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Biographies

ABENA DARKEH | MELISSA FRANCO

ABENA DARKEH
Deputy Commissioner for Regional Affairs

Abena Darkeh was appointed Deputy Commissioner for Regional Affairs of the New York State Division of Human Rights in October 2011.   In this capacity, she directs the investigative and community-related activities of the agency’s 11 regional offices.

Ms. Darkeh began her career in public service as a prosecutor in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, where she developed an expertise in the investigation and prosecution of domestic violence offenses.   This work led to her appointment as the New York City Criminal Court Domestic Violence Coordinator.  In this role, Ms. Darkeh created and implemented domestic violence initiatives, managed citywide domestic violence projects and conducted training for newly appointed judges.  In 1999, she presented New York’s domestic violence justice initiative at an international conference on woman’s rights in Guyana.  Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes honored Ms. Darkeh for her leadership in the field of domestic violence with his office’s 2005 Community Service Award.

Following her work as Citywide Domestic Violence Coordinator, Ms. Darkeh served as Assistant Deputy Counsel to the Honorable Judy Harris Kluger, Chief of Policy and Planning for the New York State Courts.  As policy and planning counsel, Ms. Darkeh developed initiatives for the state court system and created training programs for judges, law enforcement officers and court personnel.

Ms. Darkeh is a founding member of the Board of Directors of Adaptive Design Association, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that children with disabilities obtain the customized equipment they need to participate fully in home, school and community life.  She is a former Vice President of Membership of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association and a founding member and Vice President of the Association of Ghanaian Lawyers of America, Inc.   Ms. Darkeh is also a member of the Association of Black Woman Attorneys and the Corporate Counsel Woman of Color.

Ms. Darkeh is a graduate of Georgetown University and Hofstra University School of Law.  She has taught in the graduate program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and lectured at Columbia University on various legal subjects.