Fordham Law

Fordham Law Professor and Activist Receives Citizen of the City Award

June 06, 2013

On Thursday June 6, Clinical Associate Professor Chi Mgbako was one of four honorees to receive the Citizen of the City Award from the Urban Justice Center’s Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP), a New York City-wide advocacy and organizing coalition that works to document, expose, and correct abusive and discriminatory police practices. The award recognizes those who have demonstrated a commitment to limiting police brutality and corruption in their own constituencies through outreach to those affected and efforts for reform.

Mgbako received the Citizen of the City Award for her global human rights work advocating against police abuse and for sex workers’ rights. In particular, Mgbako aims to end the physical, sexual, verbal, and economic abuse sex workers suffer at the hands of the police as a result of their stigmatized and criminalized status.

“Police abuse is one of the primary manifestations of state-sponsored human rights violations,” said Mgbako. “My students and I remain committed to working in solidarity with grassroots advocacy movements at home and abroad that seek to shine a light on this abuse and end it.”

As Founding Director of the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic, Mgbako works with Fordham Law students on human rights campaigns in partnership with grassroots organizations that focus on the sexual health and rights of marginalized populations as well legal empowerment. She has conducted human rights fieldwork and advocacy in many countries, including Ethiopia, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, and the United States, among others.

Mgbako’s clinic recently co-authored with PROP the report “Criminalizing Communities: NYPD Abuse Against Vulnerable Populations,” which documents NYPD abuse against sex workers, street vendors, homeless people, and black, Latino, and Muslim communities.  The clinic also co-authored the 132-page report “Suppressing Protest: Human Rights Violations in the U.S. Response to Occupy Wall Street,” which documented the abuses and violations of the NYPD during the Occupy movement in 2011.

The Citizen of the City award was formally presented to Mgbako and three other honorees at a reception held at Riverside Church.