New York City Anti-Violence Project Hosts Annual Courage Awards

Native Son founder Emil Wilbekin and former State Senator Thomas Duane of Manhattan.
Donna Aceto

The New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) honored a pair of local leaders at the organization’s annual Courage Awards ceremony on October 14.

AVP, which works to combat violence through education, organizing, and survivor support, awarded former State Senator Thomas Duane and Emil Wilbekin, who founded Native Son, a platform dedicated to Black gay men. The event was produced virtually and in-person at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, giving attendees the option of enjoying the event from home.

Several LGBTQ leaders were in attendance at the in-person event, including current and former elected officials such as State Senator Brad Hoylman of Manhattan, Councilmember Carlos Menchaca of Brooklyn, and former Brooklyn District Attorney, Comptroller, and Congressmember Elizabeth Holtzman.

Beverly Tillery, the executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, receives AVP’s proclamation from Patrick Kwan of the Mayor’s Office.Donna Aceto
State Senator Brad Hoylman of Manhattan with his husband, David Sigal.Donna Aceto
AVP Board Member Jim O’Sullivan, overjoyed to be back live and in person, speaks to the crowd.Donna Aceto
Aditi Bhattacharya, AVP’s deputy director of client services, tells a moving story about AVP’s work in rescuing a refugee from sex trafficking.Donna Aceto
Elizabeth Holtzman presents to her friend, Thomas Duane.
FDNY Battalion Chief Michele Fitzsimmons and her wife, Dianna; Police Officer Sally Polizzi; and Joan Martinez with partner Sandra.DONNA ACETO
Councilmember Carlos Menchaca of Brooklyn with Matthew McMorrow, who serves as the director of LGBTQ Affairs for Governor Kathy Hochul.