Dear Members & Friends
What a year. It's hard to put into words how much we accomplished together in 2018. I always take pride in how much good GOAL does for our members, our community and in furtherance of our mission, but this year we went to new heights.
We started the year with aggressive (and successful!) representation of our member and friend, Andrew Kara, raising awareness of the discrimination he faced in Bergen County because he was--and is--unafraid to be himself.
We held our most successful annual gala in recent memory, for which we once again needed an even larger space than past years and for which we still sold out our available tables.
Pride at 1 Police Plaza again led to one of the most diverse and unapologetically queer community gatherings in NYPD headquarters, and we had the privilege of honoring a 9/11 hero whose humility, dedication and pure-heartedness forces us all to ask ourselves whether our service to each other and our community can be taken to new heights.
Our history, our struggles and our advocacy were honored when "The Journey: GOAL" was featured at DOC NYC, the largest documentary film festival in the country. Not to mention the documentary itself was a first-of-its-kind partnership with the NYPD, who wholeheartedly poured time and resources into the project alongside GOAL.
We helped found new GOALs in other states. We joined the LGBTQ community in celebrating the lives of our fallen members at World AIDS Day. And we brought critical healthcare issues front and center at the New York City Council.
Along the way, incredible friends of the organization lifted us up. Elvis Duran, New York's favorite voice in the AM, again gave generously to GOAL to keep up our fight for others. Our partners at Boxers, Gym Sports Bar, The Stonewall Inn. Also our sincere gratitude to Jon Tilli (Deutshe Bank), Tommy Hennigan and Stella Fitzpatrick (Event Permits), Bruce Pachter and the entire Heritage of Pride Family, Lisa Kartzman (Shake Shack), Eric Einstein (Pieces and Hardware Bar), John Greco (Phillip Marie), the NYC PBA, DEA and SBA, The NYC Police Reserve Association and so many other individuals, groups and organizations that support us so generously!
Where do we go from here in 2019? Well, the blueprint is already laid out: in August, we began our work to celebrate World Pride in New York City, which coincides beautifully with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Through the World Pride Committee, we are launching a robust program for any and all criminal justice professionals who want to come to New York City, Where It All Began, and celebrate World Pride and Stonewall 50.
That work and much more, yet to be done, is only going to be done because all of us work together, and I'm excited to get that going in 2019!
I would be remiss if I didn't add a final few words of thanks. Our Executive Board is the glue that keeps us together and pushes these projects over the finish line. And we'll be welcoming a new member to the Board in the upcoming year - Christopher Chu of NYC Department of Correction! Chris will not only bring other agencies back onto the Board, but he'll be stepping in for a true lion, someone who will always be a perfect example of the heart of GOAL: Lydia Figueroa. Lydia left the Board to pour her time into her new assignment with the Warrants Section, and we couldn't be happier for her!
I'd like to leave you with a simple sentiment: Thank You. Truly, from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of a grateful Executive Board. Your time, your effort and your camaraderie is what makes GOAL so special.
Have a Happy, Healthy, and Safe New Year! Time to ring in 2019 and an even better year for GOAL NY!
Brian E. Downey