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Humanizing Immigration: Policy Updates and Coordinated Responses at the California Border

Thursday, July 18, 2019
10:00am - 12:00pm PDT
The California Endowment Center for Healthy Communities
1000 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Members: $0.00
Non-Members: $100.00
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Join Southern California Grantmakers, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR), and Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) for a conversation on unprecedented challenges presented by record breaking numbers of asylum-seeking families at the southern California border, and on-the-ground updates from leaders at the local, state, national levels.

After spending two decades chronicling the migration of unaccompanied immigrant children to the United States, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario understands that the debate over immigration in America cannot be reduced to black or white, right or wrong. In her visual presentation, Nazario will share the importance of humanizing immigration — of getting to the roots of why families are migrating in numbers greater than ever and how the U.S. response is exacerbating the situation.

In California, as San Diego is the largest land border crossing in the world, it is more important than ever for our communities to respond strategically to humanitarian issues arising at the border. Until the deep-rooted causes of migration are addressed, we are no longer faced with a one-time crisis, but a situation that will require resilience, innovative solutions, and long-standing infrastructure.

What has been observed on the ground with increasing national attention on migration? Which policies and practices can funders support to ensure humane treatment of the vulnerable migrant population? What are the consequential effects of border issues on local communities? A panel of experts will reflect on how recent national policies are playing out across the country and in California, the role and responsibility required of state government, and the latest on coordinated efforts to address short and long-term challenges.

SCG is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. Conference attendees may hear comments from speakers or from peers in the room which reflect personal opinions and do not represent the opinions of SCG. We endeavor to create spaces for civic discourse and request that you frame questions and perspectives in a way that is respectful to all participants.



Vy Nguyen
Director of Special Projects and Communications, Weingart Foundation

Vy Nguyen joined Weingart Foundation in 2008 as Program Associate, and currently serves as Director of Special Projects, working on special projects that fall outside of the Foundation’s typical responsive grantmaking. Before entering philanthropy, she worked for more than a decade in the nonprofit and public sectors, most recently for the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education and, prior to that, for the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance. Vy holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from University of California, Los Angeles.


Martha Arévalo
Executive Director, Central American Resource Center - Los Angeles

Martha Arévalo is executive director for the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN). In this role, she is responsible for operations, fundraising, program development and strategic communications.  Prior to her appointment, Arévalo was the chair of the Board of Directors for the organization. She specializes in immigrant advocacy work, community outreach and Latino strategic communications.

Norma Chávez-Peterson
Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego & Imperial Counties

Chávez-Peterson is an integral member of San Diego’s civil rights community, with nearly two decades of visionary leadership, organizing and advocacy experience in California’s second-most populous county and southern borderlands. She joined the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties (“ACLU SDIC”) as organizing director in 2012, and became the affiliate’s executive director in 2013. She was instrumental in creating the ACLU SDIC’s integrated advocacy campaign to advance priority issues such as criminal justice reform, police accountability and immigrant rights. Under her leadership, ACLU SDIC staff size has more than doubled to forty dedicated professionals who work with, and within diverse communities to build power together. Further, the affiliate expanded its presence in the Imperial Valley, establishing an Imperial County office in January 2018.

Javier Hernandez
Director, Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice 

Javier Hernandez is an immigrant and queer leader fighting for immigrant rights in the Inland Empire (IE). Javier believes that justice for immigrant communities includes addressing all the intersections that are crucial to the undocumented identity such as health, poverty, criminalization, and other disparities that keep the undocumented marginalized. He has advocated and taken direct action against anti-immigrant policies and deportations throughout the country and has co-founded several grassroots groups. Since 2015, Javier has been the Director of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (IC4IJ), a coalition of over 40 organizations, unions, legal service providers, congregations, etc. that convene to collectively advocate for immigrant justice in the Inland Empire. Through his leadership the IC4IJ has broadened its reach in the Inland Empire, by diversifying its coalition membership and increasing participation in hard to reach areas of the region. Javier believes that through collective organizing and community power, the IE will be a region where justice abounds and the contributions of immigrants are acknowledged and respected.

Sonia Nazario
Author, Enrique's Journey

Sonia Nazario is an award-winning journalist whose stories have tackled some of this country’s most intractable problems — hunger, drug addiction, immigration — and have won some of the most prestigious journalism and book awards. She is best known for "Enrique's Journey," her story of a Honduran boy’s struggle to find his mother in the U.S. Published as a series in the Los Angeles Times, "Enrique's Journey" won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2003. Her recent humanitarian efforts to get lawyers for unaccompanied migrant children led to her selection as the 2015 Don and Arvonne Fraser Human Rights Award recipient by the Advocates for Human Rights. She also was named a 2015 Champion of Children by First Focus and a 2015 Golden Door award winner by HIAS Pennsylvania. In 2016, the American Immigration Council gave her the American Heritage Award. Also in 2016, the Houston Peace & Justice Center honored her with their National Peacemaker Award.

Marcela Ruiz
Branch Chief Immigration and Refugee Programs Branch, California Department of Social Services

Marcela Ruiz is the Chief of the Immigration and Refugee Programs Branch at the California Department of Social Services, where she is responsible for the implementation, administration, and management of over $75 million allocated to non-profit organizations to provide immigration legal services and humanitarian response during emergent situations. Through the Unaccompanied Undocumented Minors and One California programs, among others, Marcela oversees funding to over 100 legal services providers throughout the State. She also oversees the State’s Refugee Programs Bureau and the Trafficking and Crime Victims Assistance Program which provide social services and cash aid to humanitarian migrants including refugees, asylees, and victims of crime. Marcela served as deputy director at California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc., where she held several positions, including regional director, directing attorney, staff attorney and a Berkeley Law Foundation fellow. Marcela worked as a union organizer and served as director of organizing at the New York Hotel Trades Council.  She co-founded Casa México in New York City and was active in the green grocer campaign. She earned a JD from UC Berkeley Law School and a B.A. from Columbia College.




GCIR, HIP, NCG, SCG and SDG, members: No cost to attend
Eligible Non-members: $100

Who May Attend
Current SCG members, GCIR, HIP, NCG, SDG and eligible non-members

GCIR and HIP: please contact Bethanie Milteer at [email protected]
SCG members: register online.
NCG & SDG members: contact [email protected] to register.
Eligible non-members: If you already have an SCG account, log in to register.
If you have additional questions regarding these sessions, please contact us at [email protected]

Accommodations for People with Disabilities
If you have a disability and require accommodation in order to fully participate in this activity, please contact our programs team at [email protected] or (213) 680-8866. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs.

About this Location
This location is ADA compliant, has dedicated nursing rooms, and gender neutral restrooms available.

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