On December 4, Fordham Law alumna Afua Atta-Mensah ’04 was honored with a Jane Award from the Metropolitan Council on Housing.
The Jane Awards, which are named in honor of tenant rights leaders Jane Wood, Jane Benedict, and Jane Jacobs, are presented to three women who have harnessed their power to effect positive change in the housing movement.
Atta-Mensah received the Jane Benedict Award, named after the prominent housing advocate and principal founder of the Metropolitan Council on Housing, who died in 2005 after a lifetime of fighting against unlawful eviction, and for affordable public housing and rent regulation.
Atta-Mensah currently serves as the executive director of Community Voices Heard. At CVH, she works to improve living conditions for New York City Housing Authority tenants, dealing with infrastructure repair and tenant oversight, among many other issues.
“Many in our community are ignored by elected officials, so we help raise them up and give them a voice,” Atta-Mensah said. “We focus on organizing and doing outreach in communities so that we can continue our work.”
Before joining CVH, Atta-Mensah received a Fulbright Fellowship in support of her work at the International Federation of Women Attorneys. During this time, she worked to craft marital rape legislation in Ghana and served as an advocate for women in court.
Atta-Mensah has also served as the director of litigation at the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center and visiting lecturer at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana.
Atta-Mensah credits her time at Fordham Law, and particularly her work with the Public Interest Resource Center, as formative. Working with a housing group in the city through the PIRC, she says, “I was immediately drawn into that work and the importance of advocating for those who were affected by housing policy. After that I knew this was the field I wanted to put my time and energy into.”