15 Freedom from Fear Awardees Announced!

Freedom From Fear Award Commends 15 “Ordinary People” for Extraordinary Acts of Courage on Behalf of Immigrants and Refugees; Winners Named at 2011 Netroots Nation Conference

(Minneapolis, MN, June 15, 2011) 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. Read the rest of the press release here.


For further information of the award winners, click on each name below (in some cases, one prize was given to a group of winners working together):

Erika Andiola: Phoenix, AZ.
Leader of Arizona DREAM Coalition who challenged three powerful senators

Osfel Andrade: Anaheim, CA
Worker fighting retaliation for leading 500 colleagues to sue employer for back wages

Xiomara Benitez Blanco: Chapel Hill, NC
Woman who exposed sexual harassment and blackmail by immigration officer

Maria Bolanos Hernandez: Hyattsville, MD
Victim of “Secure Communities” program who is now a vocal critic

Wei Chen, Xu Lin, Bach Tong, and Duong Nghe Le: Philadelphia, PA
Asian immigrant high school students who led an eight-day boycott to stop school violence

David Cho: South Pasadena, CA
Korean American drum major of the UCLA marching band who “came out” as undocumented

Jack Harris: Phoenix Arizona
Former Chief of Police who was vilified for speaking out against passage of Arizona’s “Show Me Your Papers” law, SB 1070

Gene Lefebvre and Sarah Roberts: Tucson, AZ
Co-founders of No More Deaths group providing humanitarian aid to people dying along the US-Mexico border

Chokwe Lumumba: Jackson, MS
African American City Council member who wrote and helped to pass a model anti-racial profiling ordinance in Jackson, MS

Mark Massey: Sand Springs, OK
Pentecostal lay minister who has helped more than 500 Indian guest workers escape virtual servitude

Gaby Pacheco, Juan Rodriguez, Felipe Matos and Carlos Roa: Miami, FL
Students who walked 1,500 miles from Miami to Washington, DC to tell the story of undocumented youth

Antonella Packard: Saratoga Springs, UT
Republican businesswoman who challenges fellow conservatives on their anti-immigration policies.

Rigo Padilla, Reyna Wences and Tania Unzueta: Chicago, IL
Leaders of the Immigrant Youth Justice League and organizers of the “National Coming Out of the Shadows Days”

Aby Raju: Macon, GA
Leader of 250 Indian guest workers who escaped captivity and won redress from Congress and recognition from labor unions

Elizabeth Ruiz and Rick Covington: Vancouver, WA
Two unlikely friends who have fought deportation and led grassroots calls for immigration reform in Washington State


For further information on this award winner or to schedule an interview, please contact

The Freedom From Fear Awards are produced by Public Interest Projects, (PIP).  PIP is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that brings together and strengthens the work of philanthropic institutions, donors, nonprofit groups and other public interest organizations sharing a vision of a society that ensures justice, dignity and opportunity for all people.   Statements and activities of Freedom from Fear Award winners do not necessarily reflect the views of PIP.

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