The fight for immigration reform is one of the most pressing human rights struggles our communities face today. And the folks who are at the heart and front lines of pushing the movement forward are not politicians and legislators, but everyday people who often incur great risk to themselves — whether its facing deportation or harassment or vilification from their peers.
Folks like David Cho, a Korean American UCLA drum major who “came out” as undocumented on the steps of LA City Hall. People like Wei Chen, Xu Lin, Bach Tong, and Duong Nghe Le — Philadelphia immigrant high school students — who after being repeatedly beaten by other students and ignored by school officials, led a boycott and federal lawsuit that forced the district to protect the safety of Asian immigrant students, and who now lead a city-wide campaign for safe schools.
Individuals like Gaby Pacheco, Juan Rodriguez, Felipe Matos and Carlos Roa, undocumented students who walked 1,500 miles from Miami to DC to raise awareness around detention and deportation and the DREAM Act, overcoming constant fear of arrest and anti-immigrant protesters like the Klu Klux Klan. Like Aby Raju, a guest worker hired by a US company and living in an isolated labor camp, who helped 250 others escape and traveled on foot from New Orleans to DC, launching a month-long hunger strike and testifying against abusive labor traffickers.
The Freedom From Fear Awards honors these and other “unsung heroes” or “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.” Several Freedom from Fear Award winners will speak during the closing session of Netroots Nation on Saturday June 18th in Minneapolis, an annual conference which attracts several thousand progressive bloggers and organizers.
You can tune into the livestream at 5 pm Central Time here or on the Netroots site here. Find more info on the Freedom From Fear Award and its courageous winners here. Turn on, tune in, and take action.