The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) announced today seven 2019 Voices in Action Award Recipients, who will be honored for their commitment to a national culture where we are all safe, empowered and free from domestic violence later this month at NCADV's conference. Awardees include Nusrat Ameen (Lifetime Impact Award), Representatives Karen Bass and Brian Fitzpatrick (Congressional Hero), Neisha Himes (Survivor Activist Award), Sean Kirst (Media), Representative Gwen Moore (Survivor Activist Award), and Allison Randall (Policy Award). Awards will be presented at NCADV's Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 at 7:30pm in Washington, D.C.
“Every year we take a moment to honor those who have made an impact and continue to address domestic violence. We are always impressed by the nominations we receive and the myriad of people doing that work at the caliber of which we’ve seen. It is always a difficult decision, but we are so happy that these seven people are being acknowledged for being heroes/sheroes,” said Ruth M. Glenn, President/CEO of NCADV.
Voices in Action marks the 18th national domestic violence conference NCADV has hosted over the past 35 years and is known for its cutting-edge content and survivor-centric focus. The 2019 conference will focus on how advocates do the work in the domestic violence field. The conference is intentional in that it is convened to delve deeper into the causes of violence and its impact and effect on individuals, communities and our nation.
For more information about Voices in Action and NCADV, visit www.ncadv.org
Nusrat Ameen (Voices in Action Lifetime Impact Award)
Nusrat Ameen is the Senior Director of Legal Services at Daya, a Houston nonprofit serving South Asian survivors. She has been working on gender rights since 1999. Dr. Ameen is also a lawyer and academic and currently a Visiting Scholar at Rice University’s Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality. Dr. Ameen recruits and manages Daya's Legal Clinic, oversees legal advocacy and immigration cases. She holds a PhD in Domestic Violence and Law from the UK. Previously, she was a law professor in Bangladesh and a Judicial Assistant to the Chief Justice of the Bangladesh Supreme Court. She has also served as a consultant on gender rights for various NGOs and international organizations. She is a Department of Justice representative and sits on the Crime Victims Committee of Houston’s Immigration Collaborative. Her book Wife Abuse in Bangladesh: An Unrecognized Offense (University Press 2005) has been cited extensively worldwide, including in the UK Home Office’s COIS Report.
Rep. Karen Bass (Voices in Action Congressional Hero Award)
Representative Karen Bass (D-CA-37) is a champion for victims and survivors of gender-based violence, child abuse, and other forms of violence. She co-authored H.R.1585, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019, and shepherded it through the Crime Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee. It passed the full House Judiciary Committee a week later and then the full House in early April. She has a long history of advocating for survivors, for marginalized communities, and for children and youth.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Voices in Action Congressional Hero Award)
Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01) has devoted his life to public service and public safety. Before joining Congress, he was a Special Assistant US Attorney, an FBI Supervisory Special Agent, and National Director for the FBI’s Campaign Finance and Election Crimes Enforcement Program. As a Member of Congress, he has been a champion for victims and survivors of gender-based violence, co-authorizing H.R.1585, the Violence Against Women Act of 2019, which passed the House of Representatives in early April. He also authored the Combat Online Predators Act and supports other important legislation to protect survivors, including a bill to keep guns out of the hands of adjudicated domestic abusers and stalkers.
Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick is serving his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 1st District which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He is a former FBI Supervisory Special Agent, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
Throughout his tenure, Congressman Fitzpatrick has made domestic and gender-based violence prevention a top priority. Along with Congresswoman Karen Bass, he introduced the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019. Additionally, he introduced the HALT Campus Sexual Violence Act with Congresswoman Jackie Speier and cosponsored the Violence Against Women Health Act of 2019. As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he is also proud to promote women’s empowerment initiatives across the globe.
Neisha Himes (Voices in Action Survivor Activist Award)
Neisha Himes, is a survivor of domestic violence and devoted advocate. After leaving the toxic relationship in late 2012, she began telling her story years later via her gift of Spoken Word. Known to the poetry community as ‘Beautiful Dizaster’, Neisha has featured on many stages and often uses her talent as a method for bringing awareness. Along with her speaking engagements, she began volunteering at a local shelter where she created a journaling group to encourage self-expression and healing through the art of writing. In August 2016 she founded G.R.O.W. Foundation and later joined a local prosecution office as their Domestic Violence Victim Witness Advocate. In honor of her work, Neisha was recognized by Investigation Discovery as their ‘Inspire A Difference: Hero of the Month’, featured on PBS, and the recipient of the 2019 YWCA "Women of Distinction" Award.
