MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - At the age of 31, State Representative Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) has made a name for herself in Nashville and in the Democratic Party since being elected to the legislature in 2013.
Being the youngest member of the legislature, Akbari has not only been chosen by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to speak at the Democratic Convention in Philadephia, but she can now add the National Juvenile Justice Newtwork's 2016 Reformer Award to her growing resume'.
"It's an incredible honor to receive this award from my peers at NJJN's Youth Justice Leadership Institute," Akbari said. "It's especially gratifying to receive the award here in Memphis."
Akbari will be presented with the award on Tuesday, July 26, as part of the National Juvenile Justice Network's Annual Forum at the University of Memphis Law School.
This past legislative session, Rep. Akbari helped pass a law requiring the Department of Children's Services (DCS) to issue an annual report on the effectiveness of juvenile court probation and evidence-based treatment services.
Under her sponsorship, Akbari was able to see that legislation was passed that amended juvenile court procedural requirements for pretrial and judicial diversions.
As the Vice-Chair of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators, Rep. Akbari helped to pass legislation to make it easier to have a criminal record expunged in cases of mistaken identity, she supported the 'Ban the Box' bill that prevents the state of Tennessee from asking job applicants about their criminal history early in the interview process. In addition, Akbari sponsored the legislation allows ex-offenders to gain certain professional licenses without a waiting period, such as a barber or bartender license.
Akbari has also been a strong contender for under-achieving schools in her district. It was under a bill created by Rep. Akbari that passed legislation that saved schools such as Alcy Elementary, in her district, consisting of the 91st district in Shelby County. The bill allowed a school to try its own efforts in turning things around before it was taken over by the statewide district, with the specifications the school had to make certain changes to show its attempt to adjust and grow. Her bill provided the ability for seven schools in Memphis and even three in Nashville to be given time to turn around and save themselves.