William J Rose

Curtis Sliwa
Founder & CEO - Guardian Angels
Radio Talk Show Host & Media Personality

In the late 1970’s New York City was a modern day equivalent of the Wild West. Murder and violent crime was the norm. A trip on the Subway was an exercise in urban survival. Residents of the City resigned themselves to the reality as the politicians and police seemed powerless. However, a young man from Brooklyn, a former Jesuit student, felt someone had to do something. So he stepped forward. He knew that the City he was born in, the City he loved, deserved better. So Curtis Sliwa acted. What started as a group of him and a dozen other dedicated volunteers riding the subways of New York to serve as protectors of everyday law-abiding citizens grew into the “Guardian Angels” that residents of the Big Apple have come to know and love. With their distinctive Red Berets, they are as New York as Central Park or a potato knish. They operate under the motto “we dare to care” and have proved it over and over though the years, in some cases with their lives.

These days the Guardian Angels have Chapters in Fourteen Countries and over one hundred thirty cities. While the original hometown group of thirteen has grown to thousands across the globe the mission has not changed: to make a positive change in the community by involving members of our communities to step forward and take an active role. While the classic street patrols are the lifeblood of the organization, we all know that reaching the youth in our neighborhoods, especially the most at risk, is crucial, so once again the Guardian Angels is meeting the need. The “Junior Angels” program, their Youth Outreach programs, and their Washington Heights Community Center, provides help for kids with everything from homework to nutrition while getting them actively involved in their community.  The “Perv Busters” patrol has been amazingly successful in its outreach about sexual predators on the loose in the MTA to straphangers as sexual crimes on the subway continue to skyrocket.   And the Guardian Angels “Animal Protection” program, led by wife Nancy Sliwa, has created a new element for a group so well-known already for protecting the most vulnerable citizens, but now the four-legged critters have been taken under their wings, too.

Professionally, Sliwa has been a radio broadcaster for more than two decades, most of that time on 770-WABC where he began his career in 1990.  Today, Curtis continues to broadcast on WABC, Monday-Friday from 12-3pm with co-host Rita Cosby.  And in September 2016, Sliwa launched a takeover of the Reform Party of New York and was elected unanimously by the membership as Chairman of the Party and remains in that role today.   In every element of his life Curtis has lived by lessons learned from his parents so many years ago – “One thing I was always taught was, whatever you say, set the example first.  You have to exemplify what you are asking other people to do 10 times more, and you have to stay true to it.”