New York Lawyers for the Public Interest Hosts Panel & Honors Recipients of the 2020 Felix A. Fishman Awards

November 23, 2020

Coronavirus, Criminal Justice, Disability Justice, Environmental Justice, Fishman Awards, Health Justice, News, Policing and Mental Health Crises, Press Release, Sports Equity

Established in 2003, the Felix A. Fishman Awards for Extraordinary Advocacy are given by NYLPI every year to recognize the work of community lawyers and advocates who demonstrate a commitment to expanding access to justice. We have recognized 36 honorees, to date. NYLPI is grateful to the Henry & Lucy Moses Fund for endowing these awards in honor of Felix A. Fishman, who shared our dedication to using the law in service of others.

This year NYLPI proudly honored Carla Rabinowitz, Project Coordinator of Correct Crisis Intervention Today NYC (CCIT-NYC) and Advocacy Coordinator of Community Access; and IntegrateNYC, a youth-led organization that fights segregation and inequality in our schools. NYLPI was proud to honor Carla for her fight to reform New York City’s response to mental health crises and ensure that every New Yorker is treated with dignity and respect, and IntegrateNYC for its work empowering youth to lead the charge for equity and justice in New York City schools.

Unable to celebrate in person, on November 19 NYLPI instead hosted a virtual panel on Community Organizing & Racial Justice in the Age of COVID-19 with Carla, IntegrateNYC student leaders and coaches Obrian Rosario, Dahe Jun, and Devaun Longley, and NYLPI Community Organizer Jenny Veloz, who moderated.

You can view the panel recording on YouTube.

 

N E W S R E L E A S E
For Immediate Release
Contact: Genevieve Friedman
212-784-5709
gfriedman@groupgordon.com

Press Release: New York Lawyers for the Public Interest Hosts Panel & Honors Recipients of the 2020 Felix A. Fishman Awards

Carla Rabinowitz and IntegrateNYC Honored for their Social Justice Leadership in New York City

New York, NY, November 19, 2020New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), a leading civil rights advocacy group for New Yorkers fighting marginalization based on race, poverty, disability, and immigration status, today honored Carla Rabinowitz, Advocacy Coordinator of Community Access and Project Coordinator of Correct Crisis Intervention Today – NYC (CCIT-NYC), and IntegrateNYC, a youth-led organization that stands for equity and justice in our schools, at the 2020 Felix A. Fishman Event.

The Felix A. Fishman Awards are given by NYLPI every year to recognize the work of community lawyers and advocates who demonstrate a commitment to expanding access to justice. The Henry & Lucy Moses Fund endowed these awards in honor of Felix A. Fishman, a former trustee and director who committed his life to using the law to help others. A talented trusts and estates lawyer whose work was guided by an unerring moral compass, Felix A. Fishman was a staunch believer in progressive ethical ideals and considered the capacity to care for others as the true barometer of a successful lawyer.

Due to the pandemic, the annual luncheon broke with tradition this year; unable to convene at the New York City Bar Association, NYLPI transitioned to a virtual event. The panel portion of the event, “Community Organizing & Racial Justice in the Age of COVID-19,” was moderated by NYLPI Environmental Justice Community Organizer Jenny Veloz and welcomed honoree Carla Rabinowitz, as well as IntegrateNYC student organizers and coaches Dahe Jun, Obrian Rosario, and Devaun Longley.

“We are thrilled not only to honor Carla and IntegrateNYC this year, but also to host an important discussion with our honorees about organizing and racial justice in this critical moment,” said McGregor Smyth, Executive Director of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. “The struggle against systemic racism, including its resulting educational inequality and abusive police practices, is urgent and central to any social justice work. Having a chance to have an open dialogue on these issues with Carla, Jenny, Dahe, Obrian, and Devaun – who fight every day to address the systemic inequities in our city – was an honor. NYLPI is proud to continue to work alongside our honorees as we pursue a better future.”

Carla Rabinowitz is a passionate and effective advocate on a wide array of public policy issues affecting New Yorkers with mental health concerns – from housing and adult home reform to employment, job training, and mental health consumer rights. Carla joined Community Access as a Project Liberty Worker in 2002 and has served as the organization’s Advocacy Coordinator since 2004. In this role, she works to increase staff and participant involvement in the political process, publishes regular advocacy updates, brings tenants to Community Board meetings to advocate for neighborhood improvements, and organizes forums that connect elected officials and tenants. Notably, Carla created the annual NYC Mental Health Film Festival, now the oldest and largest festival of its kind in the United States. She also served as President of the Board of New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS), a statewide coalition of people who use and/or provide recovery-oriented community-based mental health services. In 2014, Carla provided invaluable leadership as Project Coordinator for Communities for Crisis Intervention Teams (CCIT-NYC), a New York City coalition of mental health and criminal justice organizations brought together by Community Access. CCIT-NYC has successfully advocated for improved police training and greater police-community partnership to improve responses to crisis situations involving the mentally ill, reduce injuries to police and mental health recipients, and prevent unnecessary arrests and incarceration. A native New Yorker, Carla graduated from University of Chicago and received her law degree from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.

IntegrateNYC is a youth-led organization that stands for equity and justice in our schools. Founded and led by Sarah Camiscolli and now by Sarah ‘Zaps’ Zapiler, IntegrateNYC knows that the students are the best experts on the impacts of segregation and inequality and aims to empower youth leaders to repair harms and build real equality and integration. IntegrateNYC designs solutions, advocates for transformative policy, and envisions a more just future, understanding that true, meaningful integration requires a transformation in our school system that centers students and communities of color. IntegrateNYC has developed and is advocating for 5Rs of Real Integration to create lasting, revolutionary change in our school system. IntegrateNYC also stands for Real Youth Power and young people in decision making at local, city, state, and federal levels.

A full recording of the event is available here.

About New York Lawyers for the Public Interest

Founded more than 40 years ago by leaders of the bar, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) pursues equality and justice for all New Yorkers. NYLPI works toward a New York where all people can thrive in their communities, with quality healthcare and housing, safe jobs, good schools, and healthy neighborhoods. In NYLPI’s vision, all New Yorkers live with dignity and independence, with the resources they need to succeed. NYLPI’s community-driven approach powers its commitments to civil rights and to disability, health, immigrant, and environmental justice. NYLPI seeks lasting change through litigation, community organizing, policy advocacy, pro bono service, and education. For more information, please visit www.nylpi.org.

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