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Community Outreach

Community Outreach

Community Outreach is a fundamental part of the Department of Justice’s comprehensive approach to fighting crime and protecting and defending the rights and interests of the residents of the Central District. In a District as diverse and multi-faceted as the Central District, community outreach takes many different forms, ranging from Department of Justice driven programs and grants, to public efforts such as community meetings and events, listening tours, training and education, both formal and informal.

In all of these efforts, the United States Attorney’s goal is to listen, to learn, and to educate, in order to better achieve the overall mission of the office and the Department of Justice.

The person responsible for facilitating and coordinating community outreach for the Central District is Tracy Webb, Director of Community & Law Enforcement Outreach. Ms. Webb can be reached with inquiries by email at tracy.webb@usdoj.gov

or by mail addressed to:

Tracy Webb
Director of Community & Law Enforcement Outreach
United States Attorney’s Office - Central District of California (Los Angeles)
312 North Spring Street - 1200 United States Courthouse
Los Angeles, CA 90012
tracy.webb@usdoj.gov

Community Outreach entries are archived at the beginning of each new administration. To read any past posts, they can be found here:

Archived Community Outreach Posts

Saturday, November 20, 2021

On Saturday, November 20, a group from the Office’s Veterans and Service Members Affairs Committee, headed by AUSA Melissa Mills, volunteered at New Directions for Veterans, an organization that houses and provides services for homeless veterans at a number of locations in the Los Angeles area.  At their flagship location on the VA campus in Westwood, volunteers assisted by sorting donations of clothing, shoes, toiletries, toys, and household items for a “holiday shop” for the veterans, where they can select items they may need and/or pick gifts for loved ones free of charge. The volunteers also donned protective gear and painted a wall in the dining facility that badly needed refreshing with the veterans’ selected electric blue paint, which significantly brightened the space.  It was a fun event and much appreciated by the center’s staff.

Office’s Veterans and Service Members Affairs Committee
Office’s Veterans and Service Members Affairs Committee

 

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
Wednesday, October 20, 2021

On October 20, Acting United States Attorney Tracy Wilkison attended the 39th Annual “Red Mass” at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral. Organized by the Los Angeles chapter of the St. Thomas More Society, the Red Mass is an ecumenical, civic celebration that honors judges, lawyers, legislators, and legal professionals and is typically celebrated around the start of the legal year in many Catholic dioceses. The liturgy was presided over by Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez. The Acting U.S. Attorney was joined at the event by Pete Peterson, dean of the Pepperdine School of Public Policy and LAPD Assistant Chief Office of Operations, Beatrice Girmala, as well as several representatives of other faiths including Islam, the Church of Latter-Day Saints, and various Protestant denominations.

Red Mass

 

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
Thursday, October 14, 2021

On October 14, the Office commemorated Hispanic Heritage Month with a lunch hour virtual event. This year, we were honored to welcome two distinguished speakers: Sonja Diaz, Founding Executive Director of the UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative, and Diego Cartagena, President and CEO of Bet Tzedek, a nonprofit that provides free legal services to low-income residents of Los Angeles County.  Presented by the Office’s Diversity Committee, the event recognized the important role Latinx people have played at the forefront of the labor rights movement in the United States. This informative panel of experts examined the history of Latinx workers, specifically in the Central District, as well as the disproportionate health and economic impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Latinx workers and communities of color.  The panelists discussed the fact that Latinx workers tend to serve as essential workers on the front lines and their health and safety are largely dependent on workplace protections put in place by their employers.  The group also noted that the pandemic has had an even greater impact on Latinas, who have left the workforce at higher rates than any other demographic during this period.

HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH
HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH

 

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
Tuesday, September 14, 2021

On September 14, United States Attorney General Merrick Garland paid a visit to the Office. AG Garland met with Acting United States Attorney Tracy Wilkison and office leadership and addressed office staff virtually. The Attorney General learned of the ongoing stellar work of the office and thanked our staff for continuing the important mission of the Department during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

ATTORNEY GENERAL VISITS THE CENTRAL DISTRICT

 

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
Thursday, August 26, 2021

On August 26, in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League, the LAPD, and the FBI, the Office held a community outreach event about incidents of Anti-Semitic hate and the civil and criminal enforcement of hate crime statutes. In light of the historically high level of hate crimes across the U.S. in 2020, the event provided valuable information about the current landscape of antisemitism and hate, and how federal and local law enforcement investigate and work together to combat these crimes. Speakers from the office included AUSA Mack Jenkins, Chief of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights section, as well as AUSAs Veronica Dragalin and Karen Ruckert, along with representatives from LAPD, ADL and the FBI.

