Stephanie McGraw grew up in New York City Housing Authority projects and lived with abuse as a child and intimate partner violence as an adult. She survived 30 years of abusive relationships and a resulting stay in a domestic violence shelter. Leaving the shelter and growing out of her pain, Stephanie returned to her Harlem roots, where no one was talking about real life issues related to domestic violence.
In this environment, Stephanie grew a burning desire to live a mission of helping poor victims of color journey from devastation to safety and independence. So she gave birth to WARM (We All Really Matter, a 501 ( c ) 3 non-profit organization) in 2010 to increase community awareness about domestic violence, empower victims to help themselves, and develop community responses that make our wonderful city a safer place.
For 11 years Stephanie regularly has helped victims escape from homes located on blocks police acknowledge as among the most dangerous in NYC and with perpetrators present. During the pandemic, domestic violence services have been closed or greatly limited while the need has spiked. During these times, often partnering with NYPD, she continues to inspire WARM to rescue dozens of victims annually and bring them to safety 24/7.
WARM is unique and successful because Stephanie has blended her life lessons with the work, integrating:
A grassroots, client-centered mindset that brings crisis services to wherever victims are
Volunteer survivors who walk side-by-side with victims, sharing their stories of pain to triumph, while victims’ minds and hearts change from “I never mattered and I never will,” to “I do matter,” to “We All Really Matter”
Staff who are a bridge of trust between victims and the criminal justice system
No time limits for support - a free, lifetime 24/7 service partnership; reducing recidivism
What Stephanie does radiates from an internal fire rather than external recognition. At the same time, she feels renewed and further strengthened by ongoing formal validation of her work from local politicians, community organizations, newspapers, a TV station, hospitals, the New York State Senate, and the United Nations.
In a recent honor, Stephanie has been selected to be a member of the Eric Adams transition team.
Founder, W.A.R.M. - We All Really Matter