Farewell, Mishi Faruqee

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After ten years with the CA, Mishi Faruqee, head of the Juvenile Justice Project, is moving on to a new position at the New York City office of the Children’s Defense Fund.

It would be difficult to overstate what Mishi brought to the CA. She was instrumental in raising the profile and effectiveness of the Juvenile Justice Coalition and its working groups, through which she mobilized the voices and talents of child welfare and juvenile justice advocates from organizations across the city. As a tireless advocate for youth involved in the juvenile justice system, she helped secure substantial advances at the city and state levels. In 2002, as part of the No More Youth Jails! Campaign, Mishi wrote a pivotal report, Rethinking Juvenile Detention in New York City, and helped organize a series of youth-led protests that halted the city’s plans to expand youth detention facilities.

More recently, she made unprecedented progress in collaborating with the Office of Children and Family Services, the state agency that operates New York’s youth prisons. Working with Commissioner Gladys Carrión, Mishi helped bring about a number of important reforms, including the agency’s adoption of best practices guidelines for working with LGBT youth (see CA Victory, page 3), the reactivation of its ombudsman’s office, and the formation of an Independent Review Board designed to monitor policies and practices.

Mishi was—and is—committed to creating a forum for youth, especially low income youth of color, to speak out on juvenile justice issues. She developed and launched Each One, Teach One, the CA’s advocacy training program for youth, and based on its model, created a training program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, Safe Passages—the first of its kind in the county. Both programs have flourished during her tenure, bringing the often-disregarded voices of youth to the public debate on these issues.

In 1999, Mishi penned a values statement, reprinted here, that eloquently captures the spirit and substance of the CA’s work. Mishi embodies these values and has infused them in all her efforts with the Juvenile Justice Project. To the staff at the CA, Mishi has been a wonderful colleague: thoughtful, intelligent, collegial, good-natured and generous. For many reasons, she will be sorely missed.