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Public Citizen Recognizes Andrea Strong for Longtime Dedication to Public Interest

Nov. 16, 2016

Public Citizen Recognizes Andrea Strong for Longtime Dedication to Public Interest

Families Against Mandatory Minimums Employee Honored With 14th Annual Phyllis McCarthy Public Interest Service Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Andrea Strong, director of member services of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), will receive the 14th annual Phyllis McCarthy Public Interest Award at a reception on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 4:30 p.m. EST at Public Citizen’s office at 1600 20th St. NW in Washington, D.C.

In 1992, Strong started out as FAMM’s Midwest regional director. Over the course of more than two decades, Strong’s work title has changed, but what hasn’t changed is the vital role she plays in the success and mission of FAMM. From organizing local and national chapters to holding rallies outside of courthouses, Strong’s ambition, dedication and persistence to serving families of loved ones serving harsh sentences in prison truly makes her the heart and soul of FAMM, according to Julie Stewart, president and founder of FAMM.

Strong has been the organization’s director of member services for the past decade, which means she is the first person a caller talks to when his or her life has been turned upside down by America’s harsh sentencing policies.

“It is impossible to overestimate how important it is for someone who is reeling from the full force of our sentencing laws to talk to someone who doesn’t pass judgements about the crime or the individual. Andrea is that active and patient listener,” said Stewart. “She has a huge heart and incredible compassion for those who reach her. She never lets us forget whose lives we are trying to change and how much it matters.”

FAMM is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights to eliminate unduly harsh mandatory minimum sentences. FAMM promotes programs that minimize crime and reduce the rate of recidivism. FAMM also strives to diminish overcrowded prisons and the impact of overcrowded prisons on taxpayers.

Public Citizen created the award after Phyllis McCarthy, a 24-year employee of its Health Research Group, passed away in November 2002. She worked for 24 years as a managing editor and office manager, playing an integral part in the development and preparation of publications, reports, medical journal articles and petitions to government agencies. The award recognizes individuals who have worked tirelessly for a public interest group, performing critical functions as did McCarthy, but who have not received public credit commensurate with their contributions.

Public Citizen’s Health Research Group Founder and Senior Adviser, Dr. Sidney Wolfe, said that “Andrea is a perfect example of an invaluable, unsung heroine, without whom no organization can realize its potential.”