The Richie Perez Peoples Justice Award
Iris Baez, mother of Anthony Baez; Margarita Rosario, mother of Anthony Rosario & aunt of Hilton Vega; Kadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo; and Valerie Bell, mother of Sean Bell.
Iris Baez is the mother of Anthony Baez, who was killed by the NYPD on December 22, 1994. Anthony was murdered by (now former) NYPD Officer Francis Livoti, who put him in an NYPD-banned chokehold, after a football accidentally hit Livoti's car. Ms. Baez is a veteran activist who has been fighting police brutality for 25 years. Her unwavering commitment to achieving justice for her son ignited a movement that brought thousands of diverse New Yorkers into the streets together to campaign for justice for her son. Livoti was acquitted in New York State court, but was prosecuted by the Department of Justice and found guilty of violating Anthony’s civil rights. Livoti was sentenced to seven and a half years in federal prison. He was released after six and a half. No other NYPD officer who has killed a civilian has been convicted by DOJ since Livoti. Iris Baez was featured in "Every Mother's Son" a documentary about the police killings of Anthony Baez, Amadou Diallo and Gidone Busch - and their mothers: Ms. Baez, Kadiatou Diallo and Doris Busch. Ms. Baez was amongst families who led the fight to secure a special prosecutor executive order from Governor Cuomo in 2015, and has been a key leaders and spokesperson in the campaigns for the Right to Know Act, #Repeal50a, #SaferNYAct, City Charter Reform for improved police accountability, and more. Iris Baez is a legend and has been on the frontlines as an activist, a mentor and champion for justice -- and is beloved by police brutality families and activists across the country.
Margarita Rosario has been a leader of the anti-police brutality movement for almost as long as Iris Baez. Ms. Rosario is the mother of Anthony Rosario and aunt of Hilton Vega, who were killed by NYPD officers on January 12, 1995. Anthony and Hilton were shot execution-style, a combined total of 14 times, while lying face down on the floor, by then NYPD Detectives Patrick Brosnan and James Crowe. Both had previously been bodyguards for Rudolph Giuliani during his 1993 mayoral campaign. Neither were ever held accountable. The loss of Anthony and Hilton spurred Ms. Rosario into action. She launched her own investigation into their deaths – through which she unearthed facts about the NYPD’s cover-up of the case. She and Hilton’s mother, Camera Morales, filed a Civilian Complaint Review Board complaint. The CCRB substantiated an excessive force complaint against Brosnan and Crowe, but it was disregarded by then-NYPD Commissioner William Bratton. Margarita first connected with the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights-Justice Committee (JC’s iteration at the time) when co-founder Vicente “Panama” Alba showed up at her attorney’s office and introduced himself. Soon after, NCPRR-JC invited Margarita to speak at Lincoln Hospital and then at rallies and protests throughout the city, often alongside the mother of Anthony Baez. In the mid 1990s, with encouragement from Panama and JC’s other co-founder, Richie Perez, Margarita and her sister-in-law, Carmen Morales, founded Parents Against Police Brutality, an organization for and by parents who had lost children to the NYPD. Through PAPB, Margarita supported dozens of other parents from New York City and across the country. Parents Against Police Brutality and the NCPRR-Justice Committee worked closely together for years. In 2015, Margarita was one of 12 family members of New Yorkers killed by the police who led a successful campaign, coordinated by Communities United for Police Reform, to establish a special prosecutor for police killings through gubernatorial executive order and she has been a devoted advocate for the SaferNY Act ever since. Margarita was born in Puerto Rico and came to New York City when she was five. Margarita is the loving mother of two living sons, as well as Anthony, and grandmother of ten. She says seeing her grandchild grow gives her the part of her life back that was stolen by the NYPD.
Kadiatou Diallo is the mother of Amadou DIallo. She is an author, social justice activist and an ardent public speaker. First and foremost, she is a mother. It was her role as mother that captivated the heart of America and thrust her into the social justice spotlight when her 23-year-old son, Amadou Diallo, was shot 41 times by four NYPD officers while he was standing in the vestibule of his Bronx apartment building, February 4th, 1999. A Bronx grand jury indicted the four officers involved on charges of second degree murder and reckless endangerment. They were acquitted of all charges in Albany after an appellate court ordered the trial venue moved stating that pretrial publicity had made a fair trial in New York City impossible. Mrs. Diallo has been a steadfast leader of the movement for police accountability since her son's death. In 2015, she was one of 12 family members of New Yorkers killed by the police who led a successful campaign, coordinated by Communities United for Police Reform, to establish a Special Prosecutor for police killings through gubernatorial executive order. She is the founder of the Amadou Diallo Foundation, the author of "My Heart Will Cross this Ocean," and a member leader of the Justice Committee.
