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Readout of Office of Justice Programs Participation in White House Community Violence Awareness Week

Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy Ceremony Group Picture

Office of Justice Programs Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon joined Vice President Kamala Harris in recognizing University of Chicago Crime Lab’s Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy (CVILA) graduates at an event hosted by the White House last week. Assistant Attorney General Solomon also met with the graduates at a roundtable at Main Justice. The roundtable served as a forum for OJP leaders to engage with and learn from trailblazers in the CVI field, as well as share information about OJP resources for CVI.

The graduation was of the culmination of the White House Community Violence Intervention Week, which included activities and meetings to address gun violence in communities throughout the nation.

The graduation ceremony was attended by more than 100 guests, which included the University of Chicago Crime Lab leadership, CVILA steering committee members and elected officials. Along with Vice President Harris, who gave opening remarks, and Assistant Attorney General Solomon, speakers included CVILA director Chico Tillmon, Maryland Governor Wes Moore, White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention Deputy Director Rob Wilcox and two cohort graduates – Myesha Watkins, Executive Director of the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance, and Jason Little, Strategic Initiatives Manager of Chicago CRED. In addition to commending the CVILA graduates and highlighting OJP’s Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative, Assistant Attorney General Solomon showcased the newly released Fiscal Year 2024 DOJ Program Plan, which includes more than 200 anticipated funding opportunities available to states and communities pending Congressional funding.

During the roundtable discussion, participants shared their experiences leading lifesaving CVI programs across the nation, and provided an overview of the capstone projects they completed as part of the CVILA curriculum. Joining Assistant Attorney General Solomon for the exchange were Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brent Cohen, Bureau of Justice Assistance Director Karhlton F. Moore, Office for Victims of Crime Director Kris Rose, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Administrator Liz Ryan and Senior Advisor for Community Violence Intervention Eddie Bocanegra. OJP leadership engaged in discussion with the graduates to better understand the needs and opportunities within the CVI field, as well as to offer an overview of DOJ resources available to support violence prevention and intervention strategies.

“It is truly my honor to be able to support work like yours through our Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative, the first federal grant program dedicated specifically to CVI,” Solomon said at the graduation. “The larger vision here is to grow and strengthen the CVI ecosystem so that it is a robust part of the public safety infrastructure in jurisdictions across the country.”

An initiative led by the UChicago Crime Lab, the CVILA aims to train present and future CVI leaders with the skills and information they will need in order to effectively lead organizations tasked with protecting their communities. Crafted by a team of CVI leaders from across the country, the six-month curriculum combines classroom instruction with immersive learning labs that provide participants with the necessary skills needed to support other organizations and groups. Thirty-one participants were part of the program’s inaugural cohort.

About the Office of Justice Programs

The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation's capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance equity and fairness in the administration of justice, assist victims and uphold the rule of law. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.


CONTACT: OJP Media at [email protected]

Date Published: February 13, 2024