Robert David, violence prevention manager for the City of Danville and head of Project Imagine, has been selected as the 2024 recipient of the Chairman Emeritus Award by the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice (NABCJ).

The award is bestowed upon individuals who have demonstrated unwavering dedication to advancing the objectives of the NABCJ and ensuring minority representation in policymaking and the development of criminal justice programs and research.

“I have dedicated over 30 years of my life to creating spaces of equity for marginalized and under-resourced individuals,” David said. “This is more than an award to me; it is a testament to all those who are fighting for others that ‘change gonna come.’”

Created in 1974, the NABCJ is a professional organization dedicated to promoting justice, fairness, and effectiveness in the administration of criminal justice. With a focus on advocating for the rights and interests of African Americans and other minorities within the criminal justice system, the NABCJ works to address issues of inequality and discrimination while advancing the professional development of its members. Its headquarters is in Durham, N.C.

The award ceremony will take place on July 31, during the Victoria Myers and Dr. Bennett Cooper Awards Banquet at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. This recognition comes as part of the NABCJ’s annual conference, themed “NABCJ: The Struggle Continues – Where Do We Go From Here?”

David, who also serves as a life and recovery coach and motivational speaker and has been a drug-free Mr. Universe body builder and four-time world champion powerlifter, joined the City of Danville in June 2018 as the youth services and gang violence prevention coordinator. Four months later, he started Project Imagine to create a positive “image” in the youth’s mind so that he or she can “imagine” a life without gangs or crime.

The program recently celebrated a significant milestone as its 25th class graduated, bringing the total number of teenagers completing the program since its inception to nearly 150.

David and the Project Imagine model have received national recognition. Last year, David received the Youth Workforce Professional of the Year award from the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals. In 2022, he was named to the Engaging Local Government Leaders Top 100 Influencers in Local Government. In 2020, the National Gang Crime Research Center named David a winner of the Frederic Milton Thrasher Award. The award recognized his accomplishments in gang prevention and intervention.

In 2019, Project Imagine received the President’s Award from the Virginia Municipal League.

David holds master’s degrees in professional counseling and addiction specialist from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, and he is a doctoral candidate in organizational and industrial psychology at the university. Also, David is certified as a master life coach by Grand Canyon University. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C.

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