White House Author
Sharon Stapel is the Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP). Founded in 1980 as a community response to violence, AVP is the country’s largest organization dedicated to eliminating hate violence, sexual violence, and domestic/intimate partner violence affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. Through our 24-hour bilingual (English/Spanish) hotline, community-based intake sites and trained counselor/advocates and volunteers, AVP provides a lifeline of support to survivors of violence and their families. AVP organizes communities and allies to challenge the root causes of violence to create long-term strategies to prevent violence. AVP trains and monitors emergency first responders, including law enforcement and medical professionals, to ensure the response to LGBTQ-specific hate, domestic, and sexual violence is effective and appropriate. AVP also educates elected officials and communities about the persistent problem of violence and the steps that can be taken to reduce it. AVP’s innovative programs include: a Speaker’s Bureau which provides LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors of violence with a safe space to discuss, develop and practice personal stories related to violence to promote group and individual leadership development and public speaking skills; Safe Bars/Safe Nights outreach program where AVP staff and volunteers reach thousands of LGBTQ people and their allies to talk about safety and hand out safety information; and a co-located, community-based direct services and outreach program for transgender people of color who are victims and survivors of violence.