Committee on Civil Rights: Haywood Burns Award

To honor an individual, not necessarily a lawyer, who has contributed to New York State in a manner that reflects Dean Burns’ commitment to the struggle for justice and the qualities that made him an outstanding advocate for civil rights and the empowerment of the powerless.

Date to be Presented: Spring of Each Year
Award: Commemorative Plaque

Congratulations to this year’s award winner, Remla Parthasarathy, Esq.!

Remla ParthasarathyRemla Parthasarathy (she/her) is a Managing Attorney at Empire Justice Center, a statewide legal services organization whose mission is to make the law work for all New Yorkers. In that role, she is also the Project Leader of the Crime Victims Legal Network (CVLN), a partnership of organizations working together to connect victims of crime with civil legal assistance through their online resource, NY Crime Victims Legal Help. She oversees the CVLN Team at Empire Justice Center, which offers legal research, technical assistance, and training to civil legal providers across the state who work with crime victims. Ms. Parthasarathy’s career has focused on the recognition that domestic violence is a human rights violation.

Having spent her early teenage years in India, Ms. Parthasarathy became attuned to social and economic inequities and the realities of having or lacking privilege. Engaging in public interest law and expanding people’s access to justice was simply a natural outcome of her experience and upbringing. Ms. Parthasarathy’s particular interest in violence against women issues grew into a passion that has centered much of her professional life.

For almost 30 years, Ms. Parthasarathy has worked primarily in the area of intimate partner and domestic violence, serving in a variety of capacities – as an advocate, attorney, educator, leader and collaborator – with the goal of fighting for the rights of victims and raising awareness of this type of human rights violation. She has served as an attorney representing domestic violence victims in Family Court, a systems advocate for a domestic violence shelter and its county-wide coalition, a resource coordinator of a misdemeanor domestic violence court, a coordinator of a safe-home network, a domestic violence in the workplace educator, and an adjunct professor in undergraduate social work departments. Prior to joining Empire Justice in 2015, Ms. Parthasarathy worked for ten years as Clinical Instructor for the Women, Children, and Social Justice Clinic at the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School.

Ms. Parthasarathy’s continuing commitment to social and racial justice issues has led her to engage in educational and experiential opportunities in these areas throughout her career. This included studying African American Womenism with activist Alexis De Veaux, interning at a shelter for immigrant women, and participating in immersive racial justice workshops. To further develop skills to incorporate concepts of anti-oppression work within her professional and personal life, in 2021, Ms. Parthasarathy obtained an Advanced Diversity and Inclusion Certificate through Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She has been a member of her organization’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Committee since 2018, co-chairing the committee from 2020-2023.

Through both professional articles and op-eds, Ms. Parthasarathy has continued to educate practitioners and the public on intimate partner violence, gender-based violence, and cultural issues. She has presented at several national and statewide conferences, has been a speaker at numerous regional events, and has testified before legislators. She has also served on the boards of several organizations and is currently a co-president of the Advisory Council of the New York State Office of Victim Services.

Ms. Parthasarathy is a recipient of the Sr. Karen Klimczack Peace and Justice Award from the Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence, and the Trailblazer Award from the SUNY Buffalo Law School Students of Color Committee. She received her undergraduate and law degrees from SUNY Buffalo.

Application Deadline: November 15, 2024

Please email application to [email protected]


2023 Hon. Betty E. Staton
2022 No Award Presented
2021 No Award Presented
2020 Armen H. Merjian, Esq.
2019 John R. Dunne, Esq.
 Esmeralda Simmons, Esq.
2017 Frederick K. Brewington, Esq.
2016 Vincent Warren
2015 Glenn D. Magpantay, Esq.
2014 Robert Gangi
2013 Howard Glickstein, Esq.
2012 Bryan D. Hetherington, Esq.
2011 Cesar A. Perales, Esq.
2010 Mary Crisalli Sansone
2009 Dr. Parveen Chopra
2008 Donna Lieberman
2007 John F. Boston
2006 Hon. Cornelius Blackshear
2005 Laurie M. Lambrix, Esq.
2004 Leroy Wilson, Jr., Esq.
2003 Juan A. Figueroa
2002 Hon. Ellen M. Yacknin
2001 Rockwell J. Chin, Esq.
2000 Hon. Pam Badoria Jackman Brown, Esq.
1999 Prof. Randolph M. Scott-McLaughlin