CASA de Maryland hosted its 2015 Justice Awards on June 11, recognizing businesses and individuals who have helped the Latino community.
The event took place at the Josephine Butler Parks Center in the District, where Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen was the keynote speaker and Cecilia Muños, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, was guest the speaker for CASA’s 30th anniversary. More than 200 people attended the event.
This is CASA’s third annual award ceremony.
The organization has helped immigrant communities adjust to life in the United States.
Some of CASA’s achievements include opening a 21,000-square-foot Multicultural Center and headquarters in Langley Park, creating an afterschool leadership program for Baltimore Latino youth and organizing acts of protest.
“CASA has created an environment where folks from other countries have hope and feel connection to this place, instead of feeling isolated and disconnected and feeling that they don’t have anywhere to go,” said Alma Couverthie, a staff member at CASA.
LiUNA! Mid-Atlantic, Adventist Healthcare, Tucker & Associates PLLC, Madai Ledezma and Catia Paz were recognized for their efforts in helping the community.
“As you know, 30 years is quite a remarkable journey,” said Van Hollen (D). “And if you look at CASA’s progress, you can see how it has grown in strength over that 30-year period,”
Periodically, chants of “Si se puede,” the phrase meaning “Yes, we can,” which was popularized by Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in 1972, erupted briefly.
“I’m very focused on trying to pass comprehensive immigration reform because we need to provide permanent stability for the country. We need to do the right thing, and we need to keep fighting,” said Van Hollen.
Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA, led the ceremony with remarks on CASA’s achievements and hopes for the future.
“In those 30 years, we have been helping people in many, many ways. For instance, we have helped people to become U.S. citizens, thousands a day to learn English. Many, many people have been receiving our services in CASA,” said Torres.