Valerie Bell is an activist, author, a national police accountability movement leader, and the mother of Sean Bell. Sean was just 23 years old when he was killed in the early morning hours of November 25, 2006, in a hail of 50 shots fired by NYPD officers on his wedding day. Valerie Bell is regarded as an "Ambassador for Justice" by her husband William Bell, Sr. and many in New York's justice community. In 2010, Valerie and her family won a campaign to rename the street where NYPD officers killed Sean, "Sean Bell Way" (Liverpool Street, from 94th Ave. to 101st Ave. in Queens, NY). Valerie has lobbied Congressional members in Washington, DC; state lawmakers in Albany, NY and City Councilmembers in all five boroughs of NYC to demand police accountability and criminal justice reform. In 2015, Valerie was a leader along with other families whose loved ones had been killed by police, to win an executive order for a special prosecutor from Governor Andrew Cuomo - and she has continued to fight for the executive order to be codified into law. Valerie has also been a key leader in major police accountability fights including the Right To Know Act and the current effort to repeal NY state's police secrecy law (50-a). Valerie released her first book in the summer of 2016, titled "Just 23, Thoughts From A Mother in Spoken Word by Kisha Walker". Until police brutality is annihilated, Valerie Bell will continue to be the ‘Voice for Sean’.
The Shirley Chisholm Award
Jumaane D. Williams, New York City Public Advocate
Jumaane D. Williams is the Public Advocate of the City of New York. Previously, he served on the NYC Council representing the 45th District. Jumaane is a first-generation Brooklynite of Genadian heritage. He graduated from the public school system, overcoming the difficulties of Tourette’s and ADHD to earn a Master’s Degree from Brooklyn College. He began his career as a community organizer at the Greater Flatbush Beacon School and later served as the Executive Director of NYS Tenants & Neighbors. There, he fought for truly affordable, income-targeted housing across New York City and State. In the NYC Council, Jumaane championed landmark legislation that fundamentally transformed policing in NYC. Jumaane has been a long-time partner of Communities United for Police Reform and was the lead sponsor of CPR's Community Safety Act (CSA) legislative package, which was passed by the New York City Council in 2013, over-riding then-Mayor Bloomberg's veto. The CSA helped reform the City’s Police Department by creating an enforceable ban on discriminatory profiling by the NYPD, creating the NYPD’s Office of Inspector General to review and report on systemic civil rights abuses by the NYPD, and was critical in reducing the number of abusive stop-and-frisk encounters. Jumaane has led the fight for better policing and safer streets, affordable housing, and transparency and accountability in City government. As Public Advocate, Jumaane continues to be an activist-elected official who brings the voices of everyday New Yorkers to City government, fighting to make New York a truly progressive beacon for all.
Host Committee (in formation)
Alyssa Aguilera; Monifa Bandele & Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele; Verónica Bayetti Flores; Dante Barry; Darius Charney; Shelby Chestnut; Jennifer Ching; Loyda Colon; Cynthia Conti-Cook & Jesse Martin; Dominique Day; Tianesha Drayton; Christopher Dunn; Jesse Ehrensaft-Hawley; NYS Assemblymember Harvey Epstein; Cynthia Eyakuze; Kesi Foster; Kassandra Frederique; Stanley Fritz; Carrie Gleason; Jesus Gonzalez; Priscilla González; Jules Hoffenberg; Sam Jacobs; Mandela Jones; Mohammad Khan; Marc Krupanski; NYC Councilmember Brad Lander; Yul-san Liem; Deborah Lolai & Yasmin Safdié; Tina Luongo; Rachel McCullough; Johanna Miller; Maurice Mitchell; Jonathan Moore; Roksana Mun & Fahd Ahmed; Udi Ofer; Richard Orbe-Austin & Lisa Orbe-Austin; Anthonine Pierre; Nikita Price; NYS Assemblymember Dan Quart; Reem Ramadan; David Rankin, NYC Councilmember Antonio Reynoso; Andrea Ritchie; Terri Rosenblatt; Kate Rubin; Natalia Salgado; Linda Sarsour; Michael Sisitzky; Toni Smith-Thompson; NY State Senator Julia Salazar; Linda Sarsour; Wendy Sealey; Dara Silverman; Sharon Stapel; Helen Stillman; Brett Stoudt; Carl Stubbs; Candis Tolliver; Vince Warren; Mark Winston-Griffith; John Won; Darian X; Luna Yasui & Elaine Kim; Nahal Zamani