Violence Intervention Leadership Academy Graduates First Class

Posted March 4, 2024
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The image depicts s diverse group of Black and Brown young men and women on the red carpet of a formal event. The group smiles while standing in front of a banner displaying the logo for the Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy.

The Com­mu­ni­ty Vio­lence Inter­ven­tion Lead­er­ship Acad­e­my (CVI­LA) recent­ly held a grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mo­ny at the White House for its first cohort of com­mu­ni­ty vio­lence inter­ven­tion (CVI) lead­ers. An ini­tia­tive of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go Crime Lab and sup­port­ed by the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion, the program’s inau­gur­al cohort of 31 lead­ers includ­ed par­tic­i­pants from 21 cities across the Unit­ed States — includ­ing Casey civic sites Atlanta and Bal­ti­more.

The CVI­LA gives lead­ers on the front­lines of CVI pro­grams the resources, train­ing and sup­port they need to do their best work,” says Tim­me­ka Perkins, a com­mu­ni­ty safe­ty expert and senior asso­ciate with the Foundation’s Nation­al Com­mu­ni­ty Strate­gies port­fo­lio.

Sup­port­ing Local Lead­ers in Vio­lence Intervention

The cours­es were led by pro­fes­sors from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go, vis­it­ing edu­ca­tors from oth­er aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions, com­mu­ni­ty vio­lence inter­ven­tion prac­ti­tion­ers and lead­er­ship professionals.

Dur­ing the six-month pro­gram, CVI­LA cohort mem­bers stud­ied top­ics that included:

  • per­son­al and orga­ni­za­tion­al leadership;
  • strate­gic deci­sion making;
  • trau­ma and resilien­cy; and
  • strate­gies for build­ing a com­mu­ni­ty vio­lence inter­ven­tion ecosys­tem.”

These lead­ers leave the Acad­e­my with new skills, strate­gies and, most impor­tant­ly, a peer net­work that they can uti­lize as they dis­man­tle the cycles of vio­lence local­ly,” Perkins notes. Ulti­mate­ly, this is a pro­gram that’s focused on cre­at­ing a sus­tain­able, effec­tive work­force of com­mu­ni­ty vio­lence interveners.”

Devel­op­ing Gun Vio­lence Reduc­tion Strategies

Each cohort mem­ber designed a cap­stone project relat­ed to the devel­op­ment of a gun vio­lence reduc­tion pro­gram or inno­va­tion. Each project was cre­at­ed with feed­back from a team of advi­sors, and stu­dents defend­ed their work before a pan­el to com­plete the program.

An inno­va­tion fund” cre­at­ed by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go and the Casey Foun­da­tion grant­ed eight excep­tion­al projects seed fund­ing for addi­tion­al con­sul­ta­tion, imple­men­ta­tion or evaluation:

  • GID Uni­ver­si­ty is a work­force devel­op­ment pro­gram designed by Rashee­dat Fetu­ga (Nashville, TN). It equips north Nashville youth most at risk for gun vio­lence involve­ment with the skills to lead pub­lic safe­ty change, gun vio­lence pre­ven­tion and com­mu­ni­ty transformation.
  • Voic­es of Pow­er, an ini­tia­tive found­ed by De’Angelo Har­ris-Rosa (Philadel­phia, PA), advances pub­lic edu­ca­tion and dis­course around CVI. It includes a radio show and stream­ing video pod­cast with lead­ers in the field.
  • The Red Light Ini­tia­tive, a trans­for­ma­tive jus­tice frame­work devel­oped by Jovan Davis (Wash­ing­ton, D.C.), address­es the root caus­es of the emo­tion­al pain that can lead to gun violence.
  • 4 Social Peace is an ini­tia­tive found­ed by Patrick Young (New Orleans, LA). It devel­ops inter­ven­tions that dis­man­tle aggres­sion and fos­ter a pos­i­tive online envi­ron­ment through a com­pre­hen­sive and inte­grat­ed dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ty vio­lence inter­ven­tion strategy.
  • CTVIP Mul­ti-Tiered Data Man­age­ment Sys­tem, a per­for­mance mon­i­tor­ing tool devel­oped by Alivia Lan­g­ley (New Haven, CT), tracks resource uti­liza­tion and par­tic­i­pant outcomes.
  • CHVPS Employ­ee Men­tal Health & Well­ness Pol­i­cy, a frame­work cre­at­ed by Guadalupe Wash­ing­ton (Har­ris Co., TX), pro­motes a pos­i­tive envi­ron­ment that sup­ports men­tal health and well-being for com­mu­ni­ty health and vio­lence pre­ven­tion staff and those they serve.
  • SWOT Analy­sis of UCAN Chicago’s Vio­lence Inter­ven­tion and Pre­ven­tionis a com­mu­ni­ty-based vio­lence inter­ven­tion and pre­ven­tion pro­gram cre­at­ed by Edwin Gal­let­ti (Chica­go, IL). It reduces indi­vid­ual youth par­tic­i­pa­tion in crime and vio­lence, address­es trau­ma, improves aca­d­e­m­ic engage­ment and suc­cess and meets youth devel­op­ment needs through coach­ing and mediation.
  • Oper­a­tion RESPOND Expan­sion is a mobile cri­sis man­age­ment inter­ven­tion unit built by Dante John­son (Bal­ti­more, MD). It tar­gets indi­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies who are impact­ed by gun vio­lence and pro­vides them with sup­port ser­vices and work­force devel­op­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties. John­son also served as the grad­u­a­tion’s stu­dent com­mence­ment speaker.

John­son, direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ty safe­ty ini­tia­tives for the Liv­ing Class­rooms Foun­da­tion, praised the program’s focus on busi­ness plan­ning, risk man­age­ment and bud­get­ing as par­tic­u­lar­ly help­ful to his devel­op­ment as a leader.

Learn more about for dis­cussing com­mu­ni­ty safe­ty and vio­lence reduction

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