with U.S. Representative Jason Crow, Colorado Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, and Colorado State Representative Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez
Honorees include Harry Budisidharta; State Senator Julie Gonzales; and Juan Pérez Saéz.
Westminster, Colorado, April 9, 2019—The Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN) is celebrating the 14th annual Immigrant Liberty Awards on Friday, April 12, 2019 to honor Asian Pacific Development Center CEO Harry Budisidharta; Colorado State Senator Julie Gonzales; and The Wilderness Society’s Energy and Climate Campaign Manager Juan Pérez Saéz.
Approximately 400 guests will attend the annual event at the Seawell Ballroom at the Denver Center for Performing Arts to celebrate the immense contributions these exceptional advocates have made to advance the rights and well-being of immigrants and refugees in Colorado, and to raise funds to support RMIAN’s life-changing legal services for immigrant adults and children. Former clients of RMIAN will be present to share their incredible stories of courage and perseverance aligned with the theme of the evening: “We All Belong.”
Honoree and Colorado State Senator Julie Gonzales said, “Even as immigrants and asylum and refugee applicants are under unprecedented attack by our government, it is important to celebrate our victories and take time to build community. I am deeply humbled to be recognized along such fierce leaders, and am excited to continue fighting for access to justice for all alongside RMIAN.”
RMIAN also will honor the Denver office of law firm WilmerHale with the Pro Bono Service Award, in recognition of the firm’s leadership in providing extraordinary pro bono legal services through RMIAN to immigrant parents separated from their children at the height of last summer’s family’s separation crisis.
“This year has seen relentless attacks on the immigrant community nationwide and in Colorado, from the civil immigration detention center in Aurora expanding to detain an additional 400 individuals on any given day, to the surge of asylum-seeking families and children placed in fast-tracked immigration proceedings before the Denver Immigration Court. Against this devastating backdrop, this year’s honorees and their collective work for a more just society provide powerful inspiration and hope,” said RMIAN Executive Director Mekela Goehring.
U.S. Representative Jason Crow will welcome a former RMIAN client at the event. “The community I represent is stronger and more vibrant because of the contributions of immigrants. As we face an administration that deals in fear-mongering and promotes draconian immigration practices, the work of RMIAN is more important than ever,” said Crow. “As a member of Congress, the promise I make is to never stop fighting for your communities and the comprehensive immigration reform this country so desperately needs.”
Mayor Michael B. Hancock will share remarks to open the awards ceremony. In 2017, Mayor Hancock signed Executive Order 142 to establish the Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund to provide immigration legal representation for Denver residents. As a grantee of the Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund, RMIAN has been able to hire two full-time attorneys dedicated to representing Denver residents who are ensnared in immigration enforcement actions and detained at the Aurora immigration detention center.
“Denver is proud to work alongside these outstanding leaders to support our immigrant residents, ensure that they feel safe, and promote due process and access to justice for vulnerable members of our communities,” said Mayor Hancock. “In the face of a continuing push at the federal level to target immigrants with inhumane policies, it’s never been more important to further our ability to meet a core mission—to preserve and protect families and children living in Denver and cities across the country.”
Colorado’s Attorney General Phil Weiser will welcome guests to the reception. “RMIAN is a terrific organization that provides legal services for immigrants here in Colorado, helping us welcome and support valued members of our community. As Attorney General, I look forward to working with RMIAN to ensure the fair and legal treatment of immigrants, recognizing the contributions they make to our society,” said Attorney General Phil Weiser.
Colorado’s Secretary of State Jena Griswold will offer remarks to celebrate the honorees. “I congratulate this year’s Immigrant Liberty Awards honorees and commend the tireless work of RMIAN to support immigrants and refugees in Colorado,” said Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold. “As Secretary of State for Colorado, I recognize the immeasurable contributions by immigrants to our economy and culture, and I am committed to foster a prosperous and just society for all.”
This year’s event will include dinner, a silent and live auction, and an awards ceremony.
RMIAN is a nonprofit organization that serves low-income adults and children in immigration proceedings. RMIAN promotes knowledge of legal rights, provides effective representation to ensure due process, works to improve detention conditions, and promotes a more humane immigration system, including alternatives to detention.