September 22, 2023

CVI Leadership Academy Launch

Crime Lab announces the launch of the Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy (CVILA).

Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy Welcomes First Cohort:

Last week, the Crime Lab launched the Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy (CVILA), a new, first-of-its-kind management and executive leadership training designed for community violence intervention (CVI) leaders to help enhance their violence reduction initiatives. Led by our very own  Dr. Chico Tillmon, the Academy will give community leaders executive management skills to increase the impact of their organizations and the field overall. The inaugural cohort of 30 students represents 21 cities across the country, from Nashville, TN to Stockton, CA. The CVILA is part of the University of Chicago Community Safety Leadership Academies (CSLA), which also houses the Policing Leadership Academy, launched in May of this year, which similarly trains policing leaders to improve policing and reduce violence in the most violent neighborhoods in America.

The first cohort of dynamic CVI leaders experienced an exciting launch event that featured speakers from the CVILA’s Steering Committee as well as Kwame Raoul, Illinois Attorney General; Chief Charlie Beck, Former Acting Superintendent of CPD; Michael Nutter, Former Mayor of Philadelphia; and Crime Lab Director Dr. Jens Ludwig.

CVILA students and faculty alongside the Steering Committee, Mayor Nutter, and Illinois Attorney General Raoul.
Illinois Attorney General Raoul speaks at the CVILA Launch.
Policing Leadership Academy Advisor Chief Charlie Beck and CVILA Steering Committee Member Pastor Michael McBride share a moment at the launch event after Chief Beck tells the CVILA students how important their work is for public safety.
CVILA Steering Committee members alongside Illinois Attorney General Raoul; from left to right: Marcus McAllister, national violence prevention expert; Oresa Napper-Williams, Executive Director of Not Another Child; Monica Gordon, Cook County Commissioner; AG Raoul; Erica Ford, CEO and Founder of LIFE Camp; Dr. Chico Tillmon, Director of the CVILA; Reverend Michael McBride, Executive Director of Live Free USA; Dr. Antonio Cediel, Managing Director of Live Free USA; and Greg Jackson, Executive Director of the Community Justice Action Fund.

After the launch event, students began their first class of the Academy’s rigorous six-month curriculum, which was designed by the CVILA steering committee around the goal of fostering well-rounded and skilled CVI leaders who can enhance public safety efforts at scale.

During their first class on Personal Wellness, CVILA students were led through an exercise to highlight the need to work together and to work through healing.

In just two short weeks, our inaugural cohort has already formed meaningful connections, absorbed a wealth of knowledge, and fully embraced the CVILA’s mission. We’ve led students through ten courses, ranging from subjects like Organization Wellness and Leadership Styles to Community Identity and Understanding and Building Workplace Culture.

Finally, we were thrilled to welcome U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois to the CVILA to wrap up the students’ first week. It was incredible to see the CVILA students share their stories with the Senator, and we will continue to engage with his office as the Academy grows.

The feedback we’ve received from students thus far has reinforced the potential this Academy can have on supporting these leaders, and their communities as a result. We eagerly look forward to sharing more stories and insights from our students as they continue on this journey.

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