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carlos spector: Inaugural border heroes legacy award

Carlos Spector, a native of El Paso, Texas, received his Juris Doctorate from Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston, Texas in 1986.  He has been practicing immigration law in El Paso, Texas for 30 years, specializing in Mexican asylum claims. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Spector worked for U.S. Congressman Mickey Leland (Houston-D) as a special assistant handling immigration and labor issues.  Mr. Spector served as Texas State Chair of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National Immigration Task Force under President Jose Garcia de Lara, 1988-1990. Mr. Spector was also co-founder of the National Network for Immigrant Rights and currently serves on the Board of the Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso, Texas.  Mr. Spector strongly advocates for Mexican exiles seeking asylum and currently is representing over 80 Mexican families in their asylum claims. He has co-founded the non-profit group Mexicanos en Exilio which seeks to help Mexican asylum seekers in their search for justice both in Mexico and in the United States.  He won one of the first Mexican asylum claims in 1990 and continues specializing in Mexican asylum claims. He is also a founding member of the Texas Latino Jewish Leadership Council.  The Texas LJLC, launched in November 2018, is comprised of 26 prominent Texas-based Jewish and Latino leaders who advocate together on issues of common concern and defend values cherished by both communities.  It is the first affiliate of the national Latino Jewish Leadership Council, established by American Jewish Committee (AJC) two years ago.

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stephanie karr: border heroes award

Stephanie Karr received her Masters in Speech Pathology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1977. She has served the El Paso community since 1983, when she began as an instructor for early childhood development and special education courses at the El Paso Community College. Mrs. Karr established her own private speech and language pathology practice in 1983 before founding El Papalote Daycare at the El Paso Rehabilitation Center in 1988. She served as the Director of El Papalote Daycare as well as the Clinical Director of the El Paso Rehabilitation Center from 1988 until 1992. From 1992 to 2005, Mrs. Karr served as the Executive Director of the Child Crisis Center. The keystone of her career has been serving as the Executive Director of the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence (CASFV) from January 2008 until December 2018. Among her major accomplishments at CASFV is the construction of the brand new shelter, which was completed in 2018. In response to the increasing need for capacity, under Karr’s leadership, CASFV successfully launched and completed a $7.5 million campaign to rebuild its shelter. In addition, Karr oversaw the transition from a family violence organization to a dual service agency for survivors of sexual and family violence. In 2011, the then-Center Against Family Violence, embarked on the strategic process of incorporating services to survivors of sexual violence. The following four years found Karr leading community stakeholders and staff to develop a model of wrap around services. In fall of 2015, the agency reintroduced itself as the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence.

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annunciation house

Founded in 1978, Annunciation House is an entirely volunteer-run nonprofit shelter network serving immigrants and refugees along the U.S./Mexico. Annunciation House has had a profound impact on immigrants and the El Paso border community. The organization has provided a safe space for thousands of immigrants and refugees. In the last year, Annunciation House has especially been a beacon of hope in the El Paso community. As a response to the family separation crisis and influx of immigrants and refugees seeking asylum, Annunciation House made national news for its efforts to provide hospitality to those in need. When the organization’s shelter was at capacity, they were able to house immigrants and refugees in some 200 hotel rooms in order to provide them with proper shelter. In 2019, Annunciation House opened its newest and largest shelter, Casa del Refugiado, to house up to 1,500 people.  It is truly a privilege to be in this community with the leadership of Annunciation House. They are an example of compassion in times when it is most needed. We are honored to award them at this year’s Border Heroes Resilience Event.