformation of his community. Between 1999 and 2006, CSDI managed over $3 million in contracts with the city and county of Los Angeles and the state of California.
Sherrills’s current focus is on what he terms the ‘Reverence Movement,’ a peace process that allows people to see the sacredness in one another. Sherrills believes the only true path to reconciliation begins from within. It’s a message he has made so accessible that he’s delivered it to communities around the world. Thus, he has advised government officials in Belfast and Serbia on the process of establishing non-violent communities; he has addressed the Hague and the United States Congress on the importance of peace, reverence, and non-violence; and he has brokered peace agreements between gangs in cities across the U.S.
Sherrills sits on boards which seek to promote positive change, including Yes!, Bioneers, the Forgiveness Project, and the Yoga on the Inside Foundation. His work has been featured in articles appearing in Utne, LA Weekly, Los Angeles City Beat, The Urbanite, The Source, and MotherJones. In 2004 he was awarded the Activist Award of Achievement by the Gleitsman Foundation and the Norman Felton & Denise Aubuchon Humanitarian Award by Death Penalty Focus.