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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.”
Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards Committee
Richard W. Odgers
The Honorable James L. Warren (Ret.)
23rd Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards Sponsors
Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock
Andy & Eva Grove
Lisa P. Lindelef
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Tafapolsky & Smith LLP
van Löben Sels/RembeRock Foundation
AILA Northern California Chapter
Duane Morris LLP
Jackson & Hertogs LLP
Richard W. Odgers
Reginald D. Steer
Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
Bingham McCutchen LLP
Law Offices of Fellom & Solorio
Shartsis Friese LLP
Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale, LLP
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
Minami Tamaki LLP
Lisa Spiegel & 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