2012 Border Heroes Awards Dinner

Judge Salazar Mendoza,  West Paul Cosgrove, Rev. Alexia Salvatierra


The Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center 2012 Border Heroes Awards Dinner will take place October 20, 2012 at Temple Mt. Sinai, 4408 N. Stanton Street, El Paso, TX 79902 from 6-9 pm.

The Board of Directors of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center is proud to announce that the annual Border Heroes Awards will go this year to two longtime community leaders who have dedicated their lives to making our border a more just and humane place, the Honorable Maria Salas Mendoza and West P. Cosgrove.

Judge Maria Salas Mendoza, is the president of the El Paso Bar Association, District Court Judge of the 120th Judicial District Court, and a member of the El Paso Community Justice Council. She is a tireless advocate on behalf of women and children in the borderland. Judge Salas Mendoza is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law and received her undergraduate degree from Harvard-Radcliffe College.

West Paul Cosgrove has been a border activist for the past seventeen years. He is the founder of Project Puente and Casa Puente. West has been involved in numerous community activities along the borderland, but most recently organized We the Border: Envisioning a Narrative for Our Future in conjunction with Border Network for Human Rights. West recently moved to the Nogales, AZ-Nogales, Sonora border to work with the Kino Border Initiative.

Alexia Salvatierra, is the keynote speaker this year. She was the Executive Director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice—beginning as the director of CLUE in Los Angeles and then as the first CLUE-CA director. CLUE-CA was the initial lead agency for the New Sanctuary Movement, in which congregations in 37 cities around the country accompany and support immigrant workers and their families facing deportation

Tickets are $100 each or a table of 8 for $800. Checks may be made to Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center.

For more information or to buy tickets please call Katie Hudak, Executive Director at 915-544-5126, ext. 22 or email: katieaniahudak@las-americas.org.

Download the Border Heroes 2012 Flyer

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Casa Puente

Friends of Las Americas,

We would like to make you aware of a great organization that provides local lodging. Please help us spread the word about about Casa Puente:

Casa Puente is a temporary home away from home, suitable for non-profit interns, small groups (10 or less) who come to the border for immersion trips, or anyone in the peace and justice or non-profit world looking for a temporary place to stay in El Paso. Located at 1009 N. Florence in El Paso, TX, the house boasts many amenities.

Please see Casa Puente’s flyer for more information.

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The Las Americas Site is Back!

The Staff at Las Americas would like to thank everyone for their patience during our transition and reconstruction period. As you can see, our website is back up and fully functioning. If you continue to experience problems, please contact the webmaster Administrator@las-americas.org.

Thank You!

-Las Americas Staff and Board of Directors.

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PHOTOS: 2011 Border Heroes Awards

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BORDER HEROES in the El Paso Times!

El Paso professor, surgeon named Border Heroes

By Hayley Kappes \ El Paso Times
Posted: 11/06/2011 12:00:00 AM MDT
Dr. Enrique Suarez congratulates honoree Kathleen Staudt at… (Victor Calzada / El Paso Times)

›› Photo gallery: Border Heroes

University of Texas at El Paso Professor Kathleen Staudt and surgeon Jacob Heydemann were honored Saturday for years of giving back to the community.

The two were given the Border Heroes Award before 200 people at Temple Mount Sinai. The award was given by La Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, a nonprofit organization that offers legal representation to low-income immigrants, including refugees and battered women.

Staudt, a political science professor, in 1998 founded the Center for Civic Engagement, which connects UTEP students with agencies that help people and introduces them to volunteering in the community.

Since the center opened, thousands of UTEP students have volunteered by teaching U.S. citizenship classes and English as a second language to immigrants and by working with child-care and tutoring programs at the YWCA.

“I feel strongly in connecting students with real experiences that provide them with skills that they don’t always get in the classroom or from books,” Staudt said. “A lot of students, until they were involved with the center, had no idea of the ways to get involved in the nonprofit sector.”

The escalated cartel violence in Juárez has hindered students at the center from volunteering at serviceorganizations, including Casa Amiga, a domestic violence and rape crisis center in Juárez, Staudt said.

“This is such a special place,” she said. “The international border is what attracted me to come here in the first place. I’m optimistic that five years down the road the day will come when both of our cities can get back to our healthy relationship.”

Heydemann, an orthopedic surgeon in El Paso, works for free in clinics and hospitals throughout the state of Chihuahua, including FEMAP’s Hospital de la Familia in Juárez.

Most of his work is focused on treating children who require specialized orthopedic care and whose families can’t afford medical costs, Heydemann said.

“I’m a big believer of giving back to the community and improving the quality of life. I’m fortunate to have the skill set that I do to be able to give back.”

The awards dinner featured a keynote speech by journalist Angela Kocherga, the border bureau chief for Belo Television’s 20 stations and regional cable networks. Sister Phyllis Nolan, a volunteer at Las Americas, received a special award for her work with immigrant detention center detainees.

Rabbi Larry Bach, vice president of the Las Americas board, said the organization each year honors people in broad backgrounds who engage in community service.

“During their lifetime, both (Heidemann and Staudt) have done tremendous work in our community,” Bach said. “Las Americas provides one important service on the border in the immigrant community, and this is how we recognize those doing great work in a variety of fields.”

Hayley Kappes may be reached at hkappes@elpasotimes.com; 546-6168.

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An interview with our Executive Director

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