Kevin Perry

The Project

Through the Northeast Brooklyn Legal Project (NBLP), Kevin (he/him/his) will provide transactional legal services and resources to underserved small business owners, which will stimulate small business enterprises in low-income communities.

The poverty-related challenges with the small business enterprise are not only systemic but have also left communities within Northeast Brooklyn (specifically Brownsville, East New York, Williamsburg, Bushwick, Myrtle, and Bedford-Stuyvesant—zip codes in Brooklyn with the highest poverty rates) economically stagnant. Within these zip codes, there are about 500,000 residents affected by the neighborhood’s poverty with less than 50 registered MWBE certified businesses. Thus, not only would this project provide needed business resources, but Kevin also serves to stimulate the growth of the communities’ economy.

Kevin grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, which motivates him to develop small business enterprise in economically stagnant communities in Northeast Brooklyn.

Fellowship Plans

Kevin will execute outreach by connecting with clients and community partners through virtual workshops as well as legal counsel and education. He will facilitate small business ownership training and establish a network of minority small business owners. To further meet the project’s goals, Kevin will also conduct a legal needs assessment within each of its target areas to determine community needs.

Media

Making Our Communities More Equitable

2021 Greenberg Traurig Equal Justice Works Law Fellows to Tackle Racial, Economic, and Social Justice Issues

Growing up in Northeast Brooklyn, all I could do is watch countless small businesses close, move, or fail to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Now as an attorney I have the tools necessary to make a valuable change to my community always needed.

Kevin Perry /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Through the Worker Protection Program at the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Symone (she/her/hers) will advocate on behalf of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in low-income jobs, through direct representation and worker rights education in employment discrimination claims, wage theft claims, and worker safety issues.

The Capital Region of New York, (Albany, Schenectady, and Rensselaer Counties), has a disproportionate population of low-income workers who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Roughly 25% of service jobs in the capital region are held by BIPOC, yet this group makes up only 14% of the workforce.  The Black population makes up only 6% of the workforce and has a 13% unemployment rate. Adding to this disparity, Black, low-income, workers have significant barriers to employment as they represent 83% of individuals seeking reentry services and 61% of individuals seeking employment-related legal services at the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York. The Worker Protection Program fills a vital need in the community as the only free legal service provider of direct representation, and education for low-income workers of color experiencing employment discrimination, wage theft, and workplace safety issues.

Fellowship Plans

 During her Fellowship, Symone will provide direct representation to low-income workers of color for employment discrimination claims, wage theft claims, and workplace safety issues. Symone will launch a “know your rights in the workplace” campaign by engaging low-income workers in the area and coordinating with local community-based organizations and service providers that serve low-income workers.

Growing up in a working-class family taught me that your wages do not determine whether you get to work with a sense of pride and dignity.

Symone Wango /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Mary brought much-needed legal knowledge and assistance to trafficking survivors in the Capital Region and worked with existing organizations to create better systems to serve the needs of trafficking survivors in the area. 

In her former legal experiences, particularly with immigrant victims of crimes in the US and abroad, Mary has dedicated herself to learning about and performing a trauma-informed practice and providing holistic representation. Further, in her more than seven years as a member of the Capital Region legal community, Mary has developed an extensive network to draw upon in providing direct services to human trafficking victims or connecting victims with those who can provide pro bono services. Fellowship  

This Fellowship helped close the service gap for trafficking victims in the Capital Region by expanding current resources to offer free civil legal needs assessments by The Legal Project staff and pro bono attorneys; incorporate civil legal services into community-based outreach efforts; refer to other legal services organizations as appropriate; provide training to existing panel of pro bono attorneys on the legal needs of the trafficking victims, expand numbers of attorneys on the pro bono panel and engage Legal Project staff and pro bono attorneys to provide comprehensive and culturally competent civil legal services as needed including representation in the following areas: family law, public benefits, employment law, housing, criminal justice advocacy, consumer credit , immigration, and tax-related. 

Mary helped victims escape human trafficking situations and improved the quality of life for human trafficking survivors through holistic legal representation of victims (direct and indirect) and by shedding light on human trafficking activity in New York’s greater Capital Region through education and collaboration of law enforcement, attorneys, non-profit/faith-based/other community organizations, and the community at large. 

Media

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New website connects pro-bono lawyers with immigrants in need of help

Saint Sophia Church hosts symposium for human trafficking

Working with Communities Who Others May Have Overlooked

The Project

My project focuses on low-income homeowners who are in foreclosure. My job is to help them defend that foreclosure through obtaining workout agreements, negotiating settlements, bankruptcy or representing the homeowner at trial. I also represent low-income prospective homebuyers in purchasing their first homes.

The Inspiration

The Project

Help individuals, particularly those who are low income, remove barriers to employment. These barriers often include discrimination due to criminal records, race, sex, and sexual orientation.

Many people with criminal records do not realize they have employment rights. This project addresses the large need for people with criminal records to become employed and build a stable life for themselves and their children. Often people are discouraged in their job search because they have a criminal record. I help people overcome that barrier.