Dear Members and Friends of the VPC,
This is the Silver Anniversary Year of the VPC of Greater Los Angeles. We have worked together for 25 years to address violence as a public health epidemic. Together we have developed, evaluated and implemented solutions to this epidemic that has killed more young people than any other cause. I congratulate you for continuing to work and advocate despite enormous challenges.
The VPC was established in 1991 in response to the escalating epidemic of fatal violence in Los Angeles County. Looking at the ongoing epidemic of violence, the Coalition came together organically, realizing that a coalition of many diverse organizations and individuals had greater power to effect change than individual organizations alone. The coalition is a public/private network of organizations and individuals dedicated to preventing and reducing violence and the injuries and disabilities caused by violence using public health methodology and models. Members are from domestic violence shelters and programs, gang intervention and prevention programs, rape crisis centers, law enforcement, the arts, after-school programs, parenting and conflict resolution organizations, the media, the judicial system, children of incarcerated parents, schools, gun violence prevention programs, policy makers and many others. Members are as diverse as the County of Los Angeles itself. The VPC has been recognized by the American Public Health Association and the Safe States Alliance for its national work and its collaboration with national partners to effect changes at the federal level.
The VPC has been successfully involved in changing policy around easy access to guns and ammunition, to joining our partners in advocating for the clearing the backlog of rape kits, and assuring that hospitals continue to participate in the collection of evidence to assist the prosecution of sexual violence. In addition, the VPC has served as a model for the establishment of similar groups across the country, and internationally in locations as diverse as Scotland, Brazil, and New Zealand.
So as the VPC moves on to a new era with new leadership, we continue to value our relationships, and the collaboration with each of you, and with each other. Together we have changed the conversation and the approach to violence prevention. We know what works, and we will continue our journey together until every home, school, neighborhood and community is safe for every child, youth, and family.
Thank you for all you and for your support over the years. I look forward to seeing you all at our conference, the Angel of Peace, our workshops and meetings over the next 25 years.
Billie Weiss, MPH