FEDERAL AND LOCAL RESPONSE TO ANTI-SEMITIC HATE
FEDERAL AND LOCAL RESPONSE TO ANTI-SEMITIC HATE

 

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
Tuesday, August 3, 2021

National Night Out

On August 3, the Office was again proud to participate in National Night Out (NNO), which is a decades-long program designed to join neighborhoods together and

National Night Out

enhance partnerships between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Through NNO, participants learn about crime and drug prevention programs, strengthen bonds with local law enforcement, and enhance neighborhood unity. In the Central District, events were held as they were across the country in all fifty states.  The events ranged from block parties to festivals. Law Enforcement Coordinator David Cons attended the LAPD event in the Northeast Division.

National Night Out 2021

 

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
Sunday, August 1, 2021

SUMMER NIGHT LIGHTS

During the month of August, the Office was honored to participate in the City of Los Angeles - Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development (GRYD) Summer Night Lights program. This was the Office’s tenth year volunteering with Summer Night Lights.

GRYD and the GRYD Foundation use the program to promote community resiliency and provide channels for residents to meet with their local law enforcement components in a casual atmosphere.  The program includes evening events held in local parks and recreation centers where members of the community – especially children and young adults

Summer Night Lights 2021

– can gather for safe and educational events and games.  Through outreach programs such as Summer Night Lights, the U.S. Attorney’s Office demonstrates its commitment to the community and seeks to strengthen the partnerships with local organization and law enforcement partners. This year, several of our staff and attorneys attended the events, including Paralegals Deena Bowman and La’Tanja Mahone, AUSAs Michael Morse, Kellye Ng-McCullough, Katie Seiden, Max Coll, and Jenna Long, and Legal Assistant Catherine Wilkinson.  The team assisted with the distribution of food and goodie bags to participating families at Highland Park, El Sereno and Normandie Recreation Centers.

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
Thursday, June 24, 2021

2021 PRIDE COMMEMORATION

This year the Office commemorated PRIDE month with a virtual panel discussion on June 24.  The topic was LGBTQ+ Communities of Color and included an introduction by Acting United States Attorney Tracy Wilkison. Attendees then heard from distinguished panelists including Lynly Egyes, Legal Director of the Transgender Law Center, Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Bianca Wilson, Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the UCLA School of Law Williams Institute. The event, moderated by AUSA Jason Pang, was organized by the Office Diversity Committee, AUSAs Sarah Quist, Abigail Evans, Matt Barragan, and Jeremiah Levine, and co-sponsored by the United States District and Bankruptcy Courts.

2021 Pride Commemoration
2021 Pride Commemoration
2021 Pride Commemoration
2021 Pride Commemoration

 

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

As part of its Elder Justice Initiative, the Office hosted a three-part training series: Effective Strategies for Investigating Transnational and Other Scams Targeting Older Adults. The event began on June 15, which is Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The series was provided to local and state law enforcement officers to educate about recent scams targeting

ELDER FRAUD AND SCAM PREVENTION TRAINING

older adults, the latest methods scammers are using to launder money, the neuropsychology of victimization, and the ways that law enforcement can work together to investigate and prosecute scammers who prey on vulnerable victims. AUSA and Elder Justice Coordinator Monica Tait, AUSAs Lisa Feldman and Katie Schonbachler, and Victim Specialist Allison Stafford participated in the training along with representatives from the FBI, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), JP Morgan Chase Bank, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, LAPD, the United States Secret Service, and the Ventura and San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Departments.

 

 

 

ELDER FRAUD AND SCAM PREVENTION TRAINING

 

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
Saturday, April 24, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

During April and May, the Office partnered with the City of Covina and Foothill Transit to provide COVID-19 vaccines to USAO staff and their families. Kudos to David Cons, our Law Enforcement Coordinator, for finding the opportunity for those who wanted the vaccine and who also wanted help others get vaccinated. Part of the partnership was that those who received a vaccine would volunteer doing non-medical tasks at a clinic at the Covina Transit Center. On April 24, Director of Community & Law Enforcement Outreach Tracy Webb, along with AUSA Catharine Richmond’s parents, spent the day volunteering at the vaccine clinic.

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics
COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

 

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
Thursday, April 22, 2021

AAPI Hates Crimes Community Discussion

On April 22, the Office hosted a virtual community outreach discussion on how the federal government investigates and works to combat hate crimes and discrimination, including against the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community. Prosecutors and attorneys from the Criminal and Civil Divisions provided timely information on hate crimes and discrimination along with presentations from partners from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service, and the Anti-Defamation League. The conversation included a time for questions and answers from the public and was offered in multiple languages, upon request.

