2013 Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards

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In the legacy of the late Phillip Burton, US Representative from California (1964-1983), Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) recognizes those who have significantly impacted and advanced the civil rights of immigrants in the areas of policy, advocacy, or lawyering. On Friday, May 31, 2013, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center joined with 300 friends, partners, and supporters to honor Senator Dick Durbin and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Jose Antonio Vargas.

The evening opened with ILRC Board President, Lisa Spiegel, pointing to generation after generation of immigrant families who sought the freedom and happiness embodied in the American Dream. And as a reminder that this dream continues to thrive, Denisse Rojas and Steve Li, members of the creative writing program at Educators for Fair Consideration, shared their personal struggles as DREAMers.

The important role the Immigrant Legal Resource Center continues to play in immigration reform was highlighted by ILRC Advisory Board Member, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. She stressed the urgency of taking action now and her firm belief that “immigrants make America more American.” The Inaugural Nancy Pelosi Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy was personally presented by Congresswoman Pelosi to Senator Dick Durbin, for “there is no one who has done more legislatively for the DREAMers.” As featured speaker, Senator Durbin shared his own immigrant story and spoke of the myriad ways DREAMers are shaping our nation’s future.

Jose Antonio Vargas was presented with the Phillip Burton Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Advocacy by Bill Hing, ILRC Founder. The award recognizes  the courage and tenacity it takes to come out publicly as an undocumented immigrant. Bill commended Jose Antonio for his “rebellious advocacy,” using every avenue available to advocate for the immigrant community. Vargas, who has not seen his own mother for more than 20 years, spoke of the tremendous sacrifices families make and the importance of supporting fair and just immigration reform.

It was truly an inspirational evening for all, with personal accounts of sacrifice, reminders of our origins and a call to continue fighting for the rights of all immigrants. Throughout the evening, each honoree was met with a standing ovation in recognition of their commitment and dedication to immigrant rights. Jose Antonio closed with a strong sentiment for all DREAMers,  “I am an American; I am just waiting for my country to recognize me.”

Special thanks to ILRC’s supporters, partners, friends, and all those committed to Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Videos and pictures of the evening are available below.

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Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards Committee

Richard W. Odgers

Toni Rembe
Reginald Steer
The Honorable James L. Warren (Ret.)

23rd Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards Sponsors

Premiere Sponsors

Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock


Major Sponsors

Emerson Collective

Andy & Eva Grove

Lisa P. Lindelef

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Tafapolsky & Smith LLP

van Löben Sels/RembeRock Foundation

Roger Wu


Principal Sponsors

AILA Northern California Chapter

Duane Morris LLP

Jackson & Hertogs LLP

Richard W. Odgers

Reginald D. Steer


Patron Sponsors

Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

Bingham McCutchen LLP

Bill Hing

Law Offices of Fellom & Solorio

David Rorick

Shartsis Friese LLP

Union Bank

Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale, LLP


Partner Sponsors

AILA Santa Clara Valley Chapter

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Chow King & Associates

GCA Law Partners LLP

International Institute of the Bay Area

Kazan, McClain, Abrams, Fernandez, Lyons, Greenwood, Oberman, Satterley & Bosl Foundation

Law Offices of Norton Tooby

Larry Miao

Minami Tamaki LLP

Lisa Spiegel and Michael Ungar

William W. Stahl, Inc.

Tomlinson Law Group, P.C.

Donald Ungar & Susan Romer

Hon. James L. Warren (Ret.)

Weaver Schlenger Mazel LLP

Allen S. Weiner & Mary J. Dent