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Coalition’s 2016 Gala Recognizes Champions in Immigrant Integration, Community Development, and Financial Empowerment


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Press Contact: Thanu Yakupitiyage,  Main Phone: 212-627-2227 x235,  E-mail: tyaku@nyic.org
New York  (Tuesday, May 24, 2016)

Coalition’s 2016 Gala Recognizes Champions in Immigrant Integration, Community Development, and Financial Empowerment

(New York, NY) On Tuesday evening, at the elegant Capitale venue on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, four hundred individuals representing community organizations, labor groups, faith organizations, businesses, and government gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of the New York Immigration Coalition at its 2016 Gala. The annual gala held by the NYIC, honored key leaders who have contributed tremendously to improving the livelihoods of immigrant communities – including Joyce Chang, Managing Director and Head of Global Research at J.P. Morgan ChaseJosefina Vázquez Mota, President of Juntos Podemos, andSuzette Brooks Masters, Immigration and Integration expert and Former Program Director for Migration at J.M. Kaplan Fund. The Coalition also bestowed its annual Member of the Year award toAfrican Services Committee for their extraordinary work supporting African immigrant communities.

In his welcome to guests, Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said, “We are delighted to gather this evening with a record 400 guests - to celebrate our accomplishments, to graciously thank our nearly members from across the state for their hard work, and to honor the work of exceptional individuals and organizations whose vision for supporting immigrants has been truly noteworthy.

"Since last June, we've reached even greater heights - serving our 28,000th immigrant New Yorker and issuing our 18,000th identity document through our Key to the City initiative; registering 8,500 New York City students through the second annual Student Voter Registration Day, working with dozens of our member agencies to train and prepare thousands of immigrant New Yorkers, advocates, and service providers on immigration relief, and bringing the National Immigrant Integration Conference to Brooklyn this past December, where 1,400 people from diverse sectors discussed immigrant integration needs of our nation. This year, we also mobilized 700 New Yorkers from New York City, Long Island, Westchester, and upstate New York to go to the United States Supreme Court to join thousands more to call on the Justices to undo the delays to President Obama’s immigration relief programs. 

"But there’s a lot more to come, and we will continue to work hard to uplift New York’s immigrant communities. A huge thank you to our amazing staff, Board and members who keep New York immigrant strong!”

The first award of the night – the NYIC Member of the Year Award - was presented to African Services Committee (ASC) for thirty three years of exceptional service to New York’s Black and African immigrant communities.

Kim Nichols, co-executive director at African Services Committee accepted the award along with co-executive director Asfaha Hadera and Bakary Tandia, policy advocate for ASC and NYIC board member, saying, “Our partnership with the New York Immigration Coalition dates back to 1992, when we first joined forces to strike down the HIV immigration ban in the U.S. We have ridden buses together to Washington and Albany; tackled issues together such as the Dream Act, DACA, DAPA, language access, healthcare access, affordable housing, education, and fair wages for immigrants. Most recently, African Services Committee is proud to be part of the Black Immigrant Engagement Initiative, which we share with NYIC and several other Black immigrant legal and community services providers."

“African Services Committee is honored to be named Member of the Year and commend the New York Immigration Coalition, our partners too numerous to name, and the champions of the immigrant rights movement who continue to act in the interest of immigrants, refugees, asylees, asylum seekers, and all displaced people from wherever they may come.”

The first recipient of NYIC’s Justice & Opportunity Award for the night was presented to Josefina Vázquez Mota, President of Juntos Podemos a program made up of 5 organizations: Parents Alliance, Latinos Together, Siempre México, Integra Institute and Unidos en Salud. Ms. Vázquez Mota’s leadership has helped contribute to better development of Mexicans living in the United States, as well as improving their ties with Mexico.

Mrs. Vázquez Mota said, “There are close to 35 million Mexicans and Mexican Americans living in the United States today. For many of them integration is very difficult, it’s a process that requires effort and determination, but at the end they provide new opportunities for their children. Helping the Latino community has great value for me and I always try to do my work with love and passion, because they are a part of my family. Through Juntos Podemos, the organization I am proud to represent, we support several projects, but we do take special focus on education because we believe that it is the main path for effective integration. I feel very honored and grateful that our work has been recognized by the New York Immigration Coalition.”

The second recipient of NYIC’s Justice & Opportunity Award was presented to Joyce Chang, Managing Director and Head of Global Research at J.P. Morgan Chase, who is a critical role model for women and Asian Pacific Islanders (API) in the financial sector. 

In her acceptance speech, Ms. Chang said, "I am honored to receive the Justice & Opportunity Award from the New York Immigration Coalition. J.P. Morgan is proud to be one of the sponsors of the New York Immigration Coalition gala. As a company, we have worked hard to develop programs and services that strengthen financial literacy and workforce skills for immigrants to overcome obstacles by creating partnerships that are affordable and technology friendly, focused on integrating immigrants as a vital part of the economy." 

The final award of the evening was the NYIC Special Achievement Award, presented to the Former Program Director for Migration at J.M. Kaplan Fund Suzette Brooks Masters for her contributions that truly shaped the field of immigrant integration from the national to the local level.

Accepting her award, Ms. Brooks Masters said, “I am honored to be recognized by the Coalition, the only organization in New York dedicated solely to improving the lives of immigrants and refugees across our large and populous state. In today’s highly volatile political environment, the Coalition is making a strong case for embracing immigration and supporting integration by demonstrating that immigrants and refugees -- representing nearly 1 out of every 4 New Yorkers -- are one of our greatest resources.”

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The New York Immigration Coalition is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees.The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.


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