Wagner Alumni are Celebrated as Black New York Trailblazers

Two NYU Wagner alumni, Farah Louis (MPA 2018) and Jennifer Jones Austin (EMPA 1996), have been named in City & State’s Power of Diversity: Black 100 which recognizes Black trailblazers in New York. The list of honorees represent every corner of New York’s civic life, from elected officials and union leaders to executives and nonprofit entrepreneurs. Louis and Austin are adding to the richness of public service and shaping the future of our communities.

Farah Louis (MPA 2018) was elected to New York City Council in 2019 as representative of the City’s 45th district, becoming the first woman to hold the seat. Her constituency includes the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Marine Park, Flatlands, and Kensington. Hitting the ground running with an ambitious agenda, Council Member Louis focused her first-year agenda on legislation to protect survivors of domestic violence, addressing food insecurity, and expanding access to nonprofit services, education, reproductive rights, and healthcare. She currently serves as Co-Chair of City Council's Women’s Caucus and Vice Co-Chair of the Black, Latinx, and Asian Caucus.

Jennifer Jones Austin (EMPA 1996) is the CEO and Executive Director of FPWA, an anti-poverty policy and advocacy organization. Since graduating from NYU Wagner’s Executive MPA program she has dedicated her career to serving others through roles in city government, nonprofit leadership, and now FPWA. During the coronavirus pandemic, FPWA was instrumental in the City’s response which included outreach efforts to get Black New Yorkers vaccinated. Her history of advocating for liveable wages and combating racism in social services has garnered recognition from fellow public servants, including her recent appointment by Mayor Bill de Blasio to chair of the New York City Board of Correction. She is also a contributor to NYU Wagner’s NYC 2025 project writing about how equity and racial justice are inextricably linked to NYC's economic recovery.

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