Center for Victims recognizes advocates during annual celebration

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Photo by Justin Criado

Pittsburgh’s Center for Victims held the 10th annual Peace It Together celebration Thursday, March 12 at the Priory hotel in Historic Deutschtown, recognizing 16 men, woman and organizations that promote peace and end violence throughout Allegheny County. 

By Justin Criado

Pittsburgh’s Center for Victims held the 10th annual Peace It Together celebration Thursday, March 12 at the Priory hotel in Historic Deutschtown.

In all, 16 men, women and organizations were recognized for their work in promoting peace and ending violence in Allegheny County. The award recipients included Art Rooney II of the Pittsburgh Steelers; Roberto Clemente, Jr. of RBJ Global Impact; and actress/activist Keshia Knight Pulliam, who best known for her childhood role as Rudy Huxtable on the sitcom The Cosby Show in the late 1980s and early 90s, for their roles in the center’s Men Ending Violence (MEN) Challenge & Pledge, which filmed a commercial last year that has aired on WPXI. Rooney, Clemente and Pulliam were unable to attend the event, according to persons that accepted the awards on their behalves.

Perry high school senior Thomas Graham was a part of the MEN challenge commercial, which was designed to help engage more men in the center’s violence prevention programs and speak out about violence against women and girls.

“I basically stand up for everybody who won’t stand up for themselves or what they believe in,” said Graham, a Troy Hill native.  “Some people don’t think it’s right or not cool enough, it doesn’t matter to me.”

Graham is the president of Perry’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) program, and is an advocate for younger people to get involved with such issues.

“It goes way further than just domestic abuse. It deals with drunk driving and drugs and everything,” Graham said. “I stand for trying to make decisions about life and trying to make things better.”

Diane Dahm, the director of prevention education and outreach at the center, said Graham has helped spread awareness about the center and domestic abuse issues throughout Perry and has gotten other students to join him.

“Thomas has been a leader at Perry high school and he’s dedicated to bringing students together about speaking out against violence,” Dahm said. “I think it’s great because Thomas is a well-liked student at Perry. People know who he is and he’s able to recruit others so it becomes acceptable to talk about these issues.”

Dr. Rahmon Hart of Manchester also received an award for his work as a community organizer with the Iota Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and Rivers Casino, where he is the director of community relations.

“I just want to really recognize the Center for Victims and all they do. They have basically positioned me to accept this award,” Hart said. “I’m only standing here because of those two organizations and all the hard work of everyone involved.”

The United States Steel Corporation, Castle Shannon Police Department, and Dr. Elizabeth Miller of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh-UPMC were also recognized, amongst others.

DSC_9282Photo by Justin Criado

Perry high school senior Thomas Graham was recognized during the Center for Victims 10th annual Peace It Together celebration Thursday, March 12 at the Priory hotel in Historic Deutschtown for his involvement in the Men Ending Violence (MEN) Challenge & Pledge, which filmed a commercial last year that has aired on WPXI.

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