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Mayor Adams appoints Ronald Porcelli as Director of NYC Unity Project, champions LGBTQ+ Youth support

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In a significant step forward for New York City’s LGBTQ+ community, Mayor Eric Adams today announced the appointment of Ronald Porcelli, Esq. as the new director of the NYC Unity Project.

A dedicated advocate, Porcelli, who previously served as the acting director, will now officially lead this vital initiative within the Mayor’s Office of Equity and Racial Justice (MOERJ). The NYC Unity Project works across city agencies to enhance the lives of LGBTQ+ New Yorkers through coordinated outreach, engagement, and strategic programming.

In tandem with this appointment, Mayor Adams revealed that the NYC Unity Project will oversee the city’s Family Acceptance of LGBTQ+ Youth Initiative. This pioneering program aims to promote acceptance and support for LGBTQ+ youth among their families and communities.

“Ronald Porcelli is a true public servant who leads with their lived experience to make a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ New Yorkers,” said Mayor Adams. “Their journey from senior advisor to director exemplifies their commitment and ability to transform advocacy into actionable policies. The Family Acceptance of LGBTQ+ Youth Initiative reaffirms our city’s reputation as a haven for all, especially young people in need of support.”

Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Ana J. Almanzar echoed this sentiment, highlighting Porcelli’s role in ensuring every LGBTQ+ New Yorker is seen and heard. “Ronald’s leadership in the NYC Unity Project has been instrumental in providing comprehensive services to LGBTQ+ New Yorkers,” said Almanzar. “Their continued work will further justice and acceptance for all.”

Ronald Porcelli, a Latinx non-binary individual, brings a personal connection to their role, understanding the challenges faced by the community. “The NYC Unity Project is more than a job; it’s a mission close to my heart,” said Porcelli. “As director, I aim to expand our programming and forge new partnerships, ensuring that New York City remains a beacon of support for LGBTQ+ individuals.”

Porcelli’s efforts have already made a significant impact, from launching health equity and career exploration programs to building public, private, and community partnerships. Chief Equity Officer and MOERJ Commissioner Sideya Sherman praised Porcelli’s dedication, expressing confidence in their ability to innovate and collaborate to serve the LGBTQ+ community effectively.

Developed in partnership with MOERJ and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), the Family Acceptance of LGBTQ+ Youth Initiative aims to address the detrimental effects of family rejection on LGBTQ+ youth. Research indicates that supportive family environments lead to better mental health and overall well-being for LGBTQ+ youth. This initiative provides educational sessions, counseling support groups, and role model stories to foster acceptance among parents, caregivers, and community members.

“Good health starts with a loving, accepting family,” said DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “The NYC Unity Project’s success directly contributes to our city’s health. We are grateful for their leadership and commitment.”

The announcement has garnered widespread support from various city officials and community leaders. Keith Howard, Commissioner of the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), highlighted the NYC Unity Project’s instrumental role in lifting the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community. Annabel Palma, Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, emphasized the importance of the Family Acceptance of LGBTQ+ Youth Initiative in fostering dialogues about gender identity and sexuality.

Ronald Porcelli’s appointment and the launch of the Family Acceptance Initiative mark a pivotal moment for LGBTQ+ rights in New York City. As the city continues to champion equity and inclusivity, these efforts ensure that every LGBTQ+ individual, particularly youth, can thrive in a supportive and affirming environment.

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