On Thursday, June 8 and Friday, June 9, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta traveled to Chicago. During her visit, she met with community members and local leaders to hear about critical issues in the Chicago area and discuss the department’s efforts to fight gun violence and violent crime through thoughtful work on policing, a focus on building trust between police and the communities they serve, and empowering communities to be co-producers of public safety. She was joined throughout the trip by Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Amy Solomon.
University of Chicago Law School’s Law of Policing Conference
The Associate Attorney General kicked off her trip on Thursday, June 8, by serving as a featured speaker at the University of Chicago Law School’s Law of Policing Conference. During the UChicago event, she participated in a fireside chat with Professor Sharon Fairley to discuss the department’s work, including efforts to build police-community trust, pattern and practice investigations, work with law enforcement agencies seeking assistance through programs like the department’s Collaborative Reform Initiative and fund organizations and programs that center community voices in public safety conversations.
Site Visits with Justice Department-Funded Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Programs and Families of Gun Violence Victims
On Thursday afternoon, the Associate and department officials visited the North Lawndale area for a site visit and community meeting, hosted by UCAN, to speak with representatives from organizations that help fund, provide and study community violence intervention and related services. Participants included: Metropolitan Family Services (MFS), an OJP grantee that received both site-based and capacity-building grants through the department’s Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative (CVIPI) in Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22); a sub-grantee that will be receiving funds and other support from MFS through the capacity-building award; researchers from Northwestern University who are studying community violence intervention programs; and others. During the meeting, participants discussed ways to make federal grant funds more effective and accessible, and shared their experiences working with local law enforcement and collaborating with other community-based organizations to reduce violence in Chicago. Later that day, the Associate and other department officials met with mothers who have lost children to gun violence to listen to their concerns and challenges, including with navigating resources and services for victims. The meeting was hosted by New Life Centers of Chicagoland.
Bringing Critical Stakeholders Together: Meetings with U.S. Attorney’s Office, University of Chicago Crime Lab, and Mayor of Chicago
On Friday, June 9, Associate Attorney General Gupta and Assistant Attorney General Solomon met with Acting U.S. Attorney Sonny Pasqual for the Northern District of Illinois and senior staff from his office, followed by a visit to the University of Chicago Crime Lab, which was joined by Senator Dick Durbin, to learn about the Crime Lab’s innovative work, including research on the effectiveness of community violence intervention programs, early warning systems in law enforcement agencies and more. The trip concluded with a meeting with Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and Chicago’s first-ever Deputy Mayor of Community Safety Garien Gatewood.
Through OJP, local organizations can access critical funding that can be used to support community-focused violence intervention and prevention programming. In FY22 alone, the department provided $100 million in funding for CVIPI, aimed at helping scale this type of community-based work and innovation to tackle public safety concerns. In addition, through OJP’s Office for Victims of Crime, the department offers grants, training and technical assistance to support victims and survivors of crime as they navigate difficult journeys of recovery and healing.
In commemoration of the 29th anniversary of the original enactment of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Justice Department announced today $192,819,214 in formula and discretionary grant awards to support...