NEW YORK, NY (November 4, 2016) — One year ago today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) celebrated a historic win for all veterans when IAVA-led legislation created an unprecedented, permanent New York City Department of Veterans Services (DVS). Yesterday, IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff and local members attended the second annual New York City Flag Ceremony to Honor Veterans at New York City Hall, where DVS Commissioner Loree Sutton shared welcomed news that the new Department now has over 20 staff, as progress continues toward implementing a greatly-expanded $3M budget and NYC being a model for a city’s commitment to veterans. Despite intense opposition to the legislation from Mayor deBlasio’s office, IAVA led a powerful coalition and grassroots movement to make DVS a reality. The history is summarized at www.IAVA.org/NYCVets
“The establishment of the Department of Veterans Services in New York City was a historic moment for the veterans community and the city of New York. One year later, it now stands as a model for all big cities in America. This victory would not have happened without the tenacious advocacy of IAVA members and allies, who banded together and spent two years advocating for a department that would finally focus on the city’s large and dynamic veteran population,” said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of IAVA. “It is incredibly validating to see that the years that our members and staff spent on the steps of City Hall, calling for change, led to staff of dozens at department with a $3 million budget. One year ago we were at City Hall protesting, yesterday, we were there celebrating. We are grateful to the city council members who stepped forward and led the fight alongside our members, and who understand that it is their duty to stand up for our veterans. In particular, we want to recognize the leadership of Councilman Eric Ulrich, Public Advocate Tish James and Kristen Rouse and the NYC Veterans Alliance. We hope that other cities and states will follow New York City’s lead by stepping up and establishing similar departments across the country. We stand by to work in partnership with General Sutton and her team at DVS and we look forward to celebrating this historic victory and a brighter future ahead for all veterans next week on Veterans Day in NYC and nationwide.”
During Veterans Week, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) will lead Veterans Day community events across the country with one goal: to unite all Americans behind our nation’s 22 million veterans. In New York City, more than 800 IAVA members and supporters will march in the New York City Veterans Day parade and thousands more will gather at dozens of events across the country from: Hartford, CT to San Antonio, TX to Las Vegas, Nevada. To learn more visit www.iava.org/veterans-day
IAVA is the leading voice of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in Washington and communities nationwide. Led by veterans, our non-partisan advocacy work ensures that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families are supported, protected and never forgotten. Since 2004, IAVA has been a juggernaut in Washington, creating and driving the national conversation on issues ranging from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) to women veteran issues to veteran unemployment. IAVA’s dedicated staff in Washington, D.C. leads this work, advocating on behalf of our members daily. We also train our member veterans to be powerful advocates for their community.
IAVA is focused on results and has delivered historic impacts. Every year since 2007, in an increasingly gridlocked political environment and with an extremely limited operating budget, IAVA has passed at least one major piece of groundbreaking legislation for our community ranging from the Post-9/11 GI Bill (2008), to the VOW to Hire Heroes Act (2011), to The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act (2015).
See IAVA’s Advocacy Program Digital Hub the full list of victories and to learn more about how you can help.
Note to media: Email email@example.com or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA leadership.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 15th anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 8,000 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.