PAIN-2-POWER PERSON OF THE WEEK: CURTIS SLIWA
This week’s Pain-2-Power Person of the Week is Curtis Sliwa. Curtis, who, full disclosure, is a friend of mine, is a radio talk show host on WABC-AM and a candidate for Mayor of New York City. But he is also the Founder of the Guardian Angels, the nonprofit New York City-based group responsible for launching hundreds of unarmed citizen safety patrol chapters in 130 cities in the United States and 30 countries around the world.
The Guardian Angels don’t just intervene to stop violent crime (which they do, again and again), they also motivate communities to join together to prevent drug dependence and other scourges.
Sliwa has faced plenty of adversity and controversy in his life and has never stopped pursuing his goal of making the world a better, safer place. He’s been married four times. He’s survived prostate cancer. He’s also survived a kidnapping and attempted murder.
Another interesting fact about Sliwa: As a kid he was a newspaper boy delivering the New York Daily Newsdoor-to-door. He was named “Newsboy of the Year” and a trip to the White House after saving people from a burning building while on his newspaper route.
For years, Sliwa famously used his radio platform to call out John Gotti, then head of the Gambino family, along with his cohorts, for being murderers, drug dealers and “degenerates.” That resulted in Sliwa being shot several times in 1992 in the groin and legs. While most people might be dissuaded from criticizing a reputed organized crime family, Sliwa was not. After extensive surgery, he returned to the radio right away and renewed his assertions that the Gambino family was profiting from crime.
Sliwa went on to testify against Junior Gotti, John Gotti’s son, who was charged with his attempted murder. Three separate trials resulted in three hung juries. Presumably, not everyone was as ready to take on the Gotti family and face the likely consequences.
Think about that: After being kidnapped and shot several times (and dumped on the streets of New York City to die in a pool of his own blood), Sliwa not only lived, but refused to back down. He has never backed down. I don’t think he understands what backing down even means.
Now, I don’t hold anyone to that standard. I’m not sure I could hold myself to that standard. But as an example of not giving up and never abandoning one’s goals, Sliwa is hard to beat.
Sliwa told me that everything he has faced in life has only made him stronger. How about that for Pain-2-Power?
Dr. Keith Ablow
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