New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), where I have made my “work home” for over a decade, is an organization that works to prevent and respond to violence, within and against LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities. As the Deputy Executive Director of Programs, I see day in and day out the impact of AVP’s work on our communities. For more than half of my time at AVP, this work has often felt like dragging lead weights through deep water, toxic with anti-LGBTQ, racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric spewed by those in power. But through it all, AVP kept it moving. On a dime, we moved our operations fully remote in March of 2020, drawing on over 40 years of experience in navigating crisis. As a community of learners, we are translating lessons from the pandemic and a long overdue reckoning with structural racism in this country to move into new ways of working—one that sustain our communities, our families, and ourselves. Throughout this tumultuous and difficult time, I cannot express how grateful I am to be part of working to make the world a better place alongside brilliant and courageous colleagues at AVP.
As a queer liberation social worker, it matters deeply to me that AVP does its work from an anti-oppressive, trauma-informed approach that centers those most impacted by violence—queer and trans people of color, including Black trans women, against whom an epidemic of fatal violence has not garnered nearly enough attention. AVP not only tracks this deadly violence, we also celebrate the joy and resilience of LGBTQ and HIV-affected people. Leaning into that community power, we are collectively creating new and revived models of community-led safety.
As a clinician working with survivors of trauma for 30 years, I am tremendously grateful for and proud of the survivor-centered services that AVP provides: counseling, advocacy, economic empowerment, and legal services. The cornerstone of AVP programming is our free 24/7 bilingual hotline which receives over 2000 calls a year from LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors of violence, who get immediate access to safety planning, counseling, support, resources, and referrals.
As an activist, I rejoice that AVP also works to change the conditions that allow violence to flourish, through our community organizing, public advocacy, and training., serving over 21,000 New Yorkers annually. It is estimated that 17% of New Yorkers identify as LGBTQ+, and AVP is the only organization in the city wholly focused on their safety, healing, and leadership.
Join me in supporting AVP’s work, for my birthday, in whatever way works for you. Please donate if you can. Share this page with others who might want to donate to support our meaningful change work. Consider volunteering with AVP, or attending an event. Read our reports. Spread the world. Be the change. Together, we can end violence.
In peace, gratitude, and solidarity,
Join me in reaching my goal of raising $10,000 for AVP in 2022.