YWCA Pasadena Announces Racial Justice Award Recipients

Jasmine Richards and Al Otro Lado will be recognized for their work. – Courtesy illustration / YWCA Pasadena

Recipients will be recognized at the 16th Annual Women for Racial Justice Breakfast

On Monday, Oct. 22 the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley will host the 16th Annual Women for Racial Justice Breakfast: Emerging Leaders. The event is scheduled from 8 to 10 a.m., and will be held at the Pasadena Hilton Hotel, located at 168 S. Los Robles Ave. in Pasadena. This year’s event highlights the next generation of leaders in racial and social justice issues, and the unique voices and contributions that emerging leaders bring to the conversation.

The YWCA Pasadena is proud to announce that it will be presenting the 2018 Racial Justice Awards to Al Otro Lado, a direct legal services nonprofit organization serving indigent deportees, immigrants, and refugees; and to Jasmine Richards, founder of Black Lives Matter Pasadena.

Al Otro Lado will be presented with the Racial Justice Award for a Nonprofit Organization at the event for its dedication to assisting low-income immigrants with reunification, relief, and justice on both sides of the border. The organization also coordinates with attorneys and non-legal professionals in a range of areas such as family law, labor law, criminal law, and employment law.

Al Otro Lado assists families with aspects of reunification in Mexico when it has been determined by U.S. authorities that it is in the best interest of the child to live with a parent in Mexico. Al Otro Lado also works with non-custodial deported parents to ensure their rights as parents are protected in the U.S. family court system. Al Otro Lado has assisted dozens of families with cross-border custody issues, and connects family members residing in the U.S. to social, legal, medical, housing, and mental health services.

Al Otro Lado also assists deportees who are struggling to survive in Tijuana, Mexico. Many deportees have grown up in the U.S. and lack the Mexican identity documents necessary to obtain housing, employment, and medical care. Al Otro Lado provides deportees with information on how to obtain identity documents, educational equivalence, and health coverage in Mexico. The organization helps provide deportees with information on potential employment opportunities for English-speakers. Wherever possible, Al Otro Lado attorneys work to assist deportees who are able to legally return to the U.S.

Jasmine Richards will be presented the Racial Justice Award for an Individual for her tireless championing of under-served and under-represented Black Pasadena youth, and for her courage in standing up to law enforcement practices affecting people and communities of color.

Richards is a community organizer, freedom fighter, and founder of Black Lives Matter Pasadena. Richards initiated Black Lives Matter Pasadena after attending the protests in Ferguson, Mo. following the death of Mike Brown by law enforcement in 2014.

A Pasadena native who was raised amongst gang violence, Richards’ life was transformed by seeing resistance and resilience in Ferguson. She quickly rose to be a powerful organizer who resonates heavily with young people, locally, nationally, and worldwide. As her profile rose, so did targeting by law enforcement. Richards is the first black woman to have been arrested and charged with felony lynching. Through the adversity, Richards continues to be an outspoken voice and fights relentlessly for justice in her community.

Richards also created and runs Freedom School, a grassroots summer program that provides educational activities for youth in northwest Pasadena with fun, culturally relevant activities in a safe and supportive setting. During holidays and the start of the school year, she organizes school supply donation drives, food, clothing, and gift drives, and distributes items collected to the families in her local community.

Emiliana Gueraca, founder of Women’s March LA Foundation, will be the keynote speaker. – Courtesy photo / Eric Garcetti (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley is also excited to announce that Emiliana Gueraca, founder of Women’s March LA Foundation, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Women for Racial Justice Breakfast. Gueraca is an award-winning event producer who devotes much of her time to advocacy programs for women’s rights, Latinx education, and gender equality.

Gueraca brings her 10-plus years of event experience and community organizing to Women’s March LA, which she founded in 2016. She is the driving force behind the official Women’s March in Los Angeles. Gueraca has been extremely involved in activism, both on a local and national level, and has served as the bridge between many organizations to combine forces in the “Summer of Resistance.” She has been a guest speaker for numerous groups and educational institutions, including League of Women Voters, Cal State LA, USC, UCLA, and was a panelist at 2017 Politicon, the HOPE Conference, Hispanas Organize for Equality, and the 2018 United State of Women Summit. She is also currently a contributor for Huffington Post.

Recognizing changemakers from the local community and beyond is a cornerstone of the YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. Since 2002, the YWCA Pasadena’s Women for Racial Justice Breakfast has celebrated those at the forefront of the fight for racial justice, bringing the community together to honor their accomplishments and reflecting upon the work yet to be finished. Individual tickets for the event are $100, sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information about the Women for Racial Justice Breakfast, please visit the YWCA Pasadena website at, email, or call (626) 296-8433.

August 21, 2018

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