Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr., today announced the creation of the D.A.’s Office’s Equity and Social Justice Advisory Board, which empowers legal and non-legal staff members of the D.A.’s Office to make policy recommendations directly to the District Attorney and his Executive Staff. The Board, which is believed to be the first of its kind in a U.S. prosecutor’s office, comprises 16 members from diverse backgrounds, and is co-chaired by Audrey Moore, First Assistant District Attorney and Chief Diversity Officer, and José A. Fanjul, Executive Assistant District Attorney for Prosecution Policies.
“We created an Equity and Social Justice Advisory Board to give our Office’s large, diverse, legal and non-legal staff a more direct way to make policy recommendations to me and my executive team,” said District Attorney Vance. “It’s a board that looks like New York City, with people from different neighborhoods, different roles in the office, different ages and different experiences living in or working alongside communities of color to achieve justice for crime survivors and fairness for the accused. I’m excited to draw from this diverse pool of talent and experience as we do our part, in our time, to move our justice system and our society forward.”
The Board’s mission is to make recommendations to the District Attorney and Executive Staff on all D.A.’s Office policies and practices that implicate equity and social justice for New Yorkers. The Board is also tasked with making recommendations to enhance internal communications related to such policies, and actively soliciting input from internal stakeholders in the course of policy development.
The inaugural members of the Board are overwhelmingly people of color and include junior and senior Assistant District Attorneys from across the Office as well as a D.A.’s Office investigator, a paralegal, an investigative analyst, a member of the Legal Hiring Unit, and a member of the Witness Aid Services Unit.
D.A. Vance announced the creation of the Board in a memorandum to staff in June 2020 amid ongoing demonstrations against systemic racism, police violence, and the killing of George Floyd. The Board’s members were selected by the Office’s Executive Staff in July 2020, and in August 2020, the Board elected to form five subcommittees on:
- Enhancing Diversity and Inclusion
- Developing an Anti-Racism Statement
- The Use of Conviction History in Prosecution Policies
- Police Misconduct, Excessive Force and Transparency
- Prosecution Policies for Commercial Burglaries Occurring on or about May 31 and June 1, 2020
Board members will serve a one-year term before new board members are selected. This year’s Board members were chosen from a pool of approximately 120 applicants.