Sean Kirst (Voices in Action Media Award)
Sean Kirst is an award-winning journalist, author, and public speaker who started his journalism career in 1974 as a 14 year-old stringer with the Dunkirk Evening Observer. He spent two summers as a full-time intern there covering many beats and received his first byline at this paper. After graduating from SUNY Fredonia with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1981, Kirst wrote for the City Newspaper in Rochester, New York for two years and then for the Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, New York for three years.
In 1988, Kirst moved to Syracuse, New York where he began his 27-year career as a reporter and journalist with The Post-Standard/Syracuse Media Group. Kirst started as a general assignment reporter, spent a bit of time as a sports reporter and then landed as a metropolitan columnist from 1996-2015. According to Mike McAndrew, Kirst’s colleague at The Post-Standard/Syracuse Media Group, “As a columnist, Sean worked harder than anyone in the newsroom to discover interesting people in Upstate New York. Then he introduced them to the public using his unparalleled writing skills. For decades, Sean was the reason that many people bought The Post-Standard newspaper or visited syracuse.com. He was the brand.”
Links to examples of Kirst’s writing which focus on sharing the truths of survivors are listed below. Each example conveys a deepness of character that is finely crafted by an expert story teller.
“Beyond Baseball Rod Carew's quest to save young lives”
'Don't hurt my mommy': Domestic violence, white ribbons and the chance for breaking free
Language as a minefield: For now, in the Fine case, the need for restraint
A chance for 'Coaching Boys into Men:' Wednesday, a program to help coaches change young lives
‘Jump Around': In too many sports arenas, an anthem celebrates violence against women
Joe Ehrmann: Amid the Bernie Fine investigation, do right by children now
Linda Neely: Lessons in remembrance
Owning our behavior: Questions raised by Mel Gibson
State Trooper Sayeh Rivazfar: An ordeal beyond words, a life of grace and honor
Wendy Dirk and Linda Neely: They must be remembered
Kirst’s work as a columnist has led to numerous awards including a U.S. Department of Justice Award for Sensitivity to Victims of Violent Crime (1998), The Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Writing (2009), the New York State Associated Press Association first place Award for Column Writing (2014) and also in 2014, Kirst was selected to earn a place on the Syracuse Press Club Wall of Distinction, its highest honor for career achievement.
Kirst has also authored three books, “Moonfixer: The Basketball Journey of Earl Lloyd,” “The Ashes of Lou Gehrig and Other Baseball Essays,” and most recently, “The Soul of Central New York,” which includes a collection of his human interest columns from The Post-Standard.
Kirst lives in Syracuse with his wife, Nora, a teacher in the Syracuse City School District. They have three adult children; Sarah, Seamus and Liam.
Representative Gwen Moore (Voices in Action Survivor Activist Award)
Congresswoman Gwen Moore was elected to represent Wisconsin’s 4th Congressional District in 2004, making her the first African American elected to Congress from the State of Wisconsin. She is a member of the esteemed House Ways and Means Committee, which is the oldest committee in the United States Congress. She serves on the Oversight, Select Revenue Measures, and Worker and Family Support Subcommittees.
A champion for women, Congresswoman Moore served as the Democratic Co-Chair of the Congressional Women’s Caucus from 2011 to 2013. In this capacity and through her subsequent work, she has become a leader on issues like health insurance reform, women's health, maternal and infant mortality, and domestic violence – leading the charge to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act over the past two Congresse.
Allison Randall (Voices in Action Policy Award)
Allison Randall is currently the Vice President for Policy and Emerging Issues at the National Network to End Domestic Violence. In her eleven years of service for the federal government, she served as Chief of Staff of the Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice, also serving in the White House in the Office of the Vice President and at the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program Office in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Before that, Allison served as Director of Policy at the National Network to End Domestic Violence. She began her legislative and policy career at the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
About The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) envisions a national culture in which we are all safe, empowered and free from domestic violence. NCADV’s mission is to lead, mobilize and raise our voices to support efforts that demand a change of conditions that lead to domestic violence such as patriarchy, privilege, racism, sexism, and classism. We are dedicated to supporting survivors, holding offenders accountable and supporting advocates.