Coalition Against Violence

Graduate Students in Chatham University Sustainability Program Produce Film to Highlight Connection between Social Justice, Sustainability and Violence
Film debut: Chatham University Eddy Theater – April 12, 2016

This film was created as part of a larger collaboration between graduate students in sustainability at Chatham University and the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh. The collaboration demonstrated the ways in which groups/individuals are pursuing social justice & sustainability in the City of Pittsburgh. The project was advised by Dr. Crystal Fortwangler and Wanda Guthrie of the Thomas Merton Center.
We produced this short film in conversation with the Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP) and the Greater Pittsburgh Coalition Against Violence (CAV). A main purpose of our film is to highlight the connection between social justice, sustainability, and violence. We do this by highlighting the prevalence of violence in the greater Pittsburgh community, particularly with youth. In 2007, B-PEP CEO and Chairman Tim Stevens called a meeting with its partners after a published report found Pennsylvania leading the nation in homicides against African Americans. The CAV was formed as a branch of B-PEP as the result of the meeting. The CAV works closely with the community in the Hill District to combat violence in many forms, such as the creation of a document entitled, “Strategies for Change: Building More Peaceful Communities.” This document is currently undergoing its third revision at the hands of Lead Writer/Editor Lois “Toni” McClendon, and has two main components: The Community Manifesto and the Role of the Family. New sections in the third edition include LGBTQ+, and Women and Girls. This film gives voice and highlights the ways in which violence affects community members of the Hill District and greater Pittsburgh, and how the CAV is working steadily to combat it. Through the hard work of the CAV, we can help build more peaceful communities in Pittsburgh.
Film Crew: Catherine Giles, Tori Stone, Jenny Wittann, and Jephord English



  • Coalition Against Violence (CAV) is a broad-based, independent coalition of Community Leaders ,Religious Leaders, Police, Representatives of Education , Representatives of Government, and concerned Citizens of Allegheny County.

  • The Coalition formed in direct response to a 2007 report that found that Pennsylvania led the nation in homicide rates among African Americans.