20th District





Ean Fullerton

(718) 284-4700

(347) 770-5054


Brooklyn, NY – May, 2016


Reflection of Hope Awards Luncheon

to Recognize Mental Health Leaders at John Jay College

Thursday, May 26th 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM

First Lady of NYC Chirlane McCray to be Among Honorees

WHO: NYS Senator Jesse Hamilton

NYC Public Advocate Letitia James

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams

NYS Assemblyman Marcos Crespo

NYC Councilmember Andrew Cohen

NYC Councilmember Corey Johnson

Honorees – mental health and developmental disabilities advocates

WHAT: Reflection of Hope Awards Luncheon
WHEN: Thursday, May 26

12:00 PM to 3:00 PM

WHERE: John Jay College

524 West 59th Street (Btw 10th Ave and 11th Ave) New York, NY


Brooklyn, NY – NYS Senator Jesse Hamilton joined by partners NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, NYS Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, NYC Councilmember Andrew Cohen, and NYC Councilmember Corey Johnson, aiming to recognize the contributions of individuals and organizations making a positive contribution in the fields of mental health and developmental disabilities, will host the inaugural Reflection of Hope Awards and Luncheon on Thursday, May 26, 2016 at John Jay College from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

The program will include a musical performance, a poetry performance, awards presentation to the 22 honorees, including First Lady of NYC Chirlane McCray, and a roundtable discussion touching upon Mental Health First Aid in schools, building upon ThriveNYC, advancing wellness, and working together to erase stigma.

The awards also aim to recognize Mental Health Month 2016, highlighting the contributions of individuals and organizations that have contributed to the well-being of New Yorkers. Comprised of the Inspiring Hope, Pioneer, Student, Advocacy, and Program Innovation Awards, we will honor: the achievements of individuals with mental illnesses and addictions and their families; the clinicians and treatment teams that care for them; the advocates and leaders who tell their stories to educate and encourage community support; and the organizations that promote health and wellness across the lifespan and build healthy communities.

The awards are hosted by NYS Senator Jesse Hamilton in partnership with NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, NYS Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, NYC Councilmember Andrew Cohen, and NYC Councilmember Corey Johnson.

The awards are sponsored by Humana and Emblem Health.

NYS Senator Jesse Hamilton said, “As Ranking Member of the NYS Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, I have met so many passionate advocates, caring professionals, and selfless family members working to help New Yorkers. The Reflection of Hope Awards shines a spotlight on people and organizations whose work goes, all too often, unrecognized or underappreciated by the wider community. It is my honor to join with colleagues and conscientious community residents to highlight these honorees. Young people, seasoned professionals, or community-based groups, these honorees reflect the best of New York. We raise awareness as to the critical areas of mental health and disabilities their work touches upon and we celebrate their achievements on behalf of fellow New Yorkers.”

“With a growing population of New Yorkers suffering from mental illness, it is more critical than ever to fight the stigmas associated with mental health,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “Our health care professionals have led the way in creating safe spaces and acceptance for New Yorkers and their families who struggle with these issues that are too often considered shameful. Today, and every day, we thank them for all of their service and compassion as we continue to strive for a loving and inclusive New York City.

“We strive for a supportive, inclusive city – and it’s important we honor those who, through their work and their example, have advanced that cause,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Reducing stigma, raising awareness, and improving treatment and outcomes are achievements that deserve recognition. The leaders, advocates, and practitioners we honor today are living our ideals with their work.”

“When I think of the distinguished men and women honored at the Reflection of Hope Awards, I think of the hope reflected in their faces and their commitment to supporting the full participation of individuals with mental illnesses and substance abuse problems, as well as their families, into our civil society,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “These are courageous advocates and community leaders who have worked to shatter the stigma about mental illness and addiction, expanding critical resources to individuals in need. Their actions affirm our good faith with all the people of Brooklyn and tell them that, whatever their problems: ‘you are not alone.’”

According to Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Chair of the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, “The work of those being honored today have made our society more compassionate, tolerant and optimistic.  Their work represents the fundamental corner stones of knowledge turned to effort and policy that improves all our lives and of countless more.  It is an honor to share this moment of celebrated achievement with these dedicated humanists and their families.”

“Mental health is entering a new era. The shame, silence and stigma that have surrounded mental illness are losing their stronghold because individuals like First Lady Chirlane McCray and the other honorees are changing the culture of mental health,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen.  “Their efforts have led to groundbreaking plans and needed resources being directed towards the field of mental health.  I thank Senator Hamilton for organizing this ceremony and I join in him in recognizing these outstanding individuals.”

Full list of Reflection of Hope Awards Honorees

  • Inspiring Hope Awards

o   First Lady Chirlane McCray, Visionary, ThriveNYC

o   Brandon Marshall, Co-Founder, Project 375

o   Michi Marshall, Co-Founder, Project 375

  • Pioneer Awards

o   Andrea Smyth, Executive Director, NYS Coalition for Children’s Behavioral Health

o   Carmen Collado, Chief Networking and Relationship Officer, ICL

o   Glenn Liebman, CEO, Mental Health Association in New York State

o   Jasmin Thomas, Clinical Assistant Professor, SUNY Downstate

o   Keishaia Griffith, Guidance Counselor, P.S. 284 The Lew Wallace School

o   Michaela Angela Davis, Writer and Image Activist

o   Kinsey McManus, Services Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness NYC-Metro

o   Dr. Sidney Hankerson, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University

o   Terrie Williams, Author, Black Pain

o   Winifred Schiff, Associate Executive Director for Legislative Affairs, InterAgency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies

  • Program Innovation Awards

o   Brooklyn Community Services

o   Chinese-American Family Alliance for Mental Health

o   Elmy’s Special Services

o   Families on the Move

o   NYC Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-NYC)

o   Urban Justice Center Mental Health Project

  • John Jay College Student Advocacy Awards

o   Eilleen Molina

o   Salma Abdou

o   Graziella Martinez


About Senator Hamilton:
Senator Jesse Hamilton has spent his entire career helping people, including over 15 years as President of the School Board and  District Leader. He is a husband, father, and public servant delivering and fighting for one of the most diverse Senate districts in New York State.



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