Subject: Join us at the 2018 Solas Awards Gala!

Celebrating those who bring hope and light to our communities
Each year, the IIIC's Solas Awards Gala is a meaningful and enjoyable evening that raises vital funds for immigrant and refugee families, celebrates the courage of those who seek our services, and honors the contributions of our partners. We are looking forward to another successful event on December 6th, 2018 at the Seaport Hotel. 

Please consider partnering with us for this year's event. Together, we can uphold safety, equality and respect for our immigrant and refugee neighbors, and provide comprehensive services to families from more than 120 countries. 

Alternatively, you can contact Megan Miller, 617-695-1554,
2018 Courage Award Recipient 
We are delighted to introduce the 2018 Solas Courage Award Recipient, Shevonne De Pina. Shevonne is a Trinidadian immigrant who
 has worked alongside IIIC's Immigration Legal Services team 
to reach safety and build a better life.
Shevonne De Pina: "My Life Has Just Begun"

De Pina grew up in Trinidad where Island women are taught to be tough. De Pina’s mother was in that tradition. “She gave me no hugs, no kisses, no I-love-yous,” says De Pina. Her stepfather was demanding and punitive. If she didn’t feed the dogs, he whipped her. If she sucked her thumb, he beat her. Right before she left the house to take her O Level exams, a gateway to higher level classes, he told her, “The only thing you will be is a maid to a white woman.” She failed the exams. Then he began sneaking into her bedroom at night.

In her late teens she was in a serious relationship, which resulted in pregnancy. Her stepfather was angry. Overwhelmed and afraid, she decided to visit relatives living in America.

In America, De Pina parented her own child and her aunt’s two, and then three, young children for years. Family members promised to help her make a better life, but they broke their promises. “I decided to get up, give back and volunteer. That’s when my life turned around,” says De Pina.

She volunteered at a veteran’s hospital and at Rosie’s Place. She took classes. She earned her GED. Daily, she wrote in lipstick on her mirror. “You will do great things!” She met a man, M, so cute and so respectful she got “all bubbly and girly-girl.”

They married, and he filed papers for her. Unfortunately, M was a Jekyll and Hyde alcoholic. He could be so kind. But when he drank, he became angry, violent. He tossed her across the room sometimes. After a bad argument, she left. When she returned, he violently threw her off the couch and choked her so hard, she couldn’t swallow properly for a week. She called 911. That’s when he took their belongings.

Their marriage, and with it her chance to legalize her status, were over. De Pina and her young daughter moved into a shelter.

IIIC Steps In 
De Pina met IIIC immigration attorney Jacqueline Kelley, an Equal Justice Works Fellow, through Rosie’s Place. From the moment their eyes met, De Pina knew she would be okay. Kelley helped her renew her work permit and file a self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act or VAWA. VAWA is a path to legal status for battered immigrants, who can’t rely on their spouse. “I owe Jackie and the IIIC my life,” says De Pina, who has now gained permanent residency as a proud green card holder.

Shooting for the Moon
De Pina kept finding courage to construct a better life. In 2017, she applied for Hertz’s management training program. Before the interview, she thoroughly researched the company. “There is nothing I didn’t know about Hertz. “I could tell you the first car [the founder] rented,” she says.

This August marks her one-year anniversary at Hertz. She earned a raise. Last week, Hertz brought her in on a conference call. They were creating a new position. They had chosen De Pina. She would manage Hertz’s largest account for all New England and New York City. “I’ll have my own office,” she says.

Now sitting in her one-bedroom apartment, all her bills paid, she says, “My story’s just begun.” Her daughter, a rising fourth grader, learned algebra watching her mom complete her math homework. De Pina’s advice to others? She quotes motivational speaker Les Brown:

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you will land among the stars.”

Our sincere thanks to Lisa Birk for writing this piece. 
2018 Leadership Award Recipient
President, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Kerry Kennedy is the President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. She has devoted herself to the pursuit of equal justice, the promotion and protection of basic rights, and the preservation of the rule of law. She also founded RFK Compass, which works on sustainable investment to address human rights violations with institutional investors. She is the author of New York Times Best Seller 'Being Catholic Now', 'Robert F. Kennedy: Ripples of Hope', and 'Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World', which features interviews with human rights activists such as the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Kennedy served on the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace, Human Rights First, Health eVillages, Ethics in Action, SDG USA, Sustainable Development Goals Center (Africa) and Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation as well as several public companies. A graduate of Brown University and Boston College Law School, she received the Social Activism Award from the World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates along with a number of additional awards and honorary degrees. 
2018 Service Award Recipient
Director, Northern Ireland Bureau

Norman Houston has over 38 years of experience working as a senior official in the Northern Ireland Civil Service. He has spearheaded the Executive’s international strategy in the United States and Canada since 2007, and was the first Northern Ireland diplomat to escort the First Minister and Deputy First Minister into the Oval Office to meet with then-President George W. Bush. Norman has since facilitated similar meetings with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. During his time in Washington, Norman has strengthened the Bureau’s profile on Capitol Hill and within the larger diplomatic community. In June 2018, Norman was awarded an OBE (Officer of the British Empire) by Her Majesty The Queen. Born and raised in Larne, County Antrim, he received a first-class honours degree in Modern History from The Open University.
Submit an ad for our program book!

With more than 500 guests in the room, the Solas Gala is a great opportunity to gain visibility for your business. Please contact Niamh McAteer at 617-542-7654 or for more information about advertising in our event program book. 
Thank you to our 2018 Host Committee

Co-Chairs: Karen Keating Ansara and Linda Dorcena Forry
Hope Aldrich, Anne Bailey Berman, Kim Borman, Michael Cahalane,
 Meghan Clifford, Cathal Conlon, John Cullinane, Victoria Denoon, 
Sheila Dillon, Gerard Doherty, Charles Donahue, John Donohue,
 Adler Eliacin, Kristin Foley, Ashish Gairola, Anne Geraghty, 
Susan Glynn, Justine Griffin, Julie Griffin-Carty, Toni Jackson, Dot Joyce, 
Kevin Kelley, Kevin Martin, Jr., Bob Mayerson, James McGlennon, 
Michael Niland, Drew O'Brien, Brian O'Donovan, Martin Sheerin, 
David Sherman, Brian Sugrue, Judith Weiss
The Irish International Immigrant Center is working toward a society in which all are welcomed and valued and enjoy equal opportunities and protections. The IIIC is a highly respected multi-service welcome center for immigrant and refugee families from around the globe. We assist newcomers as they integrate into American society by providing legal, wellness, and education services, working for systemic change, and facilitating cross-cultural community building and inclusion. 

The IIIC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. All donations are tax-deductible. | 617.542.7654
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