Freedom From Fear Award Winners

Monday, June 20, 2011

I didn't get a chance to put up the live feed info - but you can check out more information below:

Four DREAM students who walked 1500 miles from Miami to Washington DC to dramatize the barriers facing undocumented immigrants. Two men—one American and one South Asian—who rescued trafficked guest workers from virtual bondage. A police chief who was vilified for speaking up against local enforcement of federal immigration laws. An African American legislator in the Deep South who helped pass a model anti-racial profiling ordinance, citing the unlawful targeting of immigrants in his state. LGBTQ and undocumented youth spurring others to come out of the shadows.

These and other “unsung heroes” are recipients of the first Freedom from Fear Awards, honoring “ordinary people who have committed extraordinary acts of courage on behalf of immigrants and refugees — individuals who have taken a risk, set an example, and inspired others to awareness or action.” Fifteen winners were announced today at the 2011 Netroots Nation conference in Minneapolis, MN.

The Awards are particularly fitting on the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides that helped dismantle segregation in the South, and on the heels of the Arab Spring that has shown the power of ordinary people overcoming their fear, said sponsors of the Awards.

The Freedom from Fear Award was created by philanthropic leaders Geri Mannion and Taryn Higashi as a way of “paying forward” $10,000 they received as co-recipients of the 2009 Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking, presented by the Council on Foundations. Friends and colleagues contributed additional funds to meet a $100,000 challenge grant from the W.K.Kellogg Foundation, thus enabling 15 winners to receive $5,000 each and a commissioned art piece. The awards were administered and produced by Public Interest Projects (PIP).

Higashi explained the founders’ motivation, “Immigration is a very controversial issue right now. We wanted to recognize some of the incredible unsung heroes who are standing up in their communities—sometimes at great personal risk—to make this a more just and humane society for immigrants.”

The new one-time prize attracted 380 nominations from 42 states through online outreach and word-of-mouth. “We were so inspired by reading all these stories—young people risking deportation to educate policy makers, police officers who resist racial profiling, business people who challenge their peers,” said Mannion. “It’s worth celebrating how many courageous people are working to keep us strong as a nation of immigrants.”
Read it in full here.