Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today received the Presidential Award of Excellence at the National Black Prosecutors Association’s (NBPA) 33rd Annual Conference in St. Louis. The award was given in recognition of the Office’s promotion of innovative criminal justice initiatives, such as Saturday Night Lights and the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution, and its continued support for the organization.
“This annual conference provides a critical support system for some of our nation’s top legal talent,” said District Attorney Vance. “The work that we do as prosecutors is difficult and often controversial, and there are skeptics and naysayers – sometimes within your own communities, families, and even homes – who cast doubt on our intentions. But the field of prosecution is more than a vocation – it’s a calling. There are times when we are subject to cynicism and outright protest, and I can only imagine that the difficulties we face as prosecutors are even more pronounced in communities of color – communities where, far too often, our work leaves the greatest impact. With the recent tragedies in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and St. Paul fresh in our minds, it is more important than ever that organizations like NBPA exist as a resource for Black prosecutors. I would like to thank President Melba Pearson for her leadership of this organization, and the six attorneys proudly representing the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office at this conference.”
“DA Vance has been steadfast in his support of the NBPA mission of diversity in the field of prosecution,” said NBPA President and Assistant State Attorney Melba Pearson. “Through his actions within his office, in his jurisdiction of Manhattan, and in supporting the National Black Prosecutors Association’s Job Fair since the day he took office, it is clear that recruiting, retaining and advancing diverse prosecutors is of utmost importance to Mr. Vance. As such, it is fitting he receive our highest award.”
The Presidential Award of Excellence is presented to an individual or organization that has demonstrated outstanding achievement in service and a commitment to furthering the overall goals and objectives of NBPA. Previous recipients of the Presidential Award of Excellence include United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Honorable Steven P. Logan of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona.
In accepting this award, District Attorney Vance maintains his ongoing commitment to supporting NBPA and its mission to promote and strengthen the roles of Black men and women in law enforcement. For the last ten years, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has coordinated NBPA’s job fair and recruitment events in conjunction with the Annual Conference. In 2015, District Attorney Vance participated in a panel discussion titled “Caught in the Gunfight: Impact of Officer-Involved Shootings on Law Enforcement and Communities” at NBPA’s 32nd Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.
District Attorney Vance also thanked Executive Assistant District Attorney and Chief Diversity Officer Audrey Moore for leading the Office’s involvement with the job fair and recruitment events and Assistant District Attorneys Tanya Apparicio, Joseph Davis, Lucrece Francois, and Charles Whitt for their assistance. Nigel Farinha, Co-Chief the Narcotics Gang Unit of the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, also assisted with this year’s job fair.