Claudia Prada in memory of Howard Strong
Howard Strong was born in Ohio, but he grew up in Chicago and Santa Monica, His mother was born in Santa Monica, California and he came often to visit his maternal grandparents.
Howard was a man full of compassion, charity and integrity. He devoted his life as a lawyer to help the ‘little people,’ those marginalized and cheated by circumstances that were out of their control.
He was also a very successful lawyer, an expert in credit card fraud and identity theft. He worked intensively to protect those that were heavily in debt and saw no way out from it. He taught a class on Saturdays about credit repair and debt. His class was always full, people sought his expertise and humor. Howard also wrote several books about consumer law, identity theft and credit cards. His book Credit Card Secrets and other books about credit repair and consumer law were sold out.
As a young hippie in the sixties, Howard came to Los Angeles to help his aging grandparents while he was working on his degree in Economics and Psychology at UC Berkeley. He was one of the kids that ripped off the fence that the city placed at People’s Park and rejected the Nixon administration involvement in Vietnam. Howard also refused to frame his diploma from UC Berkeley because the then governor, Ronald Reagan had signed it. When any one from the UC Berkeley scholarship program called him seeking for funds, Howard would tell the person that: “he would not support any institution who sent the police to attack their own students and tear gassed them.” This type of phone calls were quite frequent and Howard blew away the caller’s mind with his reply in a very humorous way, the callers left the phone call laughing instead of being upset. Many of them kept asking him about his experience as a student in the 1960s.
After spending some time in Europe, Howard completed his law degree at Antioch University. He became a plaintiff lawyer and was against policies that did not support the poor, underprivileged and uneducated. He was a strong advocate for affirmative action and education opportunities for underprivileged youth.
In 2012, Howard was very worried when I told him that some of my students, soon reaching the age of 18, were afraid of applying for the DACA program because of fears of deportation. Many of them did not know what to do because their parents were afraid of providing sensitive information. He came to the high school, spoke to my students and was very clear that by not applying for DACA they were going to lose future opportunities that could lead to citizenship. He took many of them for dinner and clearly explained the disadvantages of not applying, thanks to Howard 100% of my undocumented students applied.
Howard loved nature and practiced various lessons and principles he learned as a boy-scout. He often said to me: “leave the place better and cleaner than how you found it.” He would pick up trash from the streets, parks, beaches at home and anywhere in the world. He traveled the world extensively, lived in France for 7 years where he ran gourmet tours and learned French at a Parisian Convent, he was very proud telling everyone that the nuns thought, he had “a great French accent.”
Howard was also a wine and food connoisseur and he loved animals and nature, because of his love for nature some of his Estate is allocated to the Sierra Club.
Howard loved to explore the world, he was excited about meeting different people, mingling with them even if he did not speak their language (which was in most cases). He also discussed politics with those he encountered like the Argentinian high commander in charge of the many killings there in the 1970’s. Howard traveled to more than 60 countries throughout his life.
I have established the Howard Strong Memorial Scholarship to support Native American Indians and Alaskan Natives because of Howard’s own personal pride of his Sioux Indian heritage. His maternal grandmother was a Sioux Indian.