For Immediate Release
September 6, 2018
Contact: Karina Martinez | Karinam@mifamiliavota.org
Mi Familia Vota To Pay Tribute To Co-Founder and Latino Leader Eliseo Medina
Inaugural Advocacy Awards in Washington, DC Will Also Honor ACLU Attorney Lee Gelernt
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mi Familia Vota (MFV), a national civic engagement organization, will pay tribute to its co-founder and renowned Latino leader Eliseo Medina at a reception in Washington, D.C. on Monday, September 10, 2018. MFV also will present its inaugural Advocacy Award to Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The Advocacy Awards will be presented at a reception Monday, September 10th, from 5pm to 7pm, at the rooftop terrace of the National Urban League, 1805 7th St. NW, Washington, DC.
MFV, begun in 2000, was the product of Medina, who was then serving as Service Employees International Union International Vice President (the first Mexican-American on the executive board), and then-union organizer Ben Monterroso. MFV was created with the vision of growing Latino political power to improve economic and social justice for Latino and immigrant communities. Medina oversaw the growth of MFV, which now operates in 15 cities in six states. This year, MFV reached a milestone of 450,000 voter registrations. Medina stepped down from the MFV board this year.
“Under Eliseo’s leadership, MFV helped grow the culture of voting in the Latino community in order to help build political power. MFV also increased the engagement of immigrants, regardless of status, in the non-voting civic process. Because of his vision, we are prepared to meet the challenges we now face, including mounting attacks against voting rights and immigrants’ rights,” Monterroso said.
Mi Familia Vota recognizes the importance of efforts outside of the field that sustain the community work, including the work being done to defend our communities through legal means. The litigation performed to promote social justice has not gone overlooked, “While Eliseo has championed immigrants’ rights in the courts of public opinion, Lee Gelernt has championed immigrants’ rights in the courts of law, and we are very grateful for his service,” Monterroso said of the Advocacy Award honoree.
Among the cases Gelernt has led are opposition to the Trump administration’s separation of children and parents at the U.S.-Mexico border; challenging Texas SB 4, anti-sanctuary city law; and litigating the Trump administration’s travel ban.
Gelernt has been an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union since 1992, and works on immigration and national security issues. In addition to serving as deputy director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project, he heads the project’s Access to the Courts program. He has argued several groundbreaking civil rights cases at all levels of the federal court system, including in the United States Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits.
Monterroso added, “We come closer to fulfilling our mission through our united efforts. The work that these leaders have committed to our communities merits acknowledgement and we are proud to be honoring them.”
Mi Familia Vota is a national civic engagement organization that unites Latino, immigrant, and allied communities to promote social and economic justice through citizenship workshops, voter registration, and voter participation. Mi Familia Vota has operations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Texas.