KIND thanked our extraordinary supporters last night at our 2015 Gala Benefit Dinner “Coming Together for Children Alone” – the law firms, corporations, policymakers, and key individuals who have ensured that thousands of children have representation in their deportation proceedings and a fair chance to access U.S. protection. More than 300 KIND supporters attended the Gala, which was held in New York City. Composer Nico Muhly, a protégé of Philip Glass, gave a special performance.
We presented our 2015 Allegiance Awards to KIND partners Goodwin Procter, Greenberg Traurig, and Perkins Coie for their exemplary work on behalf of their child clients, most of who came to the US to flee increasing violence in their home countries in Central America.
Brad Smith, KIND Board Chair and Microsoft Executive Vice President and General Counsel said that these firms “demonstrate the caring, commitment, and compassion that have changed the course of so many children’s lives.” He added that, collectively, these three firms have provided over 10,000 hours of pro bono services in almost 100 KIND cases. Goodwin Procter Chairman David Hashmall; Greenberg Traurig Shareholder and Co-President Brian Duffy; and Perkins Coie Chairman John Devaney accepted the awards on their firms’ behalf.
Paul Hastings received KIND’s 2015 Founders Award for its support of KIND even before KIND officially opened its doors in January 2009. “Paul Hastings was by our side, ready to provide support and attorneys to help recognize our dream of ensuring that no child face immigration court alone….continually deepening and broadening their commitment,” Smith said. Paul Hastings Global Vice-Chairman Kurt Hansson accepted the award.
Smith presented Exxon Mobil Corporation with KIND’s 2015 Innovation Award. “It’s always a particular pleasure for me to highlight one of our corporate partners who has gone above and beyond in helping the children we serve,” Smith said. “Exxon Mobil Corporation stands out as an invaluable friend to our Houston office, representing a significant number of children and hosting several trainings since our partnership began.” ExxonMobil Counsel Susan Sanchez and Robert Johnson, Assistant General Counsel of Legal Services, accepted the award on the company’s behalf.
Univision Communications Inc and its President and CEO Randy Falco received KIND’s 2015 Champion Award for leadership throughout the child migration crisis last summer by providing comprehensive news coverage, public service announcements, social media outreach, and support for legal representation for these children. “President and CEO Randy Falco embodies his company’s compassion and proves that placing a spotlight on an issue can help foment action and lead to solutions,” Smith said.
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris received KIND’s 2015 Vision Award for making the state of California a groundbreaking leader in a compassionate and effective response to the significant legal representation needs of the many unaccompanied children in her state. “Attorney General Harris recognized the great needs and suffering of these children and implemented a creative solution that is resulting in many more children receiving the representation they need and deserve,” Smith said. “This is a prime example of her dedication to basic fairness and to protecting the human rights of the most vulnerable, including children and immigrant communities.”
Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia made a surprise appearance and discussed his concern for unaccompanied children. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee focusing on Latin America who has great expertise in the region, the plight of these children resonates deeply with him, as does the need to address the root causes of their flight.
In closing the evening, Smith said, “We don’t know what will come this year, but we do know that with our continued collaboration and your extraordinary support, we will not just meet new challenges, but rise above and continue to break new ground in the protection of unaccompanied children. As a result, thousands more will reclaim their childhood and gain a future of hope and safety.”
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