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De Blasio adds Pierre-Louis to administration

Stephon Johnson | 1/23/2014, 3 p.m.
Two new commissioners named: Dr. Mary Bassett is appointed Health Commissioner and Rose Pierre-Louis is appointed Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence. nyc.gov photo

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio continued to add a few more names to his administration last week when he announced the appointment of Rose Pierre-Louis as commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.

In the same news conference at City Hall, de Blasio also named Dr. Mary Bassett the commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

“Protecting the health and safety of New Yorkers is our No. 1 priority,” said de Blasio during the news conference. “We have built a progressive and diverse team committed to reaching every neighborhood and caring for its people—including its most vulnerable. Dr. Bassett and Ms. Pierre-Louis have the decades of experience and the deep commitment to public service needed to take on that sacred charge.”

Pierre-Louis has a history of advocating for low-income women and families in general who are neglected by society at large. Early in her career at Queens Legal Services, she developed workshops with the goal of empowering domestic violence victims in obtaining divorces from their abusers without having attorneys step in. Her career has also taken her from the Network for Women’s Services to Sanctuary for Families and to Harlem Legal Services. She held leadership positions at every stop, including domestic violence coordinator at Harlem Legal Services. Recently, she served as deputy borough president of Manhattan.

A recognized leader in the Haitian community, she helped found the Haitian Roundtable, an organization that helps Haitian-American professionals and helps increase Haiti’s global profile. She also held chair positions at the Women’s Alliance of Harlem and the African-American Task Force on Violence Against Women and served as an adjunct professor at Fordam University’s School of Law for six years.

At City Hall, Pierre-Louis told reporters that she was up to the task.

“I have dedicated my life to fighting for the safety of women and families going through the deepest crises any of us could ever face,” said Pierre-Louis. “What I’ve learned is that each of us has a role to play in preventing violence, reporting it and helping victims through it. Our mission is to leave no family behind and put the full weight of city government in the corner of our most vulnerable residents. I’m honored to take on this responsibility.”