Suzanne Foster Receives 2012 Courageous Luminary Award on behalf of Pomona Economic Opportunity Center

From the National Immigration Law Center website:

 “Whether through art, activism, advocacy, or education, each Courageous Luminary shines a light on this nation’s greatest — and most misunderstood — asset: immigrants,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “We are delighted to celebrate their already impressive achievements, and look forward to their many contributions to a growing immigrants’ rights movement.”

This year’s honorees are:

Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize–winning former journalist who in 2011 disclosed in a New York Times Magazine article that he is undocumented. Since then, he has forced the media — many of whose members worked with him in newsrooms across the country — to take a better look at the 11 million women and men who live in this country but lack proper authorization to do so. Vargas’s story was profiled this year in a cover story in Time Magazine, and he worked with Twilight and A Better Life director Chris Weitz to raise awareness of Alabama’s HB 56, the nation’s most discriminatory anti-immigrant law.

Actor Demian Bichir received Academy Award, SAG Award, and Independent Spirit Award nominations for his searing portrayal of an undocumented gardener trying to connect with his estranged teenage son in Chris Weitz’s feature A Better Life. He recently appeared in Oliver Stone’s Savages and Ian Power’s The Runway. He currently is shooting Don Hemingway, starring opposite Jude Law, and stars in the upcoming films Machete Kills for Robert Rodriguez and The Heat for Paul Feig. Prior to A Better Life, Bichir became known to U.S. television audiences for his portrayal of Esteban Reyes opposite Mary Louise Parker in the hit Showtime series Weeds. He also portrayed a young Fidel Castro in Steven Soderbergh's Che opposite Benicio Del Toro. He will be introduced by Weitz, who also has dedicated his considerable talents to enhancing public understanding of the many challenges immigrants working in the U.S. currently face.

SABEResPODER, a Spanish language media firm, is the nation’s highest ranked B, or For Benefit, corporation. This innovative firm empowers Latinos by providing them with valuable information about maintaining financial and physical health using format and language that is accessible. The company’s commitment doesn’t end with the 8 million yearly viewers they reach: SABEResPODER also runs the Migrant Scholars Leadership Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, to help high-achieving students reach their higher education dreams.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP, isn’t your ordinary law firm. Lawyers at Orrick have devoted countless hours to defend the rights of low-income immigrants and their families. Whether volunteering at clinics designed to help immigrant youth obtain deferred action status or filing class action lawsuits to stop unconstitutional attacks on immigrant families, Orrick attorneys bring their considerable expertise and legal know-how to those who are too often ignored by the legal system.

Pomona Economic Opportunity Center, a workers’ rights center headquartered in California’s Inland Empire, empowers workers by fighting for fair pay and a safe work environment for all. An innovative, multi-faceted organization, the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center also fights back against draconian detention and deportation policies that threaten to shatter California’s families and communities.

Established in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center is the only advocacy organization in the United States exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their families. NILC uses a variety of tools, including policy analysis, litigation, education, and advocacy, to advance its mission. Over the past three decades, NILC has won landmark legal decisions protecting fundamental rights, thwarted policies that would have devastated the lives of low-income immigrants and their family members, and advanced major policies that reinforce our nation’s values of equality, opportunity, and justice for all.

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