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First Lady Chirlane Mccray and Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence Commissioner Rosemonde Pierre-Louis Host Inaugural Upstander Awards

October 30, 2014

City honors six New Yorkers for their courage and commitment to speak out against domestic violence

Learn more about the UpStander movement against domestic violence

NEW YORK—First Lady Chirlane McCray and Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence Commissioner Rosemonde Pierre-Louis today hosted the inaugural UpStander Awards at Gracie Mansion to recognize six individuals who have taken an extraordinary stand to stop domestic violence. At the ceremony, the First Lady and Commissioner, joined by elected officials, civic leaders and volunteers, launched the NYC UpStander media campaign to encourage all New Yorkers to speak out against domestic violence. 

“Abuse affects everyone, with no regard for ethnic background, sex, socio-economic status or religion. By honoring six New Yorkers who have shown real courage to speak up and act, we want to encourage every New Yorker to no longer be a bystander, and to take action and become an Upstander,” said First Lady McCray. “Each of these honorees has used his or her personal influence to stand up for those in danger. Sadly, thousands of New Yorkers live with the paralyzing fear and crushing shame of violence in their home and, too often, they endure the physical, emotional and verbal abuse in silence. Everyone has the right to live free of violence and intimidation, and we can all do our part to end this terrible situation.”

“I applaud tonight’s honorees for their work to bring an end to domestic violence,” said OCDV Commissioner Pierre-Louis. “An UpStander is a beacon of hope to survivors everywhere, and through the launch of this campaign, we are sending a clear message that gender-based violence has no place in our city. We hope this campaign will inspire all New Yorkers to play a role in bringing an end to any abuse taking place.”

The Mayor’s Office also released a PSA today featuring city leaders talking about what an UpStander is and inspiring all New Yorkers to join the UpStander movement. The PSA, running in taxis and online, is one the components of the City’s year round campaign to raise awareness and bring an end to domestic violence that will continue beyond Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

To become an UpStander against domestic violence, the City encourages New Yorkers to:

  • Recognize and speak out against intimate partner violence, gender injustice, and all forms of abuse.
  • Offer unconditional support to someone who has experienced violence.
  • Speak up against statements that promote violence.
  • Get help from an expert, advocate, or other professional.
  • Help share resources with those who need help: NYC DV Hotline 1-800-621-4673; 911 in emergencies; for information and connection to services, call 311 and ask for OCDV’s Family Justice Centers, which provide comprehensive services to victims of intimate partner violence, elder abuse, and sex trafficking.

The six 2014 Upstanders are James Brown, Network Broadcaster for CBS Sports and News; Dr. Anna Chapman, Psychiatrist and voluntary faculty member at NYPH – Columbia Weill Cornell; Tamron Hall, National Correspondent for NBC and MSNBC; Zerlina Maxwell, Political Analyst and Contributing Writer for; Michael Skolnik, President for Global Grind; Juan Dapena, a New York resident who, in 2012, intervened to save a woman who was being stabbed multiple times by her husband.

CBS Sports and News Network Broadcaster James Brown has consistently used his influence to call on men to take a stand against domestic violence and encourage victims to seek the help available.

Psychiatrist , psychoanalyst, and voluntary faculty member at NYPH – Columbia Weill Cornell Dr. Anna Chapman has been committed to advancing mental health services to domestic violence. Recently, Dr. Chapman provided a $1 million donation to a new program connecting domestic violence survivors to mental health services at OCDV’s Bronx Family Justice Center.

NBC and MSNBC National Correspondent Tamron Hall has written multiple articles about her sister who was killed as a result of domestic violence. Ms. Hall has also launched a campaign to raise money to combat domestic violence and travels the country often speaking out on the issue.

Political Analyst and Contributing Writer for Zerlina Maxwell has written numerous pieces on domestic violence, sexual assault, victim blaming and gender equality, bringing attention to issues not often covered in mainstream media.
Global Grind President Michael Skolnik has leveraged his outstanding digital and political capital to highlight intimate partner abuse and has encouraged other national figures to publically speak out against violence. 

New York resident Juan Dapena helped in 2012 to stop an abusive husband who stabbed his wife twelve times in the head with a meat cleaver. Mr. Dapena ensured the victim received the life-saving help needed.

OCDV is the City government’s hub for citywide delivery of domestic violence services, development of policies and programs, and work with diverse communities in the five boroughs to increase awareness of domestic violence. Through a robust outreach effort, OCDV is able to connect victims to critical services through the City’s Family Justice Centers and other key stakeholders. The Family Justice Center’s diverse partner staff collectively speak over 25 languages and through telephone interpretation can assist in over 150 languages. The four Centers’ operational costs are approximately $8 million, paid by the City.

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, chaired by First Lady McCray, is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization, which facilitates high-impact public-private partnerships throughout New York City’s five boroughs. The Fund leverages individual, philanthropic, and corporate partnerships to support public programs advancing key Mayoral and agency priorities. The Center has made ending domestic violence one of its priority issues by providing ongoing support to OCDV’s Family Justice Centers, among other initiatives. 

OCDV’s Family Justice Centers are located in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. A fifth center will open on Staten Island in 2015. So far this year, the centers have had over 45,174 client visits.  Since the first Center opened in 2005, the FJCs have assisted more than 112,000 clients. The services are free and available to all victims who can walk in Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM, regardless of income, immigration status, gender identity, or sexual orientation, to obtain case management, counseling and legal assistance. Clients can be assisted during non-business hours by calling 311 for the 24/7 DV hotline and 911 for emergencies.

For more information on services offered through the City’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, call 311 or visit the website at

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