Nominated for the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize
(source: Associated Press)

From his tiny San Quentin cell, Stanley Williams spends his days on death row writing gritty children's books about his experiences as a founder and leader of the street gang the Crips. He also coordinates an international nonviolence effort for at-risk youth that has led to his nomination for the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize by a member of the Swiss Parliament.

"He has done extraordinary work," parliament member Mario Fehr told The Associated Press on Saturday. "For these young kids that are in these street gangs. It is one of the only opportunities to get close to them. To get them out of the street gangs".
Williams, now 46, and high school pal Raymond Washington created the Crips in 1971 to fight rival gangs in east Los Angeles. Washington was killed in 1979. Williams, "Big Took" to his gang, was convicted of killing 4 people in 1981 and was sentenced to death. He published the 1st of 8 children's books in 1996. His latest, Life in Prison, tells of feeling homesick and humiliated by his experience.
Williams also created the Internet Project for Street Peace, which allows at-risk youths in California and South Africa to share their experiences through e-mail and chat rooms from community centers.

Williams was surprised by the nomination, said Barbara Becnel, a journalist who edits Williams' writings. Becnel and Fehr are friends and both oppose the death penalty. "He was wide-eyed like a child and really excited and he was also very humbled by it," Becnel said.
Abdulahi Mohamud, who pushed for the nomination, called Williams "a great man." Mohamud brought Williams' Internet Project for Street Peace to Switzerland for Somali youths living there to communicate with their counterparts in California and South Africa.

The Nobel Peace Prize's 5-member awards committee gives no hints and never releases the names of peace prize nominees, only the number. However, those nominating others for the award often divulge their choices in advance.
Members of national assemblies, of governments, and of the Inter- Parliamentary Union are entitled to nominate candidates. The 2001 Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on Dec. 10, 2001.

(source: Associated Press)