ILCM’s Annual Gala Features World-Renowned Guatemalan filmmaker, Luis Argueta, and Twin Cities Premiere Showing of his film Abrazos
MINNEAPOLIS (May 29, 2015) – Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (ILCM) held its annual gala at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis to celebrate and recognize ILCM and other leaders on immigration issues, both locally and nationally.
The event began with the Twin Cities premiere of the documentary film Abrazos, a story about a group of children from Worthington, Minnesota, who journey to Guatemala to meet their grandparents and experience their culture for the first time. Luis Argueta, the Guatemalan director of the movie, spoke about the families of Abrazos and how, “their stories highlight some of the worst effects of our broken immigration system; however, they also provide motivation to pass comprehensive immigration solutions that would give several generations of family members the freedom to stay together.”
John Keller, the executive director of ILCM, echoed the theme of the night: “family” when he stated that, “We work to protect and care for the old and the young, we sacrifice in our work and our education, we strive for the opportunity to keep them from danger while we promise better futures. Family sums up most of what immigration is about and it is our theme for tonight.”
At the Gala, ILCM recognized outstanding organizations and individuals who have shown both dedication and excellence in furthering the mission of ILCM. State Advocate of the Year award winners are Luis Argueta and Lisa Kremer, for their innovative, compassionate work in creating the film Abrazos, and for their advocacy for comprehensive immigration reform. ILCM’s National Advocate Award was presented to four volunteer attorneys from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA): Kim Hunter, Paula Duthoy, Michelle Rivero, and Kara Lynum, who helped initiate the Artesia Pro Bono Project, which provided free legal services for unlawfully detained immigrants in the Artesia Family Residential Center. Attendees of the Gala were encouraged to stay informed and get involved in the movement to end family detention. U.S. Bank was honored as the Pro Bono Partner of the Year for their years of support, and for their service to low income immigrants and refugees across Minnesota. Finally, ILCM recognized Steven Forrest as ILCM’s Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Award for his tremendous work with ILCM’s office in Worthington, and Kenneth Granle as Volunteer of the Year, for his tireless support since the fall of 2013.
ILCM is a state-wide nonprofit 501(c)3 legal service provider in Minnesota. ILCM provides free comprehensive immigration services to low-income persons of all nationalities who are ineligible for federally funded legal services programs. ILCM is also one of the few agencies in Minnesota to provide immigration education, training and outreach to other professionals and the community.