AVP’s 40 Change Makers

To commemorate the last four decades, we have called on our founders, community members, clients, visionaries, and supporters to be in conversation with us. Throughout the year, we are releasing 40 profiles of individuals who have engaged our services, worked alongside us, and have strived for a just world.

Ovita Williams

Former Board Chair

This interview has been shortened and condensed for clarity. Ovita Williams is the Executive Director of the Action Lab for Social Justice at Columbia University and has been working with […]

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Matt Johnson

Former Board Chair

This interview has been shortened and condensed for clarity. Matt doesn’t consider himself an “activist,” so much as he considers all the things he does as work that needs to […]

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Teal Inzunza

Former Staff

This interview has been shortened and condensed for clarity. Teal Inzunza knew AVP was the right place for her after receiving the call to create AVP’s Economic Empowerment Program (EEP). […]

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Karen Satin

AVP Volunteer

This interview has been shortened and condensed for clarity. Karen started volunteering at AVP at the ripe age of 68. After retiring from a lifetime in the suit-and-tie sector of […]

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Kim Fountain

Former AVP Staff

This interview has been shortened and condensed for clarity. As the current Chief Operating Officer of the renowned Center on Halsted in Chicago, Kim Fountain knows that her community and […]

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Victoria Cruz

Former AVP Staff

This interview has been shortened and condensed for clarity. Victoria Cruz started out the way many at AVP do — as a client. She decided to get involved because her […]

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Diane Dolan-Soto

Former AVP Staff

This interview has been shortened and condensed for clarity. When there were no formalized LGTBQ+ domestic or intimate partner violence (IPV) services in New York City or the State, as […]

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Shay Huffman

AVP Activist

This interview has been shortened and condensed for clarity. Shay Huffman is many things, but foremost, she is a profound storyteller. Her abilities led her to the incredible advocacy work […]

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Melania Brown

Community Partner

This interview has been shortened and condensed for clarity. Emerging activist and writer, Melania Brown, has been pivotal in the fight to end solitary confinement. Brown’s life was changed forever […]

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Bea Hanson

Former AVP Staff

This interview has been shortened and condensed for clarity. Bea Hanson has been an advocate for victims of violence for over three decades. She served as AVP’s HIV-Related Violence Program […]

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Sharon Stapel

Former AVP Executive Director

This interview has been shortened and condensed for clarity. Sharon Stapel served AVP for seven years as its Executive Director, steering the organization through the recession of 2008 and growing […]

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Arthur Goodman

AVP Founder

This interview has been shortened and condensed for clarity. A former member of the first neighborhood-based gay and lesbian group in New York City, the Chelsea Gay Association, Arthur Goodman […]

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Stevin Bonifacio

Former AVP Client

This interview has been shortened and condensed for clarity. In 2019, Stevin Bonifacio, a New York City Anti-Violence Project’s client, reached a settlement with the City of New York Department […]

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LaLa Zannell

Former AVP Staff

This interview has been shortened and condensed for clarity. LaLa Zannell is a Black trans woman with over a decade of experience as a community organizer and advocate for trans […]

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Tom Duane

Former Board Member

Tom Duane was the first openly gay and openly HIV+ member of the New York Senate and has been integral to legislative reform in the state to better protect LGBTQ+ and HIV-affected people. A former AVP board member and hate violence survivor, Tom’s legacy includes sponsorship of same-sex marriage legislation and the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) in New York State, as well as the passage of the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act.

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Chanel Lopez

Former AVP Staff

When Chanel Lopez was approached by AVP’s Client Services department, she immediately became interested in the opportunity to work as a counselor with LGBTQ survivors of hate, intimate partner, and […]

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Andy Austin and Michael Sonberg

AVP Founders

This interview has been shortened and condensed for clarity. In 1978, Andy Austin moved to New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood and found community in the Chelsea Gay Association (CGA), a […]

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Cecilia Gentili

Community Partner

For a decade, Cecilia Gentili has been an ongoing collaborator and community partner with AVP. Working at the intersections of sex work, transgender women’s rights, and incarceration issues, Cecilia Gentili has helped shape critical forums with AVP.

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Thomas von Foerster

AVP Founder

In 1978, Thomas Von Foerster moved to New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood as a 37-year-old gay man in search of others like him. He soon found community in the Chelsea Gay Assocation (CGA), a social group for gay men. His involvement in the association quickly grew, and he became treasurer as well as the editor of the monthly newsletter with over 1000 members.

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