New York Lawyers For the Public Interest Honors Recipients of the 2022 Felix A. Fishman Awards

Disability Justice, Environmental Justice, Event Recap, Fishman Awards, Health Justice, Immigrant Justice, News

Award winner Raya Salter speaks at a podium. An ASL Interpreter interprets next to Salter.

New York, NY – [July 20, 2022] — 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 40 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 Raya Salter, Esq., founder of the Energy Justice Law and Policy Center; and the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project, an organization that assists LGBTQIA+ folks coming out of immigration detention and those crossing the Mexico/US border. NYLPI was proud to honor Raya and QDEP for their work fighting for equity and justice.

After two years of being unable to celebrate in person, on July 20 NYLPI hosted a highly attended outdoor celebration at City Winery and, in addition to the two honorees, featured remarks by McGregor Smyth, NYLPI Executive Director, Arielle Wisbaum, Equal Justice Works Legal Fellow, Anthony Rogers-Wright, Director of Environmental Justice, and Susan Kohlmann, Chair of the NYLPI Board of Directors.

You can view photos from the event here.

Raya Salter (she/they) is an attorney, consultant, educator and clean energy law and policy expert with a focus on energy and climate justice. Raya is the founder of the Energy Justice Law and Policy Center and a member of the New York State Climate Action Council, the body that is developing the plan to implement the nation’s leading climate law, the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

Ms. Salter is an experienced advocate, having practiced energy law in multiple jurisdictions, including New York and Hawaii. In previous roles, she was the Policy Organizer with NY Renews, an attorney for both the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund and an Energy Associate at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP. Ms. Salter has a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and a B.A. in economics from Wesleyan University.

The Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP) was created in January 2014 in New York City. It’s fiscally sponsored by the Center for Transformative Action (CTA). QDEP assists LGBTQIA+ folks coming out of immigration detention and those crossing the Mexico/US border. They connect members to legal services, medical and mental health support, public benefits, housing, clothing, and food as well as to community support and to the abolitionist movement. QDEP’s leadership consists of two co-directors: Uchechukwu Onwa, Co-Director and Coordinator of the Community Organizing Program, and Ian Zdanowicz, Co-Director and Coordinator of the Direct Services Program.

About New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI)

Founded in 1976 by leaders of the bar, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest is a community-driven civil rights organization that pursues 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.



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