October 24, 2017
Press Release
Members of Congress Held Press Conference to Highlight Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Life and Legacy of Washington Heights Bride, Gladys Ricart, and Victims Around the Nation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) was joined by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi; Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA-38), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus; Rep. José E. Serrano (NY-15); Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18); Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23); Rep. Robin Kelly (IL-02); Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI-12); Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12); Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26); and Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY-09) for a press conference to raise awareness of domestic violence and remember the life of Washington Heights bride-to-be Gladys Ricart and domestic violence victims and survivors around the nation.

“Today, we stand united with the family of Gladys Ricart, survivors and advocates in support of victims of domestic violence and continue to lend our collective voices to stop the abuse that impacts each of our communities,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat. 

“Freedom from abuse is a basic human right,” said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.  “We are all grateful for the leadership of Congressman Espaillat, New York Latinas Against Domestic Violence, Brides Marchers and all the activists fighting for a future free from the scourge of domestic violence.  Together, we must honor the life of Gladys Ricart and all victims of abuse with activism, action and courage.”

“By speaking out and offering a helping hand, we can end the cycle of domestic abuse. For far too long countless of domestic violence victims have been left to suffer in silence. That time is over. We must break the silence,” said House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Linda T. Sánchez. “It’s our responsibility to continue talking about domestic abuse and teach young boys and girls that any sort of violence, be it physical, verbal, or emotional, is wrong and has no place in our society. We owe to domestic violence victims the assurance that they are not alone, and that we will keep making our voices louder to raise awareness of this important issue.”

“In New York City alone, the NYPD responds to nearly 300,000 domestic violence incidents each year. It is time to stop the abuse and stand in solidarity with all the victims who oftentimes suffer in silence.  I was proud to join Rep. Espaillat and Brides March to raise awareness on an issue that has an impact not only on women but in many cases also their children.  As the lead Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Department of Justice, I will continue to fight for VAWA funding to help prevent domestic violence and support survivors,” said Rep. José E. Serrano.

“During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it is imperative that we rededicate ourselves to the unfinished work of ensuring that every individual can live in safety, security, and without fear of domestic violence,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.

“I was proud to stand with Congressman Espaillat, my colleagues and brides who are speaking out against domestic violence. Far too often, women, men and families suffer domestic violence in silence because they do not have the resources to make themselves safe and break the cycle,” said Rep. Robin Kelly. “It’s time for Congress to act and support women and families escaping the ever-escalating cycle of domestic violence. We must also act to prevent stalkers, abusive boyfriends and convicted domestic abusers from accessing firearms.”

“Every individual deserves to feel safe and live in homes and communities that are free from violence and abuse,” said Rep. Debbie Dingell.  “I thank Congressman Espaillat and the brides for raising awareness throughout this country.  The Brides March helps give voice to those who don’t have a voice and create communities without violence.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime, a number that is even greater in minority communities. The purpose of today’s press event was to raise awareness and address initiatives to help support victims of domestic violence in communities around the nation. New York Latinas Against Domestic Violence participated as part of the organization’s annual “Brides March” vigil in honor of murdered Washington Heights, New York bride-to-be Gladys Ricart, a victim of domestic violence who lost her life tragically on her wedding day.

View photos from today’s press event. Click here to watch video of today’s press conference at the steps of the U.S. Capitol.       

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First elected to Congress in 2016, Rep. Adriano Espaillat is serving his first term in Congress where he serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and the House Select Committee on Small Business.  He is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and serves in a leadership role as CHC Freshman Representative to the Democratic Caucus. He is also chairman of the CHC Task Force for Transportation, Infrastructure and Housing.  Rep. Espaillat’s Congressional District includes Harlem, East Harlem, northern Manhattan and the north-west Bronx. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at

Media inquiries: Candace Randle Person at