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LIVE FREE Celebrates Historic Partnership With the University of Chicago to Not Just Respond to Gun Violence But Prevent It

For Immediate Release

May 13, 2022

OAKLAND, Calif. – LIVE FREE today celebrated a new partnership with the University of Chicago Crime Lab. The gun violence prevention group and 15-19 other Black and Brown-led, community-based groups worked with the university to launch Community Safety Leadership Academies (CSLA). The academies will offer first-of-their kind programs to train the next generation of policing and community violence intervention (CVI) leaders from across the country.

“Everyone wants to live in communities that are safe and free from violence,” said the Rev. Michael McBride, executive director of LIVE FREE. “And that goal is possible, but officials must rethink the over-reliance on police and invest in Black and Brown groups who have long worked to address the root causes of violence.”

The goal of this initiative is to create the most impactful and robustly evaluated public safety training ever offered in the United States. The effort will bring together data and top academics’ and leading CVI and policing practitioners’ behavioral science insights. Housed at the University of Chicago, the CSLA will include the Policing Leadership Academy and the CVI Leadership Academy. It will offer multidisciplinary and complementary curricula that span six months with the first cohorts for both academies graduating in 2023.

“Black and Brown people are more likely to die from gun violence than their white counterparts, but too often, discussions around how to address gun violence occur without the input of the very communities adversely impacted by it and working to end it,” said Dr. Antonio Cediel, managing director of LIVE FREE. “That is the beauty of this partnership; it involves community-based groups who have worked for decades on this very issue.”

“Part of our task is not just to respond to reports about violence but to build a new public safety infrastructure that allows us to better address the ebbs and flows of violence in our community,” McBride said. “This is one of the most important innovations LIVE FREE has helped develop. These interventions are a more cost-effective way to get what we want, which is keeping our communities safe.”

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