A Voice for Latinos on the East End

Minerva Perez (Photo via The Sag Harbor Express)

Minerva Perez (Photo via The Sag Harbor Express)

In the fall of 2015, activists accused police in the Hamptons of not doing enough to investigate the deaths of Latinas in three separate cases. One of those women, Southampton resident Lilia Esperanza Aucapiña, disappeared on Oct. 10 and was found hanging from a tree 500 feet from her house a month later.

According to The Sag Harbor Express’ Stephen J. Kotz, the family of Aucapiña is meeting with Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. Joining them is Minerva Perez, the new executive director of Organización Latino-Americana (OLA), a Latino advocacy group on the East End of Long Island profiled by Kotz. The death of Aucapiña is just one of the cases Perez will take on, while also fighting for immigrant and labor rights. With a background in theater, Perez heads what she describes as an advocacy, arts and education organization serving the growing Latino community on the island’s East End.

Although many Latinos are successful business owners and their children make up a sizeable portion of the East End’s school enrollments, it is still a largely invisible segment of the population when it comes to the political world, she said, with no Latinos in elective office in either East Hampton or Southampton town.

This is something the Latino Advisory Committee in East Hampton, also profiled in the story, hopes to change. Go to The Sag Harbor Express for more on the committee and OLA, which is staging a performance of a play Perez wrote while working at a domestic abuse shelter.

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