AVP HONORS THE COURAGEOUS

At an annual gala marked by a bittersweet passing of the baton, the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project celebrated its 25th anniversary at Gotham Hall in Midtown on November 10.

The event marked the first gala overseen by the group’s new executive director, Clarence Patton, who previously served as deputy executive director of the agency and as the acting executive director of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects, a steering committee for similar efforts across the country. Patton succeeds Richard Haymes, who has been on medical leave and in September decided that his battle with HIV required his full attention, after seven years of helming the group.

Both men were on hand for the evening, which drew a crowd of about 450 and raised a record $315,000 for the group’s work in combating both bias-based violence and harassment against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and AIDS-affected communities, and domestic violence within queer households.

The evening honored Haymes; State Senator Tom Duane and Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, the first openly gay and lesbian members of the New York State Legislature; Safe Horizons, the nation’s largest crime victims and advocacy organization, based in New York; and Deutsche Bank, an international banking company with a history of strong support for AVP’s mission.

This year’s Courage Awards were the ninth such event held by the group.

The evening was hosted by several well-known personalities including B.D. Wong, the stage and television actor who won a Tony for his role as Song Liling in “M. Butterfly” in 1988 and is best known today for roles on “Oz” and “Law and Order;” film actress Julianne Moore, a four-time Oscar nominee whose work has ranged from “Boogie Nights” to “Far From Heaven” to “The Hours;” and longtime WABC-TV weatherman Sam Champion.

AVP now has a professional staff of more than 20. For more information on the agency, visit avp.org. The group’s 24-hour, confidential, bilingual (Spanish and English) hotline is 212-714-1141.

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