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Immigrant-rights activist Isabel Garcia awarded $150,000 grant

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  • abeltranjurisdr@aol.com
    http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/ss/border/104867.php tucsoncitizen.com Immigrant-rights activist Isabel Garcia awarded $150,000 grant Will aid Derechos Humanos,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 15, 2008


      Immigrant-rights activist Isabel Garcia awarded $150,000 grant

      Will aid Derechos Humanos, which she helped found

      December 10, 2008, 10:32 p.m.
      Tucson Citizen

      A Tucson human-rights activist received a $150,000 prize from a cultural foundation for her community work.
      Pima County's legal defender, Isabel Garcia, was among five people awarded the Lannan Foundation's Prize for Cultural Freedom for 2008.

      Garcia is a co-founder of Derechos Humanos, a local organization that defends immigrant rights and works to publicize conditions on the U.S-Mexico border.

      "I'm very happy the foundation would be willing to recognize somebody like me, who is considered controversial with the mainstream media," Garcia said.

      But her greatest reward, she said, comes from people on the street thanking her for her work with the community.
      "This prize will allow me to continue the fight for the most basic human rights for migrants," Garcia said.
      A large portion of the prize will go to Derechos Humanos, she said.

      The foundation gave ou t $750,000 to the five winners for their work in the U.S., Mexico and the United Kingdom, according to the foundation's Web site.

      Other winners this year were rewarded for their work on environmental justice, American Indian cultural preservation, prisoner's rights and stopping violence against women.

      The Lannan organization is a 40-year-old family foundation dedicated to "cultural freedom and diversity" based in Santa Fe, N.M., that recognizes artists, writers and activists. The Cultural Freedom Award was created in 2003 "to honor individuals working on behalf of communities struggling to uphold and defend their right to cultural freedom and diversity."

      Copyright © 2008 TucsonCitizen.com.



      Our Opinion: Isabel Garcia: Compassion and courage earn reward

      December 12, 2008, 3:32 p.m.
      Tucson Citizen

      Congratulations to Isabel Garcia, whose determined and compassionate service to indigenous and immigrant communities finally has won positive national recognition.

      Garcia this week was given the Lannan Foundation's $150,00020Cultural Freedom Award.

      We would like to supplement that award with 1 million thanks.

      Garcia has some spiteful enemies in the Tucson area, certainly, but they are outnumbered by her friends, fans and supporters.

      She co-founded the local Coalición Derechos Humanos (Coalition of Human Rights), which defends immigrants' rights and publicizes conditions on our border with Mexico.

      She also fearlessly puts herself front and center at every opportunity to raise awareness about the hostility and maltreatment doled out to indigenous peoples, including illegal immigrants.

      Controversy erupted in July, for example, when she and other activists picketed outside a book-signing by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is accused in lawsuits of targeting Latinos specifically for harassment and arrests.
      After young activists decapitated a piñata resembling Arpaio, Garcia carried the sheriff's faux head out of the parking lot.

      The mere visual incited shrill calls for her to be fired from her job as a deputy public defender for Pima County. But the county's review of the incident showed no wrongdoing, and common sense prevailed.

      Garcia even stirred controversy in Mexico when its Commission of Human Rights wanted to give her an award in November 2006.

      She would not accept unless Mexico would let her speak on that nation's "si lence and complicity in the deaths of over 5,000 migrants on the border."

      Officials agreed but reneged once she was there. So Garcia refused to attend the ceremony and instead held her own news conference.

      Now she has the Lannan Foundation's Cultural Freedom Award, for "people whose extraordinary and courageous work celebrates the human right to freedom of imagination, inquiry, and expression."

      Past recipients include Mahmoud Darwish, Palestinian poet and human rights advocate; Helen Caldicott, physician and activist; and Robert Fisk, British journalist and author.

      Clearly Garcia, who is investing most of her award back into Derechos Humanos, is in good company. And with her in our community, we're in good company, too. Congratulations.

      Copyright © 2008 TucsonCitizen.com.




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