Category Archives: Dave Mejias

#ORLANDO

My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those affected by the terrible tragedy in Orlando this weekend.

Orlando is not so far from home. Terrorism is not a nebulous threat. Terrorism by definition is a hate crime – a political statement, and whether homegrown or jihadist, it was a crime that was simultaneously unimaginable, and yet, far too common. Long Island was devastated in 2008 when Marcelo Lucero was stabbed to death when targeted by a gang that violently pursued Hispanics for sport. And our community was shocked when Ku Klux Klan fliers were found outside Rockville Centre, amidst reports that Hamptons Bay had become headquarters for the KKK with an estimated 50 to 70 members.

Hate crimes, as we experienced in Orlando this weekend, can be gruesome and violent beyond comprehension, but they can also be micro aggressions that haunt minority communities. A passing slur on the street, an insensitive joke that renders someone powerless and ashamed.

When I started my law firm 18 years ago on Long Island, I experienced racial bias on a daily basis. Doubt was cast on my ability and thrust upon my clients as a result. Donald Trump’s own admission that he doubts the ability of an Indiana judge of Mexican heritage to oversee his case due to his ethnicity is enough proof that those beliefs have not dissipated in the past two decades.

Hatred is built upon ignorance. As a volunteer and participant with Long Island’s LGBT Network, I have seen the bullying and disrespect cast towards LGBT youth. Doubt is often thrust upon them when teachers and classmates accuse them of being ‘confused,’ or ‘experimenting.’ Those words are hurtful and lead many in the LGBT community to seek refuge in safe spaces, like an LGBT nightclub, like Pulse in Orlando.

As a family lawyer, I have only seen the real life effects of gun violence when dealing with domestic disputes. However, this experience has allowed me to see the damage a gun can do to a family, but also the healing power that love can bring to that same home. I encourage all to set aside differences of religion, politics and lifestyle to search for the common ground of love. Only through cooperation and empathy, will we be able to find a solution to terrorism, gun violence and LGBTQ rights.

There are many ways to make the world a better place, many solutions that we may disagree upon, but it is important to remember that there is not one way to eradicate terrorism or hate crimes. This week, take an action step. Give blood (RedCrossBlood.org), write a note to your lawmakers (Congress.org) or say a prayer. Do something to make the world a better place, and most importantly – be kind to all you encounter.

 

The LGBT Network raised nearly $200,000 to support “Safe Schools Initiative”

On Wednesday, May 4, 2016, the LGBT Network honored former Nassau County legislator and family law attorney, David Mejias at the LGBT Network “Studio 54” Gala for his continuous support of the LGBT Network and his strong commitment to the LGBT community on Long Island and Queens.

David Mejias honored at Long Island Business News’ Diversity in Business Awards

David Mejias Diversity in Business Award 2016

2016 Honorees of Diversity in Business Awards

On April 21, 2016, Long Island Business News hosted the Diversity in Business Awards to honor business leaders of diverse ethnicities, who have exemplified a leadership and commitment to increasing diversity in the business community on Long Island. Amongst the honorees was David Mejias, a family law attorney from Mejias, Milgrim & Alvarado, which is the only law firm on Long Island where every member of the firm is a minority.

When David Mejias put out his shingle to practice law he found himself very much alone as he discovered much to his dismay that he was one of the very few lawyers on Long island who could speak conversational English to his Spanish speaking clients.

Twenty years later the law firm of Mejias, Milgrim & Alvarado now employs a half dozen attorneys and five members of support staff all of whom happen to be women or minorities or both. For Mejias it is partly by design and partly his belief that minorities who have struggled to enter white collar professions are focused laser like on success.

“Our law firm’s staff represents 21st Century America and yet we share something that I believe has been a constant in our nation’s history. Every immigrant wave has been hungry to succeed, to demonstrate a work ethic that insists we are still a country of opportunity regardless of the prejudice or discrimination that seeks to hold that new group back,” observed Mejias.

While staff includes those of Indian, Latino and African American descent, Mejias says competence, professionalism and pride in winning cases remains the criteria for hiring. “Quotas don’t work here. But nor is there a sense of entitlement. We have been fortunate to find, recruit and retain smart people who happen to represent a spectrum of diversity. It also allows us to communicate with clients who share those ethnicities so there is nothing loss in language, culture or thought when you enter the courtroom.”

To the best of his knowledge Mejias says his is the only law firm on Long Island where every member of the law firm is a minority, especially if you define “minority” as being an overachiever.

State of the Union Proved Uneventful

The President’s messaging was, by and large spot on, especially the need for both sides of the political aisle to review their rhetoric and ask whether their language aids in ensuring a better state of the union. The problem for the President is that he seems unable to inspire a nation. It is not sufficient to be bright, which he clearly is, or cogent, of which there is little doubt. But his inability to resonate with the vast number of Americans ensured that few beyond political wonks were watching his address. He has become background noise to the national debate,  doing little more than seeking to assert his legacy in the closing months of his administration as opposed to an inspiring leader who galvanizes the average  citizen. He could, ironically, take lessons from Winston Churchill, a man Obama views as a reactionary colonial apologist, as to how to make oratory work to advance his political agenda.  Alas, that lesson is now moot for this State of the Union.

