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OLA Announces New Initiative and New Hires

OLA of Eastern Long Island has announced the hiring of Lucía Damerau as director of Immigration Legal Services, Wanda Sánchez Day as general counsel/senior policy counsel, and Leah María Suárez as grants and communications manager. All three bring extensive experience in their fields, further strengthening OLA’s social justice advocacy and fundraising capacity.

Damerau comes to OLA after serving as the Fragomen Fellow at the City Bar Justice Center, a pro bono affiliate of the New York City Bar Association. There she represented immigrant clients in removal proceedings and with applications for immigration relief such as asylum and family-based petitions. She has served as staff attorney for the Immigration Advocacy Project at Legal Services of New York City and the Immigration Intervention Project at Sanctuary for Families.

A civil rights attorney for over 20 years, Day brings to OLA a background in nonprofit management and federal and state civil and criminal defense litigation, in addition to experience seeking international and nationwide law and policy reforms that empower vulnerable communities. Day has served as chief legal officer and national legal director for UNITED SIKHS, a United Nations-affiliated nonprofit focusing on international humanitarian aid and human rights advocacy.

Suárez is the co-founder and former executive director of Charleston Jazz, where she spent 10 years developing the nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting, preserving, producing, and educating people about jazz. Combining her experience, talents, and passion for community organizing, social justice, and the arts, she created the boutique consulting and production company, DELALUZ Global, which she has led since 2005. Suárez holds a B.A. in music performance from the College of Charleston, with an emphasis in jazz studies.

In addition, OLA has launched a new immigration legal services program to fight anti-immigration policies. The initiative is funded by a grant from the FurtherJustice Foundation. The program benefits East End immigrants who cannot afford to pay a private attorney by providing free legal services to help them regularize their immigration status.

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