The Advancement Project

Third Class of Frontline Gang Intervention Workers Graduate from Los Angeles' Urban Peace Academy: Declining Gang Crimes Linked to Training Intervention Workers

Los Angeles – Local media are invited to attend as 20 frontline gang intervention workers graduate on June 10, 2011 from the Urban Peace Academy, the nation’s only training program for the courageous people who help to keep the peace in gang hot zones.

Academy graduates are representatives of local community-based intervention organizations, most of which have contracted with the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development (GRYD). Their duties include brokering ceasefires between rival gangs, defusing tensions before violence escalates or after it explodes, and responding to gang related homicides to prevent retaliation. The increased professionalism of intervention workers that the Academy promotes increases their effectiveness in the field.

A recent Los Angeles Times article noted a 40% drop in gang-related crime in and around 24 City parks, all of which are home to the Summer Night Lights program. Similarly, gang related homicides dropped 57% in the neighborhoods surrounding the Summer Night Light parks. Gang intervention workers staff the Summer Night Lights program, which helps them link youth and families to wrap-around services that provide alternatives to gang involvement. Their knowledge of the community works in tandem with law enforcement to ensure a safe environment for hundreds of local residents who used to be too afraid to use the parks.

Graduation Details

Friday, June 10, 2011

10 – 11 am  Program & Commencement, featuring

  • Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (invited)
  • Advancement Project co-founder and civil rights attorney Constance L. Rice
  • Los Angeles Deputy Mayor of Neighborhood and Community Services Larry Frank

Location:  Children’s Bureau

Magnolia Place Conference Center

1910 Magnolia Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90007-1220

Note:    Due to the sensitive nature of their profession, some of the gang intervention workers will not be available for photography or interviews.

Graduates receive diplomas in recognition of the more than 140 hours spent over 14 weeks in the program in courses that include “History of Gangs and Gang Intervention”, “Crisis Intervention, Ceasefire and Understandings”, “Hospital Based Intervention”, and “Law Enforcement Dynamics”. Participants are rigorously tested before graduation to ensure mastery of intervention training material.

The Urban Peace Academy builds on prior training programs to elevate the field of gang intervention as a credible profession with an important role to play in a comprehensive violence reduction strategy. The Academy offers multiple levels of certification and creates a coherent body of knowledge that enforces the highest standards of practice and conduct. The Academy has also played an important role in defining the separate but parallel functions of gang intervention workers and law enforcement, ensuring that the response to gang violence is swift, coordinated and effective. The Urban Peace Academy is funded by the City of Los Angeles, The Annenberg Foundation, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation and The Rose Hills Foundation.

The Urban Peace Academy is a program of Advancement Project, a public policy action organization with roots in the civil rights movement.  Advancement Project engineers large-scale systems change to remedy inequality, expand opportunity and open paths to upward mobility. Our goal is that members of all communities have the safety, opportunity and health they need to thrive.

Our signature is reach and impact. With our strong ties to diverse communities, unlikely alliances, policy and legal expertise, and creative use of technology, we and our partners have won over $15 billion to extend opportunity. Whether it is to build 150 schools, transform the City of Los Angeles’ approach to its gang epidemic, or revolutionize the use of data in policymaking, Advancement Project evens the odds for communities striving to attain equal footing and equal treatment.