OLA (Organización Latino Americana) of Eastern Long Island has launched a new immigration legal services program to further its mission to create a more equitable East End. For more than two decades, OLA has supported immigrant and US-born Latinos through advocacy, crisis services, health and wellness services, bridge building, leadership workshops, and educational, arts and cultural programming.
Earlier this month, with support from FurtherJustice Foundation’s Legal Accelerator Grant Program, OLA hired attorney Lucía Damerau as its first Director of Immigration Legal Services, enabling OLA to strengthen its social justice advocacy and provide opportunities for low-income East End immigrants to receive pro bono immigration legal services in a place that they trust and respect. OLA’s Executive Director, Minerva Perez, noted that “the widespread fear of deportation prevents many community members from fully participating in civic life. Having legal status goes far to protect people from exploitation, opens doors to more opportunities, and allows families to focus on their future. This program can benefit not just the individual but the entire East End community.”
Damerau will oversee OLA’s legal services program, developing policies and procedures for the program, providing legal counsel to clients and their families applying for immigration relief, and delivering educational presentations to community members.
When we launched the Legal Accelerator Grant Program last year, we set out to support community-based organizations – like OLA – that are committed not only to developing civil legal service programs where low-income individuals have little to no access to free lawyers, but also to using legal services as a tool for greater access to justice, power and equity for underrepresented communities. Doing so enables Black, Brown, immigrant and low-income communities to feel dignified, confident, and freer to affirm their rights under the law, and enables local communities to create more systemic change from the ground up. FurtherJustice is proud to be a partner in this important work.
You can read about our other 2023-2024 Legal Accelerator Grantees here.
FurtherJustice is currently soliciting applications for its 2024-2025 Legal Accelerator Grant Program. Apply by July 14, 2023 – and please share widely!