AAPI Hates Crimes Community Discussion
AAPI Hates Crimes Community Discussion

 

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
Monday, April 19, 2021

VALOR Mid-Level Law Enforcement Training

On April 19, the Office continued our role as part of the United States Attorney General’s Officer Safety Initiative as host of the Mid-Level training. The VALOR program was created in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), to respond to the startling increase in felonious assaults that have taken the lives of many law enforcement officers and caused challenges for the community. Since its inception, the BJA VALOR Initiative has conducted more than 250 VALOR Trainings to more than 29,000 law enforcement officers across the United States, many of those in the Central District of California. The goal of the VALOR Initiative is to improve immediate and long-term health, wellness, and safety of law enforcement professionals through the continued development and delivery of knowledge and skills-based training at no cost to the agency.  On April 19, 2021, the VALOR Program piloted a new virtual training course: Mid-Level Leadership Matchbook. The goal of the Matchbook segment is to take the core training concepts presented in a classroom environment during the VALOR Mid-Level Leadership Workshop and transition them into a series of mini-training modules within the Matchbook delivered over eight weeks. The topics chosen for each track will consist of information that the target audience of law enforcement leaders needs to know to increase their span of control within their respective agencies. General Crimes Chief Allison Westfahl-Kong delivered the welcome message to the attendees to kick off the eight-week course.

VALOR Mid-Level Law Enforcement Training

 

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
Friday, April 16, 2021

AAPI Heritage Month Event

On April 16, the Office hosted a virtual event to commemorate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a thought-provoking discussion on the history of AAPI discrimination, the recent rise in anti-AAPI hate crimes and incidents, and community-based strategies on how to combat this trend for a safer, more inclusive future. The esteemed panelists for the discussion included prominent leaders of the AAPI community who have contributed to the history of our country’s efforts to combat historical, and institutionalized, racial discrimination. The panelists were: Connie Chung Joe, Chief Executive Officer of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, Manjusha Kulkarni, Executive Director of Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON) and Co-Founder of Stop AAPI Hate, and Dale Minami, the lead counsel overturning Fred Korematsu’s conviction, and Partner of Minami Tamaki LLP.  AUSA Julia Choe moderated the event.

AAPI Heritage Month
AAPI Heritage Month

 

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
Thursday, April 1, 2021

Career Days at local schools

During April, Assistant United States Attorneys from the Office were invited to participate in virtual Career Day events around the district. AUSAs Julie Shemitz, Dominique Caamano and Najah Shariff spoke to students at Gompers Middle School and Banning High School about their background, education, and careers and answered questions from the students.

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
Thursday, April 1, 2021

SOperation School Bell

Operation School Bell resumed socially-distant operations in April and staff and AUSAs were happy to return to help stuff backpacks with school uniforms, books, new shoes and socks, and school supplies for elementary school students around the district. Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Christensen assisted in the preparation of backpacks for delivery to local schools as did AUSAs Kathrynne Seiden and Sara Milstein, Special Assistant USA Leanne Fallin, Paralegal Specialist L’Tanja Mahone, and Legal Assistant Andrew Corona.

Operation School Bell

 

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
Tuesday, March 30, 2021

 

On March 30, the Office celebrated Women’s History Month with a fascinating panel of former Assistant United States Attorneys, now U.S. Magistrate Judges.  We virtually welcomed the Honorable Alka Sagar, Sheri Pym, and Patricia Donahue and listened to their journeys of rising through the ranks of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to their eventual appointment to the Federal bench.

Women's History Month

 

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
Saturday, January 9, 2021

On January 9, the Office commemorated National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. This day is held each year to express our appreciation and gratitude for law enforcement officers in the United States. This year, we used social media outreach to recognize our local and federal law enforcement partners who work each and every day to protect and uphold the law on behalf of the residents of the Central District.

Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

 

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
Friday, January 1, 2021

In January, the Office hosted 25 law enforcement executives at a new, no cost, virtual executive leadership training course for the Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement Officers and Ensuring Officer Resilience and Survivability (VALOR) Initiative. The course will last six weeks and is administered by the Institute for Intergovernmental Research, through funding provided by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The 25 law enforcement executives participating in the VALOR Initiative course are from various state and local agencies across our district.  The topics covered during this innovative educational opportunity are designed to help our law enforcement partners create an environment of safety and wellness at their agencies.

VALOR INITIATIVE

 

Topic(s):
Community Outreach
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