2015 Long Island Business News Leadership in Law Award

dave-mejias-Long-Island-Business-News-Leadership-Law-Award-2015I wanted to thank the Long Island Business News for their continued support throughout the years. Last night I was awarded with the LIBN Leadership in Law Award for my commitment to the Long Island community, and in particular, the Hispanic youth community. My passion for enriching the lives of young Hispanics in Nassau and Suffolk County has been a passion of mine since I was young. The joy of encouraging their engagement and participation in their own education and future, through internships and scholarships has brought so much positivity and fulfillment to my own life. Thank you to Long Island Business News for this encouraging award; I look forward to doing you proud and continuing to build a legacy bright future for Long Island’s tomorrow!

leaderlaw-125x125

From Long Island Business News

As a Long Island family law attorney and managing partner of Mejias, Milgrim and Alvarado, Dave Mejias has been serving as a community leader within the Long Island Hispanic community for more than two decades, working tirelessly for the voices of his county and his heritage. He has championed the Long Island Hispanic community fighting for education and career opportunities. Dave is chairman of the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association Community Service Fund and has helped raise more than thirty thousand dollars in scholarship money. As a Nassau County Legislator, he has led the effort to keep children safe from sex offenders by sponsoring the Megan’s Notification Law in New York State and wrote the legislation implementing residency restrictions for sex offenders. Please join me in awarding Dave Mejias as a Long Island Business News Leadership in Law Awardee.

 

Personal Statement – Paris Attacks

Many of you know I’m in Paris for the weekend of November Friday 13th. I’m safe and locked in my hotel. Listening to the Deputy Mayor of Paris on CNN is heartbreaking. This is incredibly sad. To be here for such a vile act of hate brings home how much work we still have to do to make this world a place where young people feel enough hope and love that they never think about resorting to violence. Thank you all for checking in. I’m ok.

Hispanic Heritage Month Gala 2015

David Mejias David-Mejias-Long Island Hispanic Bar AssociationAs President of the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association Community Service Fund (LIHBACSF), I want to thank everyone who participated in this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month Gala and who have made donations to the LIHBACSF.

The LIHBACSF was formed in 2011 to help foster and promote the Long Island Hispanic community’s legal, educational and charitable missions, including providing scholarships to students and charitable assistance to worthy agencies and groups that serve the Long Island Hispanic community. This year, for the second year in a row, we were able to raise $10,000 with the support of Duffy & Duffy, Mejias Milgrim and Alvarado, PLLS, The Suffold County Bar Association and the firm of Mavrides Moyal, Packman & Sadkin, LLP. 

Last year through your generous support we raised more than $10,000 and were able to assist groups that advocate on behalf of struggling Hispanic communities, children, low income families. We were also able with the generous support of Bethpage Federal Credit Union to provide summer fellowships with the Suffolk and Nassau County District Attorney’s Offices for four very worthy law students from Touro and Hofstra Law Schools. Further, we assisted Bethpage Federal Credit Union in developing and implementing a groundbreaking full three-year scholarship, the Thomas Dew Gill Memorial Scholarship, for a diverse Hofstra Law School student who has shown a commitment to community service.

If you are interested in learning more about the LIHBACSF or to make a donation, please contact one of our officers or e-mail us at lihbacsf@gmail.com. Thank you again for your generous support!

Pope Francis on the Right Track

Family law attorney Dave Mejias says the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to New York has the means to profoundly rethink divorce for Catholics and how the Church currently confronts the modern, unconventional family.

Mejias argues that despite Pope Francis’ more progressive views on easier access to annulments of marriage and the inevitability of marital separation in certain situations, the Catholic Church continues to let its Dogma get in the way of their true Christian values. Says Mejias, “the rest of the Vatican leadership needs to learn to hate the sin, love the sinner.”

As a matrimonial lawyer daily confronted with the personal wreckage of failed relationships Mejias believes, “Pope Francis is on the right track adjusting annulment procedure and his opinions that, on occasion marital separation is the answer, but he is still letting the Dogma of the church get in the way of true Christian values – love and acceptance. It is absolutely morally necessary if either the spouse or child is in any danger – physically or financially. But annulment is not divorce, and a spouse needs to be guaranteed support both financially and spiritually. Separation via annulment leaves the spouse and child at risk from the exploitative marriage, and divorce would leave them at risk of excommunication from their house of worship. What is a parishioner to do?”

Mejias is available to discuss what he believes is an historic opportunity for Pope Francis to use his papal visit to the Festival of Families in the U.S. as a vehicle for extraordinary change, but worries that the Holy See has forgotten those who are an unconventional family for the sake of glorifying the traditional household, “The strength of a family is not determined by its propriety, but by love and devotion. Love comes in many different shapes and sizes – be it a single parent or same sex couple, their love isn’t any less because the Catholic Church says so. We should all leave the judging to God. The Pope has taken a series of modest steps when, in fact, he needs to embark on a journey.”