National Center for Youth Law

At the Center

Fiza Quraishi Legal Fellowship

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The Fiza Quraishi Youth Law Fellowship was established by the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) and the University of Michigan Law School in 2017, to honor and extend the legacy of our late colleague Fiza Quraishi, who died in February 2016, at the age of 37. Thanks to the donors to date who have been inspired by Fiza’s passion for youth rights, this fellowship provides recent Michigan Law School graduates committed to youth justice with the opportunity to dedicate a year of service as a fellow at NCYL.

In Her Own Words: Fiza Talks About Her Fellowship Experience at NCYL (2008)

Fiza was part of the NCYL family, having joined the organization as an Equal Justice Works fellow following her graduation from the University of Michigan Law School in 2007. During her eight and a half years at NCYL, Fiza helped improve the lives of tens of thousands of children by leading policy development initiatives, collaborating with public agencies, and participating in litigation. Her achievements include:

  • Helping launch the Los Angeles County Law Enforcement First Responder Protocol, a nationally recognized approach to ensuring child victims of sex trafficking are supported rather than criminalized.
  • Working to create model collaborative mental health juvenile courts, in part by coordinating civil advocacy efforts and promoting the potential for diversion and access to mental health services.
  • Participating in Brazwell v. Wagner, a case that challenged California’s policy of denying cash assistance to relative caregivers when children in their care run afoul of the law. As a result of Fiza’s efforts, more than 14,000 families who took in foster children were better able to care for them. Because of this case relative caregivers today continue to receive critical resources they need.

Fiza was not only a superb lawyer; she was also a dedicated mentor. While at NCYL, she supported the development of numerous law clerks, law fellows, and young attorneys. For that reason, the Fiza Quraishi Youth Fellowship seeks to provide young attorneys with an opportunity to not only work on the legal issues Fiza devoted her life to, but to do so in an environment that celebrates the values that she lived by. Fiza believed in questioning the status quo and fighting relentlessly for justice; she conducted herself with grace and empathy always; she embraced diversity in all its forms and sought to bring people together; and while she did not live to see it, she believed in a brighter future for low-income children.

Fiza’s life and career were cut short, but with the Fiza Quraishi Youth Fellowship, her legacy and her values will carry on. We need your support to ensure that happens. Please consider honoring her by making a contribution today.

 

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