Celebrities And Others Join Campaign Supporting Communities Against COVID And Gun Violence

New York City celebrities comedian Tracy Morgan and actress Rosario Dawson teamed up with community leaders and The Office to Prevent Gun Violence (OPGV) on its citywide digital campaign.

The campaign is called “Stay Strong, Stay Safe” to support communities hardest hit by rising rates of violence and the COVID-19 pandemic, and uplift residents of the city in order to promote peace and wellbeing.

Launched in September 2020, “Stay Strong, Stay Safe” — which can be found at www.StayStrong.NYC  — reinforces how community leaders at the forefront of the movement to create peace have been protecting their fellow New Yorkers from both gun violence and the Coronavirus pandemic through grassroots outreach and support.

Videos and shareable content on the website have received more than 1 million views, and targeted messages from the campaign are visible on digital kiosks and screens citywide.

Videos and shareable content on the website have received more than 1 million views, and targeted messages from the campaign are visible on digital kiosks and screens citywide.

Native New Yorkers Tracy Morgan and Rosario Dawson are amplifying the voices and experiences of New Yorkers on the front lines of the Crisis Management System (CMS), New York City’s approach to the neighborhood-based Cure Violence model that invests resources in communities impacted by increased gun violence.

Both celebrities are using their platforms to spread awareness of the “Stay Strong, Stay Safe” message as they encourage New Yorkers to take care of themselves and their communities amid the public health crises posed by both Coronavirus and gun violence.

“The leaders who represent the Crisis Management System across the city set an example every day of what it looks like when New Yorkers unite to create peace and heal together,” said OPGV Executive Director Jessica Mofield.


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“We’re proud to help elevate their stories and humbly follow their example to ensure all of our neighbors, especially our communities of color hit hardest by both COVID-19 and gun violence, can overcome these crises and thrive,”

“We’re proud to help elevate their stories and humbly follow their example to ensure all of our neighbors, especially our communities of color hit hardest by both COVID-19 and gun violence, can overcome these crises and thrive,” Mofield added.

View the #StayStrongStaySafe flagship video here

CMS New York City Community Leaders featured in the “Stay Strong, Stay Safe” campaign include:

  • Shneaqua Purvis (Site Manager, Man Up! Inc., Brooklyn) here 
  • Eboni Edwards (Street Corner Resources, Harlem) here
  • Mike Perry (Program Manager, True 2 Life, Staten Island) here
  • Andre Brown (Violence Interrupter Supervisor, Rock Safe Streets, Queens) here
  • Marisol Rivera (Hospital Response Coordinator, Community Engagement, Save Our Streets, Bronx) here
  • Anntoinette Kennedy (Community Leader, Man Up! Inc., Brooklyn) here
  • Keiara Robinson (Violence Interrupter, Release The Grip, Bronx) here
  • Ian Stuart (Coordinator, Domestic Violence Programs, Rise Project, Queens) here
  • Natasha Christopher (Gun Violence Activist) here

New Yorkers can amplify the message of what they and their community are doing to protect their neighbors by using the hashtag #StayStrongStaySafe and connect with the campaign on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. The campaign is also targeting ZIP codes and communities identified by the City as disproportionately impacted by both COVID-19 and gun violence.

The “Stay Strong, Stay Safe” campaign was developed by the Office to Prevent Gun Violence and ART NOT WAR, an award-winning cultural impact agency specializing in social justice movement building and digital strategy.

Founded by Laura Dawn and Daron Murphy, the ART NOT WAR team included art director Jameel Newkirk, photographer Kay Hickman, and Award-winning writer, author, organizer, and activist Kevin Powell, who directed a series of powerful first-person video portraits as part of the multimedia campaign highlighting the grassroots community leaders of the movement to create healing and peace in neighborhoods across the five boroughs.

An initiative of the City’s Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS), the Crisis Management System (CMS) launched in 2017 through the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) as a network of local providers.

CMS deploys teams of credible messengers — community members whose backgrounds allow them to connect with and motivate those at-risk — to 21 sites where they mediate conflicts on the street and connect high-risk individuals to services, which include a year-round employment program, mental health services, and trauma counseling.

“Our partners with the Crisis Management System have been essential in how New York City addresses public health crises, with community leaders working to keep their neighbors safe from both gun violence and COVID-19,” said Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

“As our city and nation wrestle with how we address systemic disparities in public safety, our office remains committed to forging and supporting models centered in the voices and lived experience of our residents,” continued Glazer.

The more than 150 violence interrupters and community organizers that work with CMS partners, have handed out approximately 50,000 hand sanitizers, 65,000 protective gloves, and 285,000 masks in some of the communities hit hardest by COVID-19.

The more than 150 violence interrupters and community organizers that work with CMS partners, have handed out approximately 50,000 hand sanitizers, 65,000 protective gloves, and 285,000 masks in some of the communities hit hardest by COVID-19.

Amid the COVID-19 health crisis, Mayor Bill de Blasio further invested in CMS, empowering violence interrupters and outreach workers who have built trust with neighbors to help protect residents from the Coronavirus through education and personal protective equipment (PPE) distribution.

Photo credit: Tracy Morgan and actress Rosario Dawson.

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