The CU Immigration forum announces the award winners of the 2014 Immigrant Welcome Awards. All are invited to the 2014 Immigrant Welcome Awards Celebration to honor the awardees, enjoy food, and live music. Special entertainment will be provided by Djibril Camara and the Mara Giri Dance Ensemble.
What: Immigrant Welcome Awards Celebration
When:Oct 4, 2014 from 2 to 3:30pm
Where: Urbana Lake House, 206 W Park Street, Urbana
Background: The Immigrant Welcome Awards recognizes the contributions of individuals and organizations that have created a welcoming atmosphere for immigrants in the Champaign-Urbana community. The CU Immigration Forum has created the Immigrant Welcome Awards to celebrate the accomplishments of the following individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions, taken risks, and have provided leadership for the wellbeing and success of immigrants in Champaign County.
2014 Immigrant Welcome Award Winners:
Student Leadership Award - student who has shown promise as an important leader in immigration issues, locally or beyond
Allison Perez Briseno is a burgeoning leader in our community. She has participated in local immigration marches with her family and encourages other youth to chant and make an impact at these events. Most recently Allison presented Congressman Rodney Davis' Office with a father's day card where she spoke about the case of a close family member who was deported and the impact that had had on her family. She also shared that many kids at her school are living in constant fear of being separated from their parents. Allison is very young, but is already a strong leader!
Business Leadership Award - A business that contributes to the local immigrant community through advocacy, donations or in-kind servic
es and/or a locally owned immigrant owned business that has contributed to the local economic development of CU.
Rick's Bakery - Despite having language barriers and a lack of understanding about what is needed to own a business in the US. Ricardo opened his own bakery in 2012. He frequently donates products to community and cultural events. In addition, he sells Mexican handcrafts and folk art at his Bakery. He sends the proceeds from the art sales back to his family in Mexico. Ricardo's hard work helps his community both here and abroad, contributes to the local economy, and provides a great example for others.
Leadership Award - An individual who has been a strong leader in the immigrant community.
Guy Lombela is a dedicated leader of the Congolese community. As a Pastor at Stone Creek Church, he does so much for both his congregation and for the Congolese community including finding resources and services for families and individuals as well as creating safe spaces for people to talk about important community issues.
Distinguished Service Award - An individual who has demonstrated long-term commitment to the local immigrant community.
Father Tom Royer (Retired St. Mary's Church) has worked f
or immigrant rights, human rights and social justice for over 30 years. In the 1980s and 1990s he was a leader in the local Sanctuary movement, along with five other area churches. Since then he has welcomed political refugees and their families from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. His parish became a sister community to five small hamlets in rural El Salvador. At St. Mary's he organized times to offer mass in Spanish and also in a Mayan indigenous language. His motto is we work with immigrants not for them and we listen to their concerns.
Community Organization Award - A Nonprofit or community
-based organization, which demonstrates exceptional commitment to serving and advocating for local immigrants
East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center has been serving refugees, immigrants, and political asylees in CU since 1980. They serve thousands of individuals and families every year. Ms. Ho and M s. Hlavna are the driving force of the Center, but all of the staff have shown exemplary and sustained commitment to the refugee and immigrant community. They work day and night, and even on weekends.
The Champaign-Urbana Immigration Forum is composed of immigrants, students, local clergy, service providers, labor unions representatives and ordinary citizens concerned about the progress and plight of immigrants in the Champaign County community.