Updated: May 1
By Lisa Finn
"The relative isolation that many of our most vulnerable are experiencing is compounded by an escalation in exploitation." — Minerva Perez
SOUTHAMPTON, NY — Immigrant advocacy group Organización Latino-Americana has hired full time general counsel.
According to OLA of Eastern Long Island's Executive Director Minerva Perez and the OLA board, East End attorney Andrew Strong was hired after a need was recognized "to deepen dialogue related to local policy and practice to better incorporate the protection, communication, and access needs of our full community."
Perez said she has sat at the table with county, town, and village leaders from Suffolk County, East Hampton, Southampton, and Riverhead.
"To be involved in various discussions related to public safety, transportation access, education access, and communication strategies has been an honor, but one that I will not be able to sustain without the appropriate bandwidth," Perez said.
Strong's focus will also include the creation of better East End legal networks and collaborations on a variety of topics that will offer local access to legal counsel that is either pro bono or "low-cost and high integrity," she said.
"The relative isolation that many of our most vulnerable are experiencing is compounded by an escalation in exploitation," Perez said. "We cannot stand by and watch as people are scammed, threatened, and bullied into accepting worsening conditions related to wage theft, worker safety, mortgage and housing scams, immigration scams, domestic abuse, and sexual assault, among others."
Strong has a degree in history and music composition from Middlebury College and is a cum laude graduate of Northwestern University School of Law. He has extensive experience in international human rights law and international criminal defense litigation, having spent seven years practicing at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands, where he successfully represented the Prime Minister of Kosovo in consecutive war crimes trials before working for the United Nations as a special rapporteur for counter terrorism, a release said.
Locally, he focuses land use, zoning and municipal law with the Law Offices of Richard Whalen.
His wife is from East Hampton and the couple has two sons, three and two.
The position has been funded by Linda and Michael Donovan for the next three years, Perez said.