Thank You to our 2021 SDIRC Award Recipients and Nominees

Each year, SDIRC gives out awards to organizations and individuals who have gone above and beyond in advancing immigrant and refugee rights and helping immigrant and refugee communities. There are two divisions for the awards — external and internal. 

The external division is to recognize partners who are not SDIRC members for the important work they've done over the year. The internal division is for organizations that are SDIRC members, and is to recognize excellent work within the coalition. 

This year there were many excellent nominees, so selecting the recipients was no easy task! 

SDIRC would like to congratulate each of the 2021 SDIRC Award recipients, listed below, and thank them for their work in 2021, and beyond! 

2021 Public Partner of the Year

CAL FIRE San Diego Protection District – Operation Collaboration for their dedication in providing vaccines to the farmworker and immigrant community in a humane manner. They collaborated with local organizations such as Universidad Popular to overcome language and cultural barriers so they could provide vaccines effectively and efficiently. 

2021 Outstanding Coverage of Immigrant Issues

Guillermo Mendez, Univision San Diego for his coverage of the 2021 TRUTH Act forum, and the work he does covering immigration in San Diego, particularly North County.

2021 Community Partner of the Year

Haitian Bridge Alliance for their continued advocacy for Haitian immigrants.

2021 Elected Official of the Year

San Marcos City Councilmember Maria Nuñez for her efforts providing resources to the community on COVID-19, providing vaccines to the immigrant and farmworker community, and advocating for her community in the districting process and San Marcos street vendor ordinance.

2021 Worker Justice Partner of the Year

APALA San Diego for their work on SDIRC's street vending committee, coordinating humanitarian aid in the encampment in Tijuana, helping bring back a deported veteran, serving on the SDIRC advisory board, participating in Immigrant Day, and advocating for the VISION Act.

2021 Legal Partner of the Year

Al Otro Lado for filing lawsuits against DHS and providing legal support to migrants in Tijuana.

2021 Faith Partner of the Year

Unitarian Universalist Refugee and Immigration Services and Education (UURISE) for convening an SDIRC panel to talk to faith leaders about immigration, serving on the SDIRC Advisory Board and their constant support and presence at community events (including vigils and press conferences).

2021 Community Organization of the Year

Border Angels for collaborating with organizations in Tijuana to form the Chaparral Humanitarian Alliance to get almost 1000 migrants across the border through Huisha Title 42 exemptions and provide humanitarian aid to migrants in the encampment; offering testimony in congressional hearing; bringing back mother of deported military officer Rocio Rebollar; supporting 17 shelters in Tijuana, weekly water drops in the desert, placing 100 bonds for imm/migrants in detention, participation in Immigrant Day, playing a leading role at the TRUTH Act Forum, and advocating for the VISION Act.

SDIRC would also like to thank all the nominees, listed below, and thank them for their work in 2021, and beyond!.

Outstanding Coverage of Immigrant Issues Nominees

  • Kate Morrissey, San Diego Union Tribune for her piece "Trapped in Tapachula"
  • Manuel Ocaño, El Latino San Diego for garnering international attention to local events and community members like Anastasio Hernandez' case, Rocio Rebollar's welcoming home, and Robert Vivar's welcoming back, as well as stories from the migrant encampment in Tijuana.

Community Partner of the Year Nominees

  • Borderline Crisis Center for providing emergency shelter to folks in Tijuana, advocating to defend asylum, and supporting migrants at the encampment in Tijuana.
  • La Maestra Community Health Centers for their work supporting transgender asylum seekers.
  • Center on Policy Initiative for combatting wage theft. Episcopal Diocese of San Diego for the formation of a Migration Ministry Task Force.

Elected Official of the Year Nominees

  • San Marcos City Councilmembers Maria Nuñez & Randy Walton for advocating for the rights of sidewalk vendors, and their successful efforts to stop a harmful sidewalk vending ordinance in the City of San Marcos.
  • Supervisor Nathan Fletcher for establishing the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.
  • Supervisor Terra Lawson Remer for establishing the Immigrant Legal Defense Fund.
  • Supervisor Nora Vargas for bringing a "new day" to the Board of Supervisors, supporting the VISION Act, speaking up for the community during board of supervisor meetings (including the TRUTH Act Forum and her efforts to vaccinate across the border.
  • San Diego County Board of Supervisors for working with SDIRC on the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, the Legal Defense Fund, and the Truth Act Forum.

Worker Justice of the Year Nominees

  • SEIU USWW for their fight to improve the lives of janitors and other workers.

Legal Partner of the Year Nominees

  • AILA San Diego for their hard work gathering stories for the Truth Act Forum.

Community Organization of the Year Nominees

  • CAIR San Diego for all of their hard work with the Afghan community and new San Diegans.
  • Universidad Popular for their tireless advocacy to make certain that immigrants in rural north county had access to the COVID-19 vaccine, and running efficient and effective vaccination programs. Although, COVID-19 Pandemic had affected many organizations (such as lack of funds and space) Universidad Popular has continued to support the community and never paused . They are committed to providing vaccines and COVID-19 information to our community on a daily basis. Universidad Popular has a group of committed volunteers that work on the weekends to run friendly and accessible clinics in North County San Diego. In addition, Universidad Popular has been committed to representing the North County San Diego community in the redistricting process.

SDIRC thanks you all for your